By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget

One of the Christmas traditions that families continue to cherish is making Christmas cookies either with the kids, or for the kids, for a bake sale, or for a cookie swap.

The tricky situation for families on tight grocery budgets is that many popular recipes call for expensive ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chips and candied fruit.

Part of this is based on the fact that Christmas cookies were historically a once a year treat.

But it’s also fair to say the cost of some ingredients has changed noticeably over the years. The “no-bake” chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies that a budget-minded mom would typically make a generation ago, for example, are almost a luxury these days!

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What can you do about that?

If you are receiving Women Infants Children benefits, you can use the peanut butter, eggs and oatmeal that are among WIC-eligible groceries as a starting point for cookie making. Therefore, my recommendations would include:

Now for those whose grocery budgets are paid for on a cash or food stamp basis:

Remember to look for, and stock up during, the sales and coupons on sugar, flour, food coloring, spices and butter. They do show up from time to time.

How can you handle a cookie swap? That’s another post.

What beverage do I serve with Christmas cookies? I have a peppermint mocha coffee mix recipe, but it’s not exactly budget friendly!

Updated Dec. 18, 2013.

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