Pull out all the stops for Santa this year, starting with a batch of cookies that are ALMOST too good to share.
For a shift from standard royal icing, we've topped these sugar cookies with marzipan, a mixture of sugar and almond paste, which is easy to roll out and adds rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Marzipan Star Cookies
Drop cookies make a fuss-free base for these delightful sandwiches, as there's no rolling out or cutting required.
Get the recipe: Minty Swirl Sandwich Cookies
A crunchy chocolate topping adds a whole new level of deliciousness to the winning combo of chocolate and peanut butter.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crunch Cookies
A creamy, sweet and nutty filling takes these cakey chocolate cookies to a whole new level.
Get the recipe: German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Slice-and-bake cookies are great for time-pressed cooks because there's no rolling or cutting out shapes—simply form the dough into a log, chill and slice.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond-Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Gingerbread and Shortbread Cookies
Store a log of this oatmeal raisin dough in your freezer so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies at a moment's notice.
Gooey marshmallows and melted dark chocolate give these soft thumbprint cookies the irresistible flavour of the classic campfire treat.
Get the recipe: S'mores Thumbprints
Sesame seeds add the perfect amount of savouriness to these otherwise sweet cookies.
Get the recipe: Apricot Sesame Thumbprints
A buttery coconut filling takes these chocolate cookies into extraordinary territory.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond Coconut Thumbprints
Stuffed with a creamy cookie-crumb filling, these soft chocolate cookies are a cocoa lover's dream.
Get the recipe: Cookies and Cream Sandwich Cookies
Get creative when painting the glaze onto the trees. Windswept cedars, bending pines and evergreen boughs dotted with tiny bobbles look wintry and festive.
Get the recipe: Painted Tree Cookies
No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies!
Get the recipe: Ugly Sweater Cookies
These colourful wreaths may look intricate, but all you need is a piping bag with a small star tip to give them their realistic look.
Get the recipe: Festive Wreath Cookies
White sprinkles give these stockings a fluffy-trim effect.
Get the recipe: Stocking Cookies
Every bite of these easy-to-make cookies will melt in your mouth.
Get the recipe: Classic Whipped Shortbread
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft and cakey molasses cookies are rolled in coarse turbinado sugar for a pleasant crunch and an extra hit of sweetness.
Get the recipe: Big Fat Molasses Cookies
These festive drop cookies are both chewy and crisp.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
Christmas colours add holiday flair to these giant cookies.
Get the recipe: Festive Canvas Cookies
We've added a subtle blend of spices to basic shortbread for extra festive flavour.
Get the recipe: Spiced Ombre Snowflake Cookies
These chewy, mildly spiced cookies are covered in a pretty crunchy coating. They may appear soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.
Get the recipe: Chewy Spiced Double-Chocolate Cookies
Photography by Mat Dunlap<br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> Po
Measha Brueggergosman's voice is otherworldly, but her roots are firmly planted in the Maritimes. Born and raised in Fredericton, she still thinks of the city as home—and that's where you'll find her when she's not performing.
On a Wednesday night In Fredericton, you can likely find Measha Brueggergosman with her braids up and hat on, drink in hand, catching a reggae set at The Capital Complex, a live music venue. Saturday mornings are reserved for the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, where there's a buffet of delicacies that mirrors Canada's multicultural flavour: Dutch sausages, Indian samosas, Greek souvlaki, German pastries and, let's not forget, the cheese counter. The next day, she'll be front row of her brother Neville's parish in nearby Maugerville to attend his 5:17 p.m. service (the start time is a nod to 2 Corinthians 5:17, a Bible verse about recreating yourself).
It was between the pews of her church and her grade school's music room that Measha, now widely considered one of the foremost sopranos of her generation, found her voice. By her teenage years, she had blossomed into the city performer, singing at every function, from bar mitzvahs to funerals. "Fredericton is a very musical community. I enjoyed a lot of early music education, and it's what set me on the path that I'd eventually take. I had access to many performance opportunities in the way only a small town could afford, which nurtured my desire to entertain," she says.
Measha has always felt a deep connection to her hometown, but she discovered more about her East Coast roots during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are?, the hit genealogy docuseries. She traced her family's history from slavery in Revolution-era America to their eventual freedom in Eastern Canada. She also learned that her ancestors hailed from Cameroon; they descend from the Bassa, a Bantu-speaking tribe known for its musical prowess. This revelation, and her family's past, is a recurring theme in Measha's new and most personal Christmas album, Songs of Freedom, a collection of traditional and spiritual songs that have been given modern arrangements.
Now, staring out her window, she spies the lobster pound bustling with activity before it closes for the year. She, too, is hard at work—writing her memoir, which she wants to finish before blowing out the candles on her 40th birthday cake this June. There's a lot to cover: her ancestral ties to the East Coast; her childhood in Fredericton; her journey to operatic stardom; her stories of pain and loss (she underwent emergency open-heart surgery at 32 and, only a few years later, suffered more heartache with the loss of her unborn twins). She knows she still has years of life to experience, but she wants to share what she's learned—up to this point, at least.
For now, though, Measha is relishing the East Coast scene. She'll soon be embarking on another international tour, but until then, she'll be in a tiny fishing village outside of Fredericton, where her dad has owned land for years, writing, eating lobster every day until season's end and soaking in the sights, sounds and views of home. "I like that my home base is here," she says.
Three insider tips from star soprano and Fredericton native Measha Brueggergosman.
1. Check out the music scene
"Lamèque is an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just off the Acadian Peninsula. They have a music festival, the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, that's a destination for the world's music experts. People go because it's this utopia. It's hard to get to, but it's so worth it."
2. Eat at The Dip
"I would argue that the best 24-hour restaurant in the Maritimes is The Diplomat—which everyone calls The Dip—in Fredericton. It looks like a cross between the set of 9 1/2 Weeks and your stylish grandmother's living room. I get the special fried rice and bring it home to my parents."
3. Grab a coffee at Jonnie Java Roasters
"You have to go downtown to Jonnie's for the coffee. They were the first to roast their own beans, like 10 years ago. I would say they're the best at it."
Who do you turn to for help with paint colours, decorating inspiration and the occasional crafternoon? This girl. These items are what she's been Pinning.
Air Mikafleur Design porcelain jellyfish planters, $35 to $40, oneofakindshow.com.
Duo prints wall art (unframed), $35 per pair, bellopop.etsy.com.
Canadian Living Meadow Lake collection square throw pillow, $45, bedbathandbeyond.ca.
Polka-dot clock, $20, hallmark.ca.
Jo Malone London Miniatures Candle Collection, $130, jomalone.ca.
Glitterville pineapple arrow ornament, $15, indigo.ca.
Seven-inch bowl, $46, brika.com.
Metallic pouf, $70, homesense.ca.
PrimnPaper paper succulents, $13, etsy.ca.
Fair Isle throw, $30, homesense.ca.
Photography by Luis Llerena/Stock Snap
We’ve all been there, you know, scrambling at the 11th hour to get an extra-special present for someone important on your list. These last-minute gifts are so thoughtful, they’ll never know you just picked it up.
If you’ve exhausted your options for a gift for that special guy in your life—because he’s either too picky or has almost everything—consider a portable Bose speaker. This one is water-resistant (great for camping and hiking), has full-range sound and is durable and simple to use.
Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth® Speaker II, $181.
Most ornaments go on sale in early December, so this is the kind of gift that’s perfect to pick up last minute because it will actually save you money. Sweeten the deal and give an ornament hanging from a bottle of wine.
Glitterville Antler Ornament, $7.50.
Still missing a gift for your Mother-in-law or your dear aunt that always bakes you fruit cake? Head to Shoppers Drug Mart and give her the gift of Amazing Grace. This best selling fragrance from beauty brand Philosophy smells clean and beautifully feminine with a powdery floral air of sophistication and polish. This collection includes Eau de Toilette, shampoo, bath and shower gel and whipped body crème.
Amazing Grace Holiday Set, $60.
What do you get someone with sophisticated taste and a thirst for the finer things in life. Easy; Champagne.
Veuve Cliquot Yellow Mailbox, $70.
Need a gift ASAP, but don’t have time to leave the house? Simple, order online and give the gift that keeps on giving with a new pair of socks every month, for a year! These vibrant and graphic socks are available for both men and women.
One pair every six months, $78. One pair for a year, $146.
Need a little something special for your child’s teacher or your next door neighbour? Pick up a tin Voluspa candle. The packaging is beautiful and the two wicks give off a rich glow. This scent smells of sweet apricots muddled withs superfine sugar and crisp Prosecco.
Voluspa Prosecco Bellini Two Wick Tin, $16.
There are few places that are open on Christmas day, but Starbucks is one of them. If you’re on your way to your holiday dinner and realized you forgot something for that caffeine loving cousin of yours, make a pitstop at your local Starbucks and grab one of their festive drinkware cups. We love the ceramic sweater cup with a swivel lid.
Sweater double wall traveler, $27.
Headed to one of your besties for your annual friends holiday dinner and need something clever to bring? Gift something useful and beautiful with a little bit of whimsy, like this marble cheese board. Crafted from creamy white marble, the cool surface is ideal for serving cheese and charcuterie.
Expressions marble and copper cheese board, $37.
Nothing’s better than a fresh pair of jammies on Christmas morning.
Men’s plaid sleep set, $20.
Need something for your teenage niece, but have absolutely no idea what she’s into? Whether she’s artistic, sporty, goth or one of the "popular girls" at her high school she’ll be into something from NYX Cosmetics. We especially love these palettes, choose from one of seven that houses eight shades of shadow and one liquid matte lipstick.
NYX Cosmetics Wanderlust Lip & Eye Collection, $25.