Low-Cost, No-Cost Ways To Celebrate Christmas with Kids

Cutting costs at Christmas doesn't mean celebrating like Scrooge. It's not about what you buy--it's about what you do!

Putting "celebration" at the center of the season--and taking the focus off of gifts and giving--can be the key to happy holidays that don't break the bank.

Better, when it comes to kids and Christmas, cheap is good! Simple, inexpensive family activities can be as meaningful as pricey Nutcracker tickets--and no need for scratchy dresses or dress-up suits.

Try these no-cost, low-cost ways to celebrate the holiday season with kids:

Rocky Road

rocky road recipe

Easy enough for children to make and so delicious! Rocky Road is just the thing for the chocoholic in your life.

Melt and mix chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter to form a chocolate base, then spark the candy with peanuts and miniature marshmallows.

You can vary the flavor by subsituting milk chocolate chips for semi-sweet. For a holiday touch, replace half the marshmallows with pink, peppermint-flavored marshmallows. Yum!

Snowman Soup: Recipe For Warming Winter Gift

Snowman Soup

Warm the hearts of good little boys and girls with a packet of Snowman Soup!

Take a single-serving package of hot chocolate mix, chocolate candy kiss, marshmallows and candy cane, package in a mug or holiday-themed goody bag, then add a free printable gift tag or bag topper for a cheery winter gift.

Easy enough for children to make, Snowman Soup is perfect for stocking stuffers, office gifts, Secret Santa presents or 12 Days of Christmas gifts.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie In A Jar

White Chocolate - Macadamia Nut Cookies

A deluxe cookie with a sweet taste of the Hawaiian Islands, White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies are a sweet and tender accompaniment to hot coffee--or a cool drink.

A recipe from C&H Sugar, this layered cookie in a jar mix makes a happy holiday gift for family, friends or classroom teachers.

Our version includes free printable gift tags.

"Gimme, Gimme" v. Doing Good: Teaching Children to Give

Teach children to give

Recently, I eavesdropped on an online discussion about teaching children to give.

The original writer was a concerned, conscientious parent of a preschooler. This father shared his plan to teach his daughter about holiday giving. They would, he wrote, sort through the child's toys and set aside several toys "to give to needy children."

An admirable effort, I thought--until he set forth the rest. He hoped to locate a charitable agency that would permit his daughter to hand her toys directly to the child who would receive them. This way, he felt, his child would learn what giving meant in a direct and unambiguous manner.

I stared at the screen and asked "What is wrong with this picture?"

We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas: Stocking Stuffer To Make

Whisk You a Merry Kissmas Gift Tag

Ready to share Yuletide greetings ... with a clever twist? This "We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas" stocking stuffer is a sweet surprise for the chocolate lover in your life!

A homemade Christmas gift, a "Kissmas Whisk" is easy enough for children to make and give--and with ingredients from the dollar store, it's inexpensive to make.

Makes a great teacher gift, stocking stuffer or office Secret Santa present.

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies Recipe

This is a wonderful cookie, but I find it a bore to make. Each and every year I drop this one from my list, and each and every year my daughter asks, hopefully, "Are you going to make those candy cane cookies this year?"

Each and every year I reply, "Well, all right, but ONLY if you'll help me!"

The reason for this devotion is obvious from the first taste. These cookies are distinctive and wonderfully flavored--and they look, smell and taste like Christmas!

Layered Mix Success: Tips for Making Gifts in a Jar

tips for layered cookie mix gifts in a jar

Interested in making layered baking mixes in a jar?

While pretty, these gift mix recipes can leave people asking lots of questions.

How do you get all the ingredients into the jar? How do you make sure the finished product tastes as good as it looks? How far ahead can you make these gifts?

You've got questions? We've got answers! Try these tips for successful Mason jar gifts.

Simplify Holiday Traditions: Do Less, Enjoy It More!

Simplify Holiday Traditions

"Tradition" is a powerful force that sometimes pulls an unsuspecting family along in its wake. Do your holiday traditions serve your family, your values and your spiritual beliefs--or are you running a tired and joyless circle each holiday season in the name of tradition?

To cut stress during the season, don't wait to give your family's holiday traditions a stiff scrutiny.

Give some thought to your family's holiday traditions well before the season is full upon you. Try these ideas to simplify your family's traditions--and deepen the season's joys!

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