December 22, 2012

Christmas Crafts & Gifts (My Favorites!)

This year I was only able to do a few of the really cool crafts, treats and gifts that I wanted to try, but they all turned out great and were so much fun!! Here are some of my favorites, you can pull these together for quick, last minute Holiday cheer or stock up and prepare for next year!

**Countdown To Christmas**

This started out as a "12 Days of Christmas countdown....with Books," that I read about here.  And then I started adding my own things I wanted to make sure we did before the busyness took over and the holidays were through.  I wrapped a gingerbread making kit, a few of our favorite Christmas movies, recipe for sugar cookies and hot chocolate, "looking at lights" events and others like it, giving back ideas, ornament making directions, etc.  It was fun sitting down and thinking ahead about what we would like to do, and then I tried to plan around our schedule as best I could, movies for weekends, books for school nights, and the rest spread out throughout December.  We will DEFINITELY be doing this again!

"Merry Kissmas and Chappy New Year" - Great Teacher Gifts!

I saw this cute idea on pinterest!  But I took it a step further and put a chapstick and lotion in a cute christmasy bag (I also threw in some chocolate kisses and tea bags) and put the cute saying on a tag, tied it on and gifted it to my girls teachers (also great for Sunday school workers, coworkers, etc).

Energy Sticks - Simple and Sweet

My two youngest are in Parents Day Out, and they have two teachers to each class, since I just didn't have enough materials to fill that many bags so I came up with this little gift.  Tied a sample stick of coffee (I had gotten for free!) to a tag that said "Thank you for all the energy you've invested in me, here's just a little bit back" ;)  Short and Sweet, and very small...but cute I think!

Make-Shift Mantle Place (I am soooo excited about this Pinterest Idea)

I love that we still get to "hang our stockings" even though we don't have a mantle!  We used the easy to remove hooks (you know, the stick and peel away later, spray painted) and a curtain rod.  It was so easy and looks so cute!! 

Tasty Treats!!!

Santa Hat Snack (Easy for serving a crowd - or taking to school!)

I used this recipe, found here and put these together for my daughter's Kindergarten class snack.  So festive, tasty and not to hard either!  I would have made the hats red, but I didn't have food coloring.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
I used this recipe to help us make our own hot chocolate, that all my babies can enjoy.  We have been drinking it all winter long!

2 3/4 cup Almond Milk (or dairy free milk)
1/3 cup baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1/3 cup organic sugar (or other sweetener)
Marshmellows/Candy Canes (optional)

Pour 3/4 cup milk in saucepan and whisk in the cocoa and sugar until blended, add remaining milk and heat until desired temperature.  Add toppings and even a little mint, almond or vanilla extract if you'd like.  Enjoy and stay warm!

Peppermint Bark
I just made these today, and everyone loved them!  I got them from Tone It Up, and I hope I can share them with you!  It is so simple, and easy to make allergy-free!

Chocolate (regular, white or dairy free)
Peppermint Extract (optional)
Crushed Candy Canes (or peppermints)

Mix (dairy free) Chocolate in a glass bowl, over a pot of boiling water.  When melted, mix in some peppermint extract.  Then pour in a glass dish, top with coconut shreds and crushed candy cane.  Freeze for an hour, and cut in small pieces!  It's delicious!

For all my Christmas inspirations check out my Christmas Pinterest Board.

And for LOADS of frugal gifts and craft ideas check out Hip2Save Holiday Series!

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