Once a year, usually on a Saturday, we would Bake Cookies! This was an all day event that always started the night before. My mother would make a batch of cutout cookies and the dough would chill overnight. The next day, she would start cutting out each cookie - the recipe made 10-12 dozen! She spent the morning putting pans in the oven, taking them out, letting them cool, and so on.
Once the cookies were cooled, the fun began. My sister and I would decorate them while my mother made the frosting. It was like a miniature assembly line. Every shape had it's own required frosting.
For example, the stars had yellow frosting made with lemon extract and yellow sugar sprinkles
The trees had green frosting with almond extract and green sugar.
The santas were red peppermint with red sugar,
And so on -
As we grew older, we got a little crazy with our color and flavor choices - for example there were purple hazelnut reindeer with multicolored sprinkles.
We gave some cookies away, froze some to last for Christmas, and of course, sampled a few as we went along. Because Christmas morning was always a little hectic as we opened our gifts and stockings from Santa, we were allowed to have Christmas cookies for breakfast.
I have carried on this tradition with my own daughters, and yes, there are occasionally purple hazelnut reindeers, not to mention cookies for Christmas morning breakfast.