2 C confectioners' sugar
2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
Green food coloring
1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients.
2. Cut in butter until crumbly.
3. In a small bowl, beat egg and milk. Add to crumb mixture just until moistened.
4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness.
6. Cut with a 2-in. round cookie cutter.
7. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
8. Spread jam on half of the cookies; top each with another cookie.
9. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth; spread over cookies.
10. Decorate with red-hots before glaze is set. Let dry.
11. Using a small new paintbrush and green food coloring, paint holly leaves on cookies.
* I opted to use green gel to make the holly leaves rather than the green food coloring and paintbrush.
Originally, holly was a type of offering given to the God Saturn by the Romans during the festival of Saturnalia. To receive holly was a special gift due to this association with Saturn.
As Christianity spread, pagans placed holly within other decorations that adorned doors as a method of preventing persecution, while still honoring Saturn. It was believed that hanging holly on the door had the power to prevent the entry of terrifying specters who were more likely to attack during the holy days. Eventually, it was accepted as an essential symbol of Christmas festivals, and the initial purpose of the holly was lost to the Christians.