How about gathering the family together and making some sweet treats to eat or to share with others? And have some fun doing some of the tried and true fun activities!
- Wrap candy and popcorn in a napkin. Gather and tie with a thin red and green ribbon curled up with scissors.
- Blow up red and green balloons. Write special messages on them.
- Make up little packages of hot chocolate mix, pencils and chocolate-flavored straws.
- Serve up cups of hot apple cider and a cookie. To make: Heat unsweetened apple juice in a pan. Add unsweetened orange juice to suit your taste. Add a cinnamon stick. Simmer for five minutes.
- Ice cupcakes with red and green frosting and jimmies.
- Wrap some “trail mix” in individual plastic bags: equal portions of peanuts, M&M’s and tiny pretzels. Tie with a Christmas ribbon.
- Make homemade butter cookies, cut out with candy cane shape shaped cookie cutters, and add red sprinkles.
- Make up bags of popcorn and wrap in cellophane with red and green yarn or ribbon, a nutritious snack for the lunchbox!
- Make a batch of chocolate-covered pretzels or pretzel rods. At the craft store, they sell “chocolate” in a variety of colors: white, pink, yellow, orange, brown. Melt the chocolate and half-fill a tall glass. Dip the pretzel rod in to coat; roll in red or green sprinkles. Or melt the chocolate and put in the Christmas molds that are available at the craft stores. They also sell taffy sticks to insert into the mold. Wrap the candy in plastic wrap and tie with a red ribbon.
- Make Jello-Jigglers gelatin snacks. The directions are on the Jell-O box. Cut individual pieces of Jell-O out with Christmas cookie cutters. As any parent knows, these are a big hit at school parties as well as for anytime snacks.
- Give one child decorations to hide inside your house. The other kids, “the finders” count to fifty with your help or if they are too young to count, sing “Happy Birthday” three times. You can also keep them occupied while the “hider” is hiding by providing paper and markers and help to draw a treasure map of your home. The one who did the hiding gives clues to help others find the hidden objects. Set a goal such as trying to find all of the treasures before a Christmas song on a CD is finished playing.
- Bring out all kinds of Christmas colored outfits. Do you have any wigs, make-up, fake beards, jewelry, coats, hats and other outlandish garments? Encourage the children to create a Christmas fashion show or act out a play. Turn your radio to a soft FM station or play a CD for background music. You can be the narrator as the kids strut their stuff and really get into the spirit of a Christmas living room show.
- Frozen yogurt, pudding pops, watermelon treats and juice Popsicles can be made quickly and without much mess. When you have a few minutes, freeze some liquids that are available in holiday colors. Put the flavored Kool-Aid in an extra ice cube tray or a Popsicle mold to make treats for your family. My kids loved to make gelatin and freeze it in ice cube trays. For a party, add the gelatin ice cubes to the punch. Or put the liquids in paper cups and freeze. They become push-up cups when frozen. Try mixing one cup of fruit juice and one cup of canned fruit or fresh fruit in the blender. Put in paper cups to freeze. If you have Popsicle sticks or plastic spoons, put them in when the mixture starts to feel firm or about half-frozen. Continue to freeze.
- Another favorite treat is frozen yogurt. Blend a sliced banana, one teaspoon of vanilla, fruit chunks and one cup of plain yogurt in the blender. Pour in small paper cups and freeze. What can you add to make the treat colorful using red or green ingredients?
- To make watermelon treats, blend seedless watermelon chunks with unsweetened orange juice and water (use equal portions of all three ingredients). Freeze in small paper cups.
- Did you ever freeze green grapes? What a great treat! They are so sweet, better-tasting than candy.
- Make paperchains. Make lots of paper decorations with construction paper and odds and ends.
- Redecorate your kitchen for a special day called “red day.” Have a red snack, tell the story of “Little Red Riding Hood, hide items that are red for children to look for.
- Make cookie houses out of graham crackers using frosting to glue them together. Decorate with tiny candies, raisins, licorice, cookies, coconut and pieces of dried fruit.
- Put candy sprinkles in a shaker bottle and let the kids decorate store-bought cakes or cookies. Frosting for the cookies and a few toppings are all they need to have fun.
- Make a collage out of green, red and white cupcake papers.
- Make a train with your kitchen chairs lined up in a row. Tear up pieces of paper for tickets for a ride on Santa’s sleigh to the North Pole.
- Make a hopscotch game on the back of an old vinyl tablecloth for an indoor game of hopscotch. Use red and green marker to design the blocks. You can use a piece of red or green candy for the “stone” to throw.
- Give the child three or four Christmas items. Make up or act out a story using those items.
- Make up a magical item that has special powers for Christmas. Just like Kristen’s magic reindeer fur in the story of Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain.
- Rub a red or green balloon against a wool sweater and it “magically” sticks to the wall.
- Hang red and green crepe paper streamers vertically from the top of the door in the kitchen to create a stage effect. Children love to peak through to sing songs, act out a play or put on a puppet show.
- Let them play in the bathtub. Color the water with red or green food coloring. To make bubbles, add liquid dish detergent such as Joy.
- Use two colors of mint candies for a game of Checkers or M&M’s for Monopoly houses and motels. Every time you pass “go,” you collect five pieces of candy. Use soda bottle caps and buttons for markers. Use real money in place of play money.
- Tired of tasting the same old foods? Look around the supermarket for red and green food items. Have a tasting party – but blindfold and try to guess what the red and green food is, by smelling, feeling the shape and taking a nibble.
- Mix up a batch of homemade red and green play dough. Add a little glitter, pieces of tin foil, scraps of ribbon, crepe paper. Lavish praise for the wonderful art creations!
- Sing Merry Christmas to You to the tune of Happy Birthday to You.
- Have a candy cane hunt. Everybody has to be wearing something red and white. End the hunt with treats of items that are red: strawberry ice cream, cherries, red licorice, cherry gelatin, cherry cheesecake, tomatoes, red and green M&M’s, red popcorn balls, pizza with tomatoes, candy apples, red cabbage, red jellybeans, red lollipops, Twizzlers, salsa, radishes, watermelon, maraschino cherries, Jell-O, raspberries and something made with Ketchup.
What are your Family Traditions?
Patricia Gallagher, the author of the charming new tale, Christmas on Lindbergh Mountain – the True Story of Santa on Christmas Eve, is requesting memories from your own childhood or from the days when you were raising your family.
- How does your family provide a warm welcome for Santa on Christmas Eve?
- What are some ideas that families have used other than just putting out milk and cookies for Santa?
- How did Santa know how to find your house?
- What do reindeers and elves like to eat?
- What did you do to get ready for Santa?
- What were some magical family traditions that were fun to do?
- What are some simple ways to prove to the kids that Santa’s been there?
Please share your traditions in the comments below.
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