No Time Work Around Christmas Cookies

The holidays can be a time of whimsy and magic. At the same time, admit it, all that whimsy and magic are a little bit exhausting. We clear out the living room to make way for the tree which must be maintained and decorated. If you have pets in the house you also have to make sure they are safe from all the things in the house that may be toxic to them - chocolate, certain holiday plants, and of course the tree. It's not so much that the tree is toxic to them but the tree typically takes up the dog's favorite place in the front window in the livingroom.  Dog's may not understand this displacement and want to get under and around the tree to regain their typical space in the front window which may knock the tree over depending on the size of the dog.

Then there is the whole timing thing. Every time I walk through the grocery store and see one of my neighbors they enthusiastically say "Are you ready for Christmas!?" They mean well but NO - I'm not ready. Should I just break out into tears right then and there every time I hear that question?

A big part of Christmas is making Christmas Cookies. You need to have cookies for Santa for goodness sake.

Here is the Stay at Home Mom Zero Time Work Around for Fun Christmas Cookies.

Buy them - sort of.

Shopping list:

Blank cookies - plain sugar cookies work or plain gingerbread cookies in holiday shapes.
food coloring
sprinkles galore
mini m&m's
mini redhots
shredded coconut
the more kind of topping options the more fun
ziplock bags
paper placements or doilies

Some kids really get into the whole baking thing and may want to make cookies from scratch but unless you know this is the case there is a good chance that your kids will have just as much fun decorating the store bought blank canvas cookies.

Here are some tips to making cookie "making" time a super fun and easy experience for everyone:

1. Green Frosting

There are lots of options in store bought frosting now with various colors but if you don't see the perfect green frosting then a drop or two of food coloring to a store bought vanilla frosting can make it festive and create that "cooking" experience that may just be enough for your active kids.

There are great frosting solutions that come with fine tips which allow for easy "detailing".

2. Portion (mess) Control

Portion out the toppings in small dishes with little spoons (especially the m&ms and other candies) so that they don't all just get gobbled up before they get on to the cookie.

3. Define your Work Area

Paper placemats or doilies are a good work surface for each kid. This can help with clean up but also is a good solution instead of glass plates which can be a problem if you have to look away from your toddler decorator even for a second. The added bonus is that it helps give each kid a visual cue about where their workspace is which is a good thing if you have a table full of kids decorating cookies all at the same time.

4. Encourage Creativity

Make sure you don't insert your own idea of what the perfect Christmas Cookie looks like. If your kid wants to create a cyclops gingerbread boy then let them go for it. This is a no pressure project. The more laughs the better.

Playing Christmas music is a great way to keep the mood light and festive.

5. Holiday Traditions and the Teachable Moment

This is a great fun way to create a holiday tradition of spending time together decorating cookies but it is also a teachable moment. The fun begins by doing this activity together but it also ends by cleaning up together. Make the cleanup process as easy as the decorating process. Have ziplock bags ready to put their cookies in (if they are neighbor kids taking their cookies home with them). You also want to have ziplock bags ready to bag up any sprinkley candy topping leftovers.

Have all the kids help

  • bag everything up 
  • put all of the spoons / dishes into the dishwasher
  • paper doilies go into the garbage
  • clean off the table
  • hangup / put away aprons
  • wash little hands before heading out of the kitchen
  • give the kitchen a once over look to see if anything was left out

The big teachable moment is that the job isn't done until the tools are put away AND many hands make light work. Having fun together doesn't end when the sprinkles run out. 

The main thing the kids will remember is spending that time with you giggling and having fun. 

Happy Holidays!


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