Fran’s Favorites: It’s Christmastime!


It’s Christmastime — a time of family and fun, joy and laughter.

My goodies are mostly made. My presents are mostly wrapped — or at least bagged! Now I’m just preparing for my out-of-town grandchildren who are coming before Christmas. I want to make sure they get to help make some of our Christmas memories, too.

One of our favorite things to make is gingerbread. We already made and decorated one batch of gingerbread kids for the tree at the Governor’s Residence. It looks adorable with the cardinals, the strands of popcorn and cranberries, and the tiny Imagination Library book ornaments we made. My tree in my home in Cedarville is only partially decorated, so I’m waiting for Theo and Desi, and Parker, Addi and Tucker to arrive and help me make more cookies. They all love to bake and make things — especially gingerbread kids. Mike loves them and apparently so does our springer spaniel, Dolly. She stole a couple off the tree last week!

Also in the spirit of Christmas, we want our children to be givers. In past years our kids have collected Beanie Babies, Hot Wheels cars, and other small toys to send down to the very poor children at the Becky DeWine School in Haiti. This year there is so much turmoil and danger that I fear our packages won’t get through. But we continue to support them financially because we know these children won’t eat unless the schools can stay open.

There are lots of great organizations in the Miami Valley to support who are helping families and children during the Christmas season. Our food pantries, like Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry, do such important work — offering food and other necessities for families in need. Shelters, like Family Promise of Greene County — a short-term homeless shelter for children and their parents — are safe, warm places for families this time of year, providing meals, case management, and help finding employment and permanent housing. Groups like Salvation Army have Adopt-a-Family programs and Prison Fellowship Angel Tree supports families of prisoners. Lots of groups are collecting toys for children and doing all of the other things to serve their clients’ needs as well as make the holidays a warm and special time.

I like to make contributions in our kids’ names to groups like Heifer International and Save the Children. If I donate money for a lamb or flock of geese in one of my kids’ names, I give them a tiny toy animal and card that explains to them where their donation goes and how it will help a family in need.

As we go into our wonderful Christmas week, let’s think of ways to make holiday memories, give and help others, and continue to work to keep our families safe through this pandemic.

Gingerbread Kids

Cream together:

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

Blend in:

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup water

Add and mix well:

2 ½ cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soda

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut and decorate with candy and raisins. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

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Fran DeWine

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

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