Christmas elicits so many emotions, both positive and negative. Our goal as family during this season is to create many fun memories without going overboard and adding to the stress and overwhelm; all the while keeping our eyes on Jesus. Our family culture values time spent together and with those we love and we especially tend to gravitate towards that during the holiday season.
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Two years ago we decided that we wanted to do something fun with my children and my cousins’ children. We didn’t set out to start a tradition, just give the kids a chance to play and us a chance to visit and enjoy each other’s company. However, we did it again this year and decided that it was so much fun it needs to be an annual tradition.
Most of our family lives with-in about a 45 minute radius of each other but we also have a cousin and her precious son that are many hours away. We try to schedule the cookie party when everyone can come but that is not always an option. If all of our little ones can make it we have eight children four and under. This can make for an exciting but messy event.
We always get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas for dinner and visiting but we really wanted an event that focused on the children and let them play and have a good time together. I originally thought about having them bake cookies together but quickly decided that might be a bit too much. If you have older children or fewer children, baking cookies might be a lot of fun. I let my four year old and ten year old help me bake the cookies the day before and my ten year old make the homemade icing.
On the day of the cookie party everyone gathered at my mom’s house, (hers is closer to most of the family). First we let the children play outside and burn off a little energy. Then we brought them inside and let each of them choose one of our cream cheese cut out cookies to decorate. We had paper plates to put them on, plastic knives to spread the icing, and a variety of sprinkles and colored sugar to finish them off. My son is allergic to food dye so we made most of our own using India Tree natural colors.
Once they decorated their cookies they either ate their cookies or decorated other cookies for the adults in the room. It was really messy, there was probably some double dipping, but they had so much fun. There were smiles and giggles and lots of proud faces showing off their creations.
We did a quick craft using foam shapes and stickers, thanks to an inexpensive kit from Hobby Lobby. Then we finished up the party with pizza and fruit. It was several hours well spent making memories. Aside from making the cookies the day before (and you could buy them in you wanted) there was very little preparation time and the only costs were the food and the $5 I spent on the craft kit. Sometimes it can feel like you spend so much time and energy on something and it is over in no time and not really worth this hassle, this event felt very low stress and my son is still talking about it over a week later.
You might not have a gaggle of young cousins that need to get together but this party could easily be adapted for different groups. You could invite friends, neighbors, or even a Sunday School class to attend your party. If you have older children, the children could actually bake the cookies and maybe even donate some of them to a local nursing home or fire department. When the children are a little older (i.e. have a bit longer attention spans), I want to add reading the book The Gift of the Christmas Cookie to the tradition. I already read it at home but thought it would be a little too much for the youngest ones to sit through.
I hope I have inspired you to add a cookie party to your list of fun Christmas traditions. If you have tried something similar or have other fun traditions that you would like to share with us please let us know in the comments. Stay tuned next week for more on another Christmas tradition, my daughter’s Christmas tea.
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Deals and Freebies!
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