Crafts, cookies + more activities for celebrating this year
It’s wild to think we’re only days away from the holidays! This year has been a real test for all of us—but we want to pass on a little extra cheer and say “bravo and thank you” to those of you with kiddos at home too. Since most of us will be spending the season indoors (read: trying to think of clever and inventive ideas to keep the whole family entertained) we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to make things feel extra special with crafts and themed activities, cookies and healthy-ish snacks, cozy movie nights, and much more.
Create wonder with a snow globe-inspired cookie jar
Whether you’re making these as a gift or as decoration for your house during the holidays, snow globe-inspired cookie jars are a sweet twist on tradition. Start with a large glass jar (which you can find at your local Dollar Store or online) and make sure it’s airtight if you want the cookies to stay fresh. Then make your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread recipes to decorate and set your theme. The snowy base of granulated sugar also helps the cookies stand up. Then you can add other small decorative items like mini trees, animals, or figurines to create your snowy winter village. Finally tie the tops with colored twine or ribbon to complete
Photo Credit: Constellation Inspiration
Let your imagination run wild with creative Rice Krispie treats
Other than the fact that they look adorable, preparing and decorating seasonal Rice Krispie treats can provide hours of fun for you and your littles. Create reindeer with a dip in chocolate and the addition of pretzel antlers, make festive green wreaths, plump little snowmen (with choc-covered marshmallow hats and scarves made from fruit roll-ups), or even these jolly Santas. If you’re watching your family’s sugar intake, prep and decorate these healthy-ish Gingerbread Rice Krispie treats instead.
Photo Credit: 5 Dinners 1 Hour
Stream a virtual performance
Seeing a live stage performance of a classic holiday show like The Nutcracker has been a tradition some of us have held since our childhoods. While many Nutcracker performances have returned to the stage and are performing live again this year, there are still professional ballet like the New York City Ballet and Moscow Ballet offering streaming versions online—which can be a great holiday option if you can't make it to the real deal. Make a night of it and get the family gussied up so it feels extra special, dim the lights, and gather to watch in the comfort of your living room. The grown ups can even pop some bubbles to make things extra festive.
Photo Credit: Company | Paul Kolnik |Playbill
Let there be garland! Thread your own festive designs to keep for years to come
If your household has some older children who want to get crafty, try letting them string and create homemade garland. Perhaps the most famous, traditional cranberry and popcorn garland can be made with few ingredients and can even be an activity during family movie night. If popcorn and cranberries aren’t your thing, you can string together some whimsical designs using everything from wooden beads, 3D paper trees, felt, pine cones, wrapped peppermint candies, and more.
Photo Credit: iStock
Bring out the sleeping bags for the ultimate holiday movie night
One of the best things about the holidays are the nights with everyone snuggled up together watching movies and munching on theater-style snacks. Set up sleeping bags (or lots of blankets and pillows) in the living room and string up some extra lights around the TV for an extra cozy vibe. Give the kids a choice of a mix of classic and more contemporary festive flicks and then let the good times begin. Nosh on treats like Christmas Popcorn or a sweet and savory festive snack board and sip on Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate while you relax and enjoy. You’ll find even more tips and ideas and even free printables online too.
Bake your favorites to share at a socially distant cookie swap
If you can think of it, you can probably bake, decorate, and turn it into a jolly holiday sugar cookie! First, make sure you have all your baking trays, tools, and supplies and then select your favorite designs. This year, since large gatherings and school swaps may not be on the agenda, enlist some friends and neighbors in your pod to organize a socially distant cookie swap where everyone brings their creations to safely share. There are plenty of decorative cookie boxes you can choose from to bring and house your (almost to good to eat) treats. Just try not to devour them all on the ride home!
Photo Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction
Make homemade ornaments to cherish each year on the tree
Suppose you’re sentimental (like us), then you may still have handmade ornaments that you made while growing up that make it onto the tree each year. Now it’s time to continue the tradition with your own family. Crafting homemade ornaments are a great way to keep your kids entertained for an afternoon and create the sweetest family heirlooms to use each season. A win-win for upcycling are these DIY magazine ornaments, or you can incorporate little handprints for painted salt dough snowmen for a special keepsake. Vintage-looking sleds made from popsicle sticks or 3D paper snowman ornaments are a great one to make with younger kiddos too.
Photo Credit: Clean and Scentsible
Host a backyard hot chocolate & s’mores party
If you’re lucky to have some outdoor space and the weather isn’t too frigid, host your own little winter wonderland gathering complete with hot chocolate and s’mores. Bring out the blankets and drape them over chairs (or keep them rolled and ready to use in a basket). Keep hot chocolate warm in a crockpot ready to ladle into mugs and create a DIY S’mores table with long skewers, crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows laid out ready for roasting. If you need to move the festivities indoors, you can make the living room extra cozy with the yule log on TV and still create the famous campfire snack with a little help from your broiler.
Photo Credit: Today’s Creative Life
Indulge in some better-for-you treats that kiddos will love
Yes, it’s the holidays, and we’re all enjoying extra goodies this season, but there are a multitude of fun and easy swaps you can use to make sure there are some better-for-you treats on offer. This Peppermint Chocolate “Nice” Cream—made only from frozen bananas, cocoa, alt milk, and vanilla and peppermint extracts—hits all the right notes for a wintertime indulgence but keeps extra sugar at bay. Looking for other (not too) sweet ideas? Try Strawberry Santas, Grinch Kabobs, Banana Penguins, or even Peanut Butter Celery Reindeer Sticks and watch their faces light up with excitement.
Photo Credit: Running in a Skirt
Set up a holiday craft table for hours of activity and fun
Even big kids (aka parents) can get into a fun afternoon of using hands, glue, paint, scissors, pens, and paper to create wonderful holiday-style keepsakes. Find a tabletop, coffee table, or even a prominent area on the floor and clear it of clutter so you have a dedicated workspace to start creating. Turn on some holiday tunes to set the festive mood, layout a tray of snacks, and then get to crafting. If you need a little inspiration, scroll through these holiday craft ideas that are perfect for kids of all ages.
Photo Credit: The Best Ideas For Kids