Trim-a-Tree Cookies: Before the party, bake tree-shaped sugar cookies for each guest, using our sugar cookie recipe, your own recipe, or a roll of cookie dough from the grocery store. Once cooled, frost the cookies with green icing.
At the party, set out cups of sprinkles and small candies for the guests to use as ornaments. Try mini M&M's, mini chocolate chips, gumdrops, colored sugar, and small red cinnamon candy dots. Give each guest a cookie and let them decorate their own trees. The children may want to eat their trees right away or take it home. Note that children over the age of five will enjoy icing the cookie themselves.
Gingerbread Ornaments: This fun activity requires the cookie dough to be prepared in advance. Use your own favorite recipe, or try ours listed below!
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 Tbls sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Thin red or gold ribbon for hanging the finished cookies.
- A drinking straw to press holes into the top of each cookie for the ribbon.
- Edible decorations for buttons and eyes, such as mini chocolate chips, raisins, etc.
Prepare the dough before the party. First cream the butter with the sugars, molasses and egg yolk (save the egg white for the last step before baking). Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, stirring well. Slowly add the dry mixture to the butter mixture to form stiff dough. Chill for 1 hour, and roll out on floured surface to 1/8" thickness.
At the party, let the children use Christmas-shaped cookie cutters to cut the dough. Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter a cookie sheet. Decorate the unbaked cookies with edible items such as cinnamon red hot candy, raisins and mini chocolate chips. Brush the cookie shapes lightly with beaten egg white to give them a shiny surface when they are baked. Bake 8 minutes until crisp. While still warm, use the drinking straw to press out a hole one inch from the top of each cookie. Allow the cookies to cool, and tie a piece of ribbon through each hole. Let the guests take home their cookie ornaments as party favors, if they haven't all been eaten!
Edible Mini Snowman Kits:
Prepare a kit for each guest to decorate a very small snowman. The kit will look like a snowman's head! Before the party, purchase round, plastic ornaments from your local craft store for each child (ensure they are the kind that can be separated like plastic Easter eggs). Spray paint them white and draw on the eyes and mouths with a black marker. Add the 'carrot" nose to each with an orange marker.
On party day, set out bowls of black gum drops, raisins or chocolate chips for the snowmen's eyes. You'll also need buttons, red licorice string for scarves, and small carrots for the noses. Let the children take an empty kit and fill it themselves with some of each item. If you happen to have snow on the ground for your party, you may want to let the children make real miniature snowmen with their kits! Otherwise, send the kits home with them to use another time.
Both a craft and a treat! Provide the children with marshmallow snowmen and decorations, and let them each build their own snack! Stack two or three large marshmallows to make a snowman, using a toothpick to hold the marshmallows together. Set out bowls of thin pretzel sticks for the arms, raisins cut in half for the buttons, candy corn for the noses, and mini chocolate chips for eyes. Cut strips of licorice string to tie around the snowmen's necks as scarves! If necessary use icing to 'glue" on the decorations.