Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Claire Hickey-You Don't Need A Lot To Make Christmas Special

Claire has loved to write since she was a child but found herself doing everything but; earned a Texas Cosmetology License in 1982, decorated cakes professionally, and graduated from Tarrant County Junior College in 1996 with a Certification in Surgical Technology. After several years of internal repair and reformation Claire realized that the above three occupations didn't work for her life anymore. Writing stirs both the passion and creativity within her. Once decided, she spent over a year seriously immersed in this non-verbal form of communication and loved every second of it. She was also pleasantly surprised to find that it fit perfectly into her life.
 While a dream, she had never entertained the idea of actually making a living doing what she loved. Then in November of ‘09, Claire took part in the National Novel Writing Month - or, NaNoWriMo. The goal of writing a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30  seemed a  major feat. She's happy to report that she completed the task and now plans to get the novel published this year. She is a staff writer for the communities at the Washington Times.
Contact her published column:
personal blog: and professional blog:

If you love Christmas, can you say why?
The birth of Jesus is celebrated as a sign of God’s love for humanity. I tell my kids that Jesus is so nice that on His birthday we get presents to teach them about that love. I also love the magic of Christmas. From the decorations, expectations, watching my children’s excitement and anticipation, Christmas cards, friends, family gatherings, food, fun and celebrating.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
Commercialism. Greed. All the holidays are about giving, faith and becoming a better person - not getting.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
We didn’t have much since there were five kids in my family but my parents always made it special. They were as excited as we kids were.
Also, after coming home from my paternal grandma’s house one Christmas Eve my parents, not surprisingly, had a hard time getting us to go to bed and sleep. At that moment, my dad happened to look out our bedroom window and saw a red light blinking as it flew across the sky. The rest of the airplane wasn’t visible so my dad said, “Look! There’s Rudolph! Santa’s coming! You know he won’t stop here if you are not asleep!” We were asleep in no time after that.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, browned potatoes, gravy, homemade crescent rolls, dessert; or
Homemade ravioli, homemade Italian sausage and meatballs, homemade Italian bread, arancini (fried Italian rice balls), cannoli.

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?

See above. Birthday cake for Jesus – we sing Happy Birthday. Also, Christmas cookies that my mom made when I was growing up. I now make them for my family.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
Barbie stuff and a doll house I had wanted when I was little.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
I couldn’t say. You’d have to ask those I’ve given presents to. I do make a point to give something that will touch someone’s heart. Otherwise what’s the point?

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, A Christmas Story, all the old black and white Christmas movies.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
Oh Holy Night, The Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Song

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
Being with those you love, good food, good times, getting a kick out of watching the little ones enjoy Christmas as only they can.


Sea Horses

(Cookie press Christmas Trees)

1# butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 TBSP. almond extract

4 cups flour

green food coloring

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Add coloring last, a bit at a time until you get the shade of green you want. Blend thoroughly. Fill cookie press and press out on to cookie sheets. This recipe works best if you do NOT refrigerate dough first. Bake @ 375 degrees for 10 minutes. My oven bakes fast so I start checking them at about 8 minutes.

My mom also made cookie press flower shaped cookies for Christmas using this recipe. For those do the same except do not add food coloring. When flowers are pressed out on cookie sheet put half of a candied cherry in the middle. I use red and green cherries. I'm not a big fan of candied fruit but these are very addicting along with the Christmas trees.


Jeff Turner said...

My mom started making homemade baklava at Xmas. Everyone now craves it. Good food and family are one thing that makes Xmas great.

J.A. Bennett said...

I love the idea of a Happy Birthday Jesus cake!

When I was growing up, we didn't celebrate Christmas because the church we went to believed it was a commercialized distortion of the truth. Now that I'm grown and raising my own family, I'm abit more pragmatic and enjoy the holidays with my kids, and finding new ideas for traditions is a treat :) Thanks for sharing Claire!

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