Santa Hat Pizzas

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Put a Christmas spin on pizza night in the days leading up to the holiday with this quick recipe!

To start, we stretched out a store-bought pizza dough and then cut into triangles with a pizza rolled. Fold up the bottom edge of the triangle to make a cuff.

Next, we spooned tomato sauce over the triangles, leaving the cuffs plain. Add non-dairy cheese along the cuff for Santa’s white trim. We used vegan feta, but next time I would probably dollop on crumbled tofu instead for a fluffier look!

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Bake at 430 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until the crust just starts to brown. This made pizza night a ho-ho-holiday treat.

Reindeer Mix

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Really this is just an ordinary snack mix that you could make any time of year. But if you tell your kids it’s “Reindeer Mix”, all of a suddenly ordinary becomes extraordinary!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups pretzel twists
  • 1 cup Puffins cereal
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, thyme, salt, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, just until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
  2. Arrange the almonds and walnuts on a baking sheet lined with foil and pour half of the brown sugar mixture over the nuts, tossing to coat. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 minutes.
  3. Toss the pretzels with the remaining brown sugar mixture. Add to the baking sheet and bake for a final 3 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the nut mixture to a large bowl and add the cereal, dried cranberries, and white chocolate, stirring to combine.

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Be sure to snack on this mix while you track the reindeer and Santa across the sky on Christmas Eve!

Rudolph Sandwiches

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We love watching classic Christmas movies, and what better to nibble on during a re-run of one of our perennial favorites, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer than little Rudolph sandwiches?

To assemble, cut bread slices into triangles and spread half of the slices with your sandwich filling of choice. We made one with peanut butter, one with agave nectar, and one with non-dairy cream cheese!

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Top with additional slices of bread. Add maraschino cherries for noses, raisins for eyes, and pretzel twists for antlers.

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The kids thought these were adorable, plus loved sitting together for the cartoon. All in all, this was a cozy pause on a winter afternoon.

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Candy-Less Canes

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Confession: we’ve probably eaten way too many sugary candy canes this holiday season. So it was time to put a healthier spin on this favorite holiday treat!

Over two afternoons, we had fun making faux candy canes with red-and-white foods. First up was a fruit version. I sliced strawberries and bananas and set them on a cutting board, then challenged Travis to arrange them like a candy cane (or as Veronika calls it, a “minty”).

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He quickly got the hang of it, and then both kids loved devouring this trompe l’oiel snack.

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Needless to say, the red stripes (a.k.a. strawberries) didn’t last long.

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The next day it was time for a savory spin on the treat! This time I set out piles of sliced tomato and vegan feta cheese. Travis again quickly figured out how to line them up like candy cane stripes.

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And the kids quickly polished it off for a snack! What foods would you use for a pretend candy cane? Please share in the comments!

Christmas Noisemaker

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I love Christmas music and have been introducing Veronika not just to the classic carols this holiday season but also to fun contemporary tunes (think: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock). So of course she needed a Christmas instrument to shake along as we rocked (around the tree quite literally!).

An empty frozen juice can makes the perfect size shaker. We filled this was dried beans and a few jingle bells. Popped popcorn pieces would work, too!

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Seal the lid tightly. I used hot glue, but you can also secure with tape. We then covered with red felt and Veronika helped decorate it with Christmas-themed stickers.

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Time to shake!

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She loved prancing around with the shaker and drumming on drums as we put on our favorite Christmas tunes.

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We wish you merry music making!

Stone Paperweight

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If you’re looking for a gift your toddler can make for a relative this holiday season, the paperweight is it.

The best part about this gift is that it starts with a nature walk! It can be a harder to motivate kids for these once the cold sets in, so I loved motivating Veronika by telling her we were on a treasure hunt for the perfect rock.

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We came home with two that were the perfect size and shape, including one that almost looked like a heart.

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Now it was time to paint. Not only did we use sparkly paint…

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…but she wanted to dump glitter on, too. We used the recipient’s favorite color combo of orange and blue.

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Let dry, then spray with shellac for a shinier finish. (Note: that’s a grown-up only step).

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Wrap up and gift to someone special!

Animal Holiday Dress-Up

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If you’re kids are getting antsy for Christmas and can hardly wait any longer, then hold a Christmas dress-up party for their stuffed animals!

Right after breakfast, Travis and Veronika headed upstairs with leftover bows and gift ribbon and began to deck the halls, er, adorn the stuffed animals, with all the trimmings.

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Cats and dogs soon sported bow hats and ribbon scarves.

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As did a droid or two!

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Veronika thought it was so silly to see favorite animals with big gift bows on them!

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Travis decided to turn it into a competition. Which animal would win the category of Most Festive? He loved tying on ribbons…

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…and adding multiple bows. A big white dog named Marshmallow won the prize!

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Now all the animals could gather together for a holiday party. Needless to say, we sure kicked off the day with some holiday spirit.

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Cookie Plate for Santa

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Leaving out treats for Santa is one of Christmas Eve’s biggest highlights in our house, that thrill of the idea that he’ll really come in and take a nibble! This year we decided to make a special plate that can be just for Santa, this year and years to come.

Any plain white plate will work for this project; I purchased one cheaply at the store, but you can use an old white plate if you have one on hand. I set it down in front of Veronika, along with red, yellow, and green acrylic paints.

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My original intention was to trace a star-shaped cookie cutter at the top and paint it yellow, then to have Veronika fill in around it. But she quickly had other plans!

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She painted the star red before I had even finished tracing! Then the various colors of paint were all smeared together and making a glorious mess. But I loved that the plate was authentically her own creation for Santa Claus.

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After it dried, I added in a message around the rim, writing ‘To Santa’ and ‘Christmas 2020’ in red and green sharpies.

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If your kids want to have a laugh during the creation of the plate, watch a read-aloud of Father Christmas Needs a Wee. Because Santa will be drinking lots of (almond!) milk alongside all those cookies!

Paper Plate Bow Wreath

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Toddlers love tissue paper projects any time of year, but this is a fun way to play with the material around the holidays!

I cut the center out of two paper plates and then helped Veronika squeeze glue all around the outer rim.

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Next I set out cut squares of green tissue paper and showed her how to attach them over the glue. Veronika loved how easy this was to do, despite getting sticky a few times.

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I then gave her circles of red tissue paper and she repeated the task, placing them over dots of glue I had made at intervals on the wreath.

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That was it! Add a pretty red bow and it’s ready to hang.

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As a bonus, Veronika loved playing with leftover scraps of green tissue paper for a while.

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Blowing a Kiss Christmas Card

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This would be a fantastic idea for a holiday card to faraway relatives any year, but particularly in this year of COVID-19, we plan to send a copy even to relatives who live close by.

To make the card, all you need is to capture your kids on camera blowing a kiss. It was so cute to coach Veronika through this.

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Travis happily demonstrated, and then I had the pictures printed at the drugstore and we were ready to design the rest of the card! Veronika loved seeing the prints of herself and big brother.

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I folded red construction paper in half and we used glue sticks to attach the photos.

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While Veronika happily scribbled on extra scrap paper, I wrote the following message in each card:

We can’t see you this Christmas

but we’re blowing you kisses

And sending you wishes.

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Veronika helped add a few puffy Christmas stickers on the cover of each to complete the project.

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For a slightly different look, you can have the words printed directly onto the photo and mail it more like a postcard. But I like that our version of the card was so easy and quick to make.

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