Merry Christmas! Some Gifts for You…

by Jami Gold on December 25, 2012

in Random Musings

Christmas ornaments and candle on a tree with text: Sharing Christmas Fun and Cookie Recipes

I’ll be offline for most of this week, but I wanted to leave you with some fun (and yummy) gifts. If you’re celebrating this week, I hope your plans all unfold smoothly, your travels all go safely, your family members all behave perfectly, and all your dreams for the New Year come true.

Those of you reading this post on my blog might have noticed that I added a new sidebar to my website this past weekend, called “Latest News.” I’ll probably have that up only when I have news. And right now, I do have news. *smile*

I got an early Christmas present this past weekend with the announcement that my story Treasured Claim won First Place and the Grand Prize (overall highest score across all category winners) (under its former title of The Treasure of a Dragon’s Heart) in the Hot Prospects Contest sponsored by the Valley of the Sun RWA chapter. Yay!

I had time to work on that tweak to my blog sidebar because I actually finished everything on my to-do list two days ago (yes, even those pesky Christmas cards I’d worried about). Christmas cookie baking is my biggest time-sucking tradition, but I love it too much to complain about that item on my list.

Every year, I bake hundreds of cookies to share with my neighbors, friends, and family, and this year I topped my previous high with about 650-700 cookies (the math got too confusing to keep count when my family was snagging some as soon as I pulled them out of the oven). *smile* Below, I’ll share a recipe for one of my family’s favorites: Fudge Oatmeal Bars.

I’ve talked before about the importance of rituals and traditions in our holiday celebrations and how we can incorporate those ideas into our writing. My latest work in progress includes both a Thanksgiving and a Christmas scene. Details in scenes like these help make the characters seem more realistic because we can relate to holiday rituals.

This year, my family also started a new tradition, thanks to Janice Hardy‘s suggestion on Twitter. We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Here’s an animated version of Tim Burton’s original poem that gave him the idea for the movie (and it’s narrated by Christopher Lee!):

 The Nightmare Before Christmas – Tim Burton’s Original Poem

And my last little gift for you is the recipe for one of my family’s Christmas cookie favorites. Enjoy!

Fudge Oatmeal Bars

Servings : 30-60 (depending on size of squares)
Preparation Time : 0:30

1 1/2 Cups Oatmeal, Instant
1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar — packed
1/2 Cup Butter — softened
1 Large Egg
1 1/4 Cups Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

Beat sugar, butter, and egg in large mixer bowl until creamy. Stir in oat mixture, beat just until combined. Press onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan using wet fingers.

Melt milk and chips in small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until chips are melted. Spread over crust.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Top will be puffed up and dry.

Cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.

I typically make two batches of this recipe, one to give away and one to keep. *shares platefuls of virtual Christmas cookies with everyone* I also made two batches of chocolate fudge (one with nuts and one without), Cinnamon Bars, Russian Tea cookies, Chocolate Mint cookies, and one of our new favorites, Nutella Blossom cookies (next time, I’ll definitely make a double batch of these cookies!).

Do you enjoy rituals and traditions for the holidays? What traditions do you include in your celebrations? Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe to share? Do you want me to share any of my other recipes from this year?

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not,
I wish you all the best during this season.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah—heck, Happy Everything!

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17 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Marcy Kennedy December 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm



Jami Gold December 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Thanks, Marcy! 🙂


Julie Glover December 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

Congratulations, Jami! What wonderful news!

I love The Nightmare Before Christmas. Glad to know I’m not alone. 🙂

Have a lovely Christmas/New Year’s holiday.


Jami Gold December 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

Hi Julie,

Thank you! And some people might think “Nightmare Before Christmas” isn’t a Christmas spirit movie, but it worked for us. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

P.S. I hope you have a wonderful holiday too. 🙂


Jennifer Barricklow December 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

Congratulations on being judged such a Hot Prospect! Thanks, too, for the recipe — looks like a good snowed-in day project for the family. Happy holidays, and may your time offline be peaceful and restorative.


Jami Gold December 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

Hi Jennifer,

Ooo, I’ve heard about snow storms hitting some of the country. I hope you’re all okay. Enjoy and thanks for the comment! 🙂


Michele December 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Congrats on the win! That’s awesome. Trust you’re enjoying your holidays too. 🙂


Jami Gold December 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Hi Michele,

Thanks! Yes, so far the holidays are treating me well. I hope the same for you! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!


Catherine Johnson December 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Awesome, congrats!


Jami Gold December 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Catherine! 🙂


Reetta Raitanen December 27, 2012 at 12:22 am

Congratulations, you Hot Prospect 😀 Happy holidays and please share more recipes.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favourite movies and I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to watch it.


Jami Gold December 27, 2012 at 9:25 am

Hi Reetta,

LOL! Thanks! 🙂

Any specific requests for which recipe? I’m not a cook (Christmas baking is pretty much the limit to my time in the kitchen–I get a whole year’s worth of kitchen time done in one fell swoop 🙂 ), so these cookie recipes are the extent of my recipe expertise. LOL!

Yes, Jordan McCollum and I were discussing on Twitter how to figure out the right age to introduce the movie. It’s a tricky one, to be sure, with the kidnapping of “Sandy Claws.” 😀 Thanks for the comment!


Susan Sipal December 27, 2012 at 8:52 am

Congrats Jami!! What an awesome present to get at Christmas. And so well deserved!


Jami Gold December 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

Hi Susan,

Aww, thank you! And yes, it’s a good Christmas present. 🙂


Melinda S. Collins January 2, 2013 at 7:50 am

Congratulations, Jami! What a wonderful Christmas present!!! 🙂

Wishing you the best in the New Year!


Jami Gold January 2, 2013 at 9:52 am

Hi Melinda,

Thank you! And congratulations on your Christmas present as well! 🙂


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