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Share your holiday cookies in our Instagram contest

UPDATE: In addition to Instagram, you also can enter by posting a picture of cookies (or other holiday baking) that you’ve made, swapped or eaten and posting it on our Facebook page. ***Photos must be posted or shared by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17. ***

The most wonderful time of the year is here: Christmas cookie season!

While I’m busy in the kitchen year-round, nothing quite compares to the weeks leading up to Christmas, full of family gatherings, cookie exchanges and all-day snacking.

I’ve already made my first batch–my grandfather’s Date Nut Pinwheels–for a food blogger cookie swap. While the wannabe-rounds were cooling, I snapped a picture on my iPhone, added a “X-Pro II” filter with a black border, and posted it for the world to see.

I don’t think I’m alone in my cookie craze–or sharing the creations with the Internet. Holidays seem to call for bite-size sweets and tins full of sugar-laden happiness. And with cameras in our pockets and purses 24/7, it’s never been easier to share photos. (Hopefully you’re sharing some real cookies, too!)

We want to see your cookies this year, too. We’re launching an Instagram account, @fredericksburgdotcom, and we’re doing it the sweetest way we know how to. Over the next three weeks, as you’re creaming up sugar and butter, sifting flour, and packing up treat bags for friends and family, keep us in mind. Snap a picture, share it through Instagram, and use the hashtag #fxbgcookies. That’ll be how we can find your entries. Be sure your account has a public setting so we can see your photos!

Anyone can search through the entries tagged #fxbgcookies. Vote for your favorites by “liking” them–ask friends to vote too. We’ll narrow down the entries to the 10 or so with the most likes–along with any others that seem particular newspaper-worthy but may have fewer votes.

Then, a team of us will decide which photo stands out among the rest. Think about the content, but also about color and composition. One tip: Avoid using your phone’s flash. Natural light typically yields better photos.

The winning photo will be featured in the Food section on Christmas Day, and the winner will receive a $100 gift card to Whittingham, a pair of home and kitchen shops, in downtown Fredericksburg.

Think your cookies have what it takes? Time to get baking!

Here’s how to participate:

  • Follow @fredericksburgdotcom on Instagram.
  • Take a picture of cookies (or other holiday baking!) that you’ve made, swapped or eaten. Share on your Instagram account–it must have a public setting so we can see the picture.
  • Use the tag #fxbgcookies.
  • Post your photos between today and Dec. 17. Winning photos will be featured in the Food section on Wednesday, Dec. 25. We’ll try to get in touch with the winner, so keep an eye on your Instagram comments!