Christmas Cookies by Holly Chamberlin

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is that I have an excuse to make these Crescent Cookies. When my mother was in her early twenties, she worked at The Grolier Society for the Book of Knowledge. There was a much older woman named Catherine Phalen who worked in billing. Each holiday season Catherine would bring a large box of these homemade cookies to the office and leave the box at the reception desk. According to my mother, the cookies were gone within minutes – and there’s no surprise there. At one point Catherine gave her young colleague the recipe and since then, the cookies have been a tradition in our family. In fact, these cookies are probably the first things my mother taught my brother and me to bake. Now, over fifty years later you can still find my mother and I together in the kitchen, mixing and rolling and sprinkling powdered sugar. Oh, and eating the results. Thank you to Catherine for sharing this special and incredibly simple recipe with us!


½ pound butter

2 cups flour

5 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla (you can substitute almond extract)
1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon salt


I don’t use a mixer for this recipe (I need the exercise) but you certainly can.

Cream butter and add sugar, vanilla and water. Sift flour and salt together and stir into mixture. Using portions the size of small walnuts roll between your palms into crescent shapes. Bake in slow oven (325 degrees) about twenty minutes. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. Let cool and consume in vast quantities.


Against the irresistible backdrop of Christmas in New England, bestselling author Holly Chamberlin creates a heartfelt and memorable novel—a story of reunited family, new beginnings, and unconditional love—the best gift of all.

To outsiders, Appleville, New Hampshire, is a storybook small town complete with a little white church and a gazebo on the village green. To Gincy Gannon Luongo, it was a place to escape from, as quickly and as permanently as she could. Since she moved away twenty years ago, Appleville has been her hometown in name only. But at her brother Tommy’s urging, Gincy is coming back to visit their recently widowed mother in the weeks leading up to Christmas—and she’s bringing her teenage daughter, Tamsin, with her.

Ellen Gannon, once feisty and strong-willed, is mired in depression six months after losing her husband. Tommy isn’t doing much better. Gincy starts restoring order to the household in her usual practical way, but the real issues run much deeper than an empty fridge or an unpaid bill. Imagined slights and lingering resentments have created chasms between them all.

With each passing day, Gincy realizes she has seriously undervalued her mother and underestimated her brother. Only now, with the support of her husband, daughter, and best friends, is she starting to see how much she may have missed. For beyond the surface of every family and every picturesque town is something more complicated but infinitely more rewarding—a tapestry of those small acts of acceptance, love, and loyalty that could transform this Christmas into the best Gincy’s ever known.

Praise for the novels of Holly Chamberlin

“Chamberlin’s latest is a great summer read but with substance. It will find a wide audience in its exploration of sisterhood, family, and loss.” – Library Journal on Summer with My Sisters

“Nostalgia over real-life friendships lost and regained pulls readers into the story.” —USA Today on Summer Friends

“A thoughtful social commentary and tender narration of friendship and loyalty.” —Publishers Weekly on Last Summer

“A dramatic and moving portrait of several generations of a family and each person’s place within it.” —Booklist on The Family Beach House