My amazing mother-in-law gets here next week and we have a lot of fun activities planned: wine tasting, a day trip to the Oregon Coast, hiking, brewery visits and plenty of time for long mornings drinking coffee and reading books. I am working on leisurely checking some to-do’s off our holiday preparation list.

First up was getting a Christmas tree. We went to a local farm near Eugene with our little nephews to “ceremoniously” cut down the tree. (We then let the nice man with the chainsaw finish job for us) I am always up for a good excuse to visit a local farm. This one had a really great looking, almost Danish-style barn on the property.

We decided on a big Noble Fir tree this year, the only native fir tree to this area of Oregon. (Doug Firs are actually not “true” fir trees) We had them bundle it up and it was probably the easiest tree we’ve ever had to strap to the top of the car.

Next up on the list is baking the tin of holiday cookies. My arbitrary goal this year is to bake five different types to share with friends and family. Mostly I came up with that number because it seemed like a good way to force myself to spend hours relaxing in the kitchen. How domestic sounding?

We try to keep gifts to a minimum in our family. It takes so much time away from what we enjoy most about the holidays: good food, slowing down and spending time with each other. There will be a few errands to pick up little things, but mostly we are trying to savor these last few dark days of the year with quiet times. It has included lots of reading, rest and dark beer.

Updates will come on the cookie recipes that were winners. In the mean time, I’d love to hear how you are preparing for whatever holiday you celebrate and how you are savoring these last few days of Fall. Maybe you have a good holiday cookie recipe to share? I’m on the hunt for some new ones!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson