Holiday Family Traditions

When I was grocery shopping yesterday I suddenly realized that Christmas music was playing over the loud speaker.  I got a warm and fuzzy feeling and immediately wanted to be snuggled up on the couch with hot cocoa.  Thanksgiving is coming upon us fast and Christmas is right around the corner.  The Christmas season starts immediately following Thanksgiving in the G house, as it has my entire life.


Christmas Tree


Growing up I could count on one thing the morning after Thanksgiving … my mom blasting “Mary’s Boy Child” through the house to wake me up to begin decorating.  Out would come the tree, the advent wreath, and we would wrap every hanging picture in our house as a present.  I have carried some of that goodness forward with me as I have started my own family.  Mary’s Boy Child will be playing loud and proud next Friday and Chris will be putting up our tree.  I can’t wait.


Christmas Cookies


Another holiday tradition in our house is the baking.  My sister and I would make elaborate sugar cookies every year and decorate them as gifts to family friends.  It was an all-day affair.  Even though we are too many states to count apart, our sugar cookies live on.  I even made them for Emmalyne’s first birthday party as an excuse to make them twice this year.


This year I had the opportunity to partner with Smart Balance to help make my sugar cookies a little healthier.  Smart Balance has tons of products including better butters, milk, cooking oils, peanut butter, and popcorn!  You can see everything they offer HERE.  For my sugar cookies, I used the Blended Butter Sticks which are a prefer 1-1 swap with regular butter.  They are made with real butter and canola oil with the added bonus of plant sterols and omega-3s.  The plant sterols actually help block the cholesterol in the butter.  All Smart Balance products are gluten free and they even have vegan options available.  After my dad’s heart attack and Chris’ family history of heart disease, cholesterol and heart health has become a very important priority in our house.


The best part about using this healthy swap?  You can’t taste a difference :)  See for yourself …



Christmas Sugar Cookies

by Madeline G.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert

Ingredients (3 dozen)


  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Smart Balance blended butter sticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting

  • 1/3 cup Smart Balance blended butter sticks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


For the Dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a sifter, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, and egg.

Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla to the mixer.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Cover with a wet towel and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out your cookie shapes.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and cook for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

For the Frosting

Beat the butter and gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Slowly beat in the milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add remaining sugar.

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For directions as to how to frost the sugar cookies you can refer to this post.  I used royal icing in that one but the same trick applies to this icing.


This holiday season Smart Balance is trying to #HelpSanta be a little healthier.  You can follow along by following @SantasCookies and @SmartBalance on Twitter.  When making your own cookies for Santa, think about swapping in Smart Balance butters and products for a little extra oomph.


What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?

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Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this campaign.  All opinions are my own.