12 Days of Christmas – Gingerbread Cookies for Santa

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Stuck for an idea of what to leave for Santa? These yummy gingerbread biscuits are easy and quick.

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Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup
1 egg, separated
2 ½ cups flour sifted
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

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Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Then beat in the syrup and egg yolk. Fold in the flour, spices and bicarb. Cover in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The cookies spread a little bit during baking, so don’t place them too close together.

Bake cookies for about eight minutes. Allow to harden for a few minutes on the tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies taste best fresh out of the oven, but will keep for two weeks in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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What do you leave out for Santa?

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12 Days of Christmas – Paper Plate Snowman

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This is a quick, simple craft for little ones. Do you wanna build a snowman . . .?

What you need (per snowman): three paper plates – one normal size, one cut slightly smaller, and one cut even smaller than the second; two buttons, a piece of ribbon; glue; a piece of orange cardboard; a straw; sticky tape; stapler; scissors.

First, glue the buttons onto the smallest circle.

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Then stick the ribbon on in a smile.

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Cut the orange cardboard into a long-ish triangle. Fold the bottom edge up a little and put some glue on the folded piece. Stick onto the face.

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Cut the straw in half and stick a piece on either side of the middle-sized paper plate.

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Staple the snowman together. Ta Da!

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Who’s your favourite snowman: Frosty or Olaf? (I like Olaf.)

12 Days of Christmas – Candy Cane Cookies

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I saw this cookie recipe in the Artful Parent’s Winter e-book a while back, and it looked like a fun activity for the girls to do. (I haven’t included the recipe because I couldn’t see it on her site.)

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It started off well enough. Poppet had a lot of fun rolling the dough into snakes. Instead of twisting the two colours together, she broke off pieces of white dough and pressed it onto her red snakes to make the candy canes. Pixie decided that it would be a lot more fun to break up her dough into lots of little crumbs.

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When Poppet got tired of making candy canes, I gave the girls cookie cutters. Pixie was far more interested in building a structure than rolling dough.

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The cookies turned out rather well. (And they’re delicious.)

Do you bake with your kids?

12 Days of Christmas – Jesus in the Manger

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I saw this activity on the Happy Home Fairy’s blog when I was looking for Christmas craft inspiration. I thought it was a lovely idea and we adapted it slightly (because I could not find those shaped ice cream sticks anywhere!). We made 14 “Jesus packs” so that Poppet could give them to her classmates.

What you need: small ziploc bags, red and green cardboard, scissors, craft glue, verses (written or printed), ice cream sticks (or cardboard cut out in a swaddled-baby shape), felt, shredded brown paper.

I wrote out and coloured the verses, then stuck them on either red or green cardboard.

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Poppet and Pixie glued the felt blanket on the baby Jesus.

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While we waited for the glue to dry, they put some “hay” into each ziploc bag. Their interest waned after the first few bags, so they disappeared to play and left me to finish on my own.

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I put a verse into each bag. As I did this part, I realised it would have been easier to put the verse in before putting the “hay” in.

Finally, I put baby Jesus in the bag.

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What do you think of this craft?

12 Days of Christmas – Christmas Tree Puzzle

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If you’re looking for a simple craft to distract your preschoolers for a while, then this is the craft for you: an easy peasy Christmas tree puzzle.

Materials (per puzzle):
A4 cardboard (any colour)
A4 cardboard (green)
Scissors
Pencil
Marker/Koki
Dot stickers
Glitter
Glue
Crayons

Fold the green cardboard in half lengthways, then draw the outline of a Christmas tree on the folded piece with the points of the tree on the open edge of the cardboard. Cut along the line and open up to give you a complete Christmas tree shape. Then, use the shape to trace an outline on the plain piece of cardboard. Go over this outline with a koki.

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Cut the green cardboard into as many pieces as you like. The younger your kids, the larger (and fewer) shapes, the better.

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Get them to fit the shapes into the outline of the tree, then glue the shapes into place.

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Let them colour the base of the tree and decorate the tree with crayons and dot stickers.

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Then make glue lines over the tree and sprinkle with glitter to make tinsel.

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Easy peasy.

Do your kids like puzzles?

12 Days of Christmas – Quick Reindeer Craft

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Reindeer are better than people, Sven, don’t you think I’m right?

Inspired by Frozen, I thought it would be a good idea to make some reindeer with the girls. As sometimes happens, the image in my head didn’t exactly match the actual craft result.

Materials:
Empty toilet rolls
Cardboard
Brown paint
Googly eyes
Scissors
Glue

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Paint the toilet rolls brown. Cut out hand shapes from the cardboard. Cut out faces. Glue the googly eyes onto the faces.

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Glue the hand shapes onto the top of the toilet roll, at the back, to make antlers.

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Glue the faces onto the front of the toilet roll.

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And there you have it: your very own Sven. Sort of.

Who is your favourite reindeer: Rudolph … or Sven?

12 Days of Christmas – Christmas Elf

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The inspiration for these elves comes from Rise of the Guardians, which we’ve seen about a thousand times. (My favourite incarnation of Santa Claus ever.)

Materials:
Red cardboard A5 – cut into a triangle (one per elf)
Googly eyes (two per child)
Blue cardboard cut into small boots (two per elf) and long strips (one per elf)
A small circle (for the bell)
Glue
Glitter
Cardboard cut into a square face (one per elf)
Punch
String

Stick the boots to the bottom of the triangle.

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Stick the strip across the wide part of the triangle to be the elf’s belt.

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Stick the square cardboard onto the red triangle, toward the middle part. This will be the elf’s face.

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Glue the circle to the top point of the triangle.

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Glue the googly eyes onto the face. Draw in a mouth.

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Shake some glitter onto the circle.

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What is your favourite Christmas movie?