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Christmas cookies: A labor of love

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The art of creating handcrafted items has made a comeback. On websites like Etsy, you will find a variety of handcrafted items for sale. On Pinterest, you will find links to DIY websites to make many items for yourself or to give as gifts.

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At Lynchburg Community Market, you will find booths filled with baked goods, handcrafted items and beautiful artwork in the Heritage Crafters Gallery and Artist's Alley.

The Mistletoe Market operates at Lynchburg Community Market on Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, bringing additional vendors offering freshly cut Christmas trees, greenery and tasty holiday treats.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, there are also horse-drawn carriage rides and the opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Small boutique shops flourish in downtown Lynchburg, filled with handcrafted and unique gift items. But nothing says homemade at Christmas like homemade baked goods.

As Christmas draws near, many families spend time baking special treats to give as gifts. Pound cakes, fudge, hermit cakes and peanut butter balls top the list for some people.

In our house, the baking is never complete without homemade Christmas cookies, made from a recipe handed down from my Mom's side of the family.

The cookie dough is mixed, chilled and rolled out on a floured surface. Each cookie is cut out with cookie cutters that have graced our home for more than 30 years.

After baking, the finishing touch is a light confectioner's sugar glaze and colored sugar topping. From start to finish, it takes a few hours to make 3-4 dozen cookies.

As a child, the family Christmas cookies were the only cookies made. In my adult home, a variety of cookies have been added over the years.

This mom's Christmas cookies include Jello Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Crinkles, Candy Cane Cookies, Galaxy Cookies and a few others.

In the spirit of saving the best for last, the family Christmas Cookies are always the last made. Baking is done in multiple batches to ship cookies to family members living far away.

Over the course of a few weeks, our family will make and ship out dozens of Christmas cookies. With each plate of cookies, there's an extra dose of love.

As you finish up the chores of the holidays, be sure to allow some time to create homemade memories. Whether you're making ornaments, breads, cakes or cookies, your love will shine through.

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