Ok, we all know Easter baskets are the classic when it comes to holding all those Easter treats (see this post for more Easter gifting ideas), but how cute are these little bunny bags as a twist on the classic for Easter parties? If you need a last minute idea for when the Easter Bunny comes or want to hand out treats for Easter, these little bunnies take minutes to make and are perfect for popping in all those Easter egg hunt finds or giving away fully loaded with Easter treats. View Post
Advent calendars are a fun holiday tradition, and even though we usually think of them as being filled with chocolate and sweet treats, I wanted to create one that combined the fun of receiving gifts with the joy of giving them.
Instead of chocolates and other sugary treats (because we all know there’s going to be enough of those in the coming weeks!) I wanted to do something that the whole family would enjoy, including little gifts, and activities that we could enjoy doing together leading up to Christmas. I didn’t want it to become too expensive or over- the- top, but something I’d have fun putting together and we’d all look forward to each morning.
While there are a few gifts mixed in, the main idea behind this advent calendar is to bring the family together, get into the holiday spirit, and teach our kids about kindness and giving- not just at this time of year, but all year. If you’re looking for fun ideas for the family going into the holiday season, I hope this candy- free advent calendar gives you some ideas! ADDED BONUS: Enter to win a prize package including tickets to some Vancouver Christmas events and a few other items to enjoy as a family. Scroll to the end of this post to enter to win!
For mine I’m using a wooden box I picked up at a thrift store, and used a picture frame for the numbers; nothing too complicated but something that the kids can open- like a traditional candy advent calendar- and that will be big enough to fit small items in. The fun thing about advent calendars is that there are so many styles and ways to put them together, the hardest part is deciding what to put in them.
For ours I’ve rounded up a few little gifts to open throughout the month, items/ materials for activities (ie sprinkles for cookie decorating), and good deeds to do leading up to Christmas, along with 12 random acts of kindness to perform each month throughout the year ahead. For some days there will a note or envelope with an activity or good deed written on it, for others there will be little gifts the kids can open. While I love the advent calendars with candy, I liked the idea of trying out this style and may include some sweet treats in future years (plus we all know there will be plenty of candy and chocolate over the holiday season!). This is my first year doing this (Will did something similar last year and I give him credit for giving me this idea) and I hope it becomes a tradition we continue.
If you like this idea and want to try it with your own family, here are some ideas to get you started with your own advent calendar:
I’m just going to put this out there: who can resist a good sugar cookie? Especially when it’s made with love and- added bonus- heart shaped? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought it was a good time to bring out the heart shaped cookie cutters and whip up a batch. Ari’s favourite are these chocolate chip cookies, but sugar cookies are a close second. We did cut- outs with mini hearts for a fun extra touch and I think they turned out great.
I used this recipe , but cut it in half since it makes a lot of cookies. And even though the original recipe I shared is gluten/ dairy free, you can simply swap in unbleached flour and butter if you’d prefer the classic version (the cookies we made were gluten free but I used butter). It’s a classic recipe that’s versatile and easy to adapt, so whether you have to make some substitutions or not, they’re a crowd- pleaser! (I tried to save a few take a some more photos but they were gone in no time!).
1. Once you’ve mixed your dough, divide it equally. Add red food colouring to one half and knead until it’s mixed in (or maybe go for a cute marble effect!). Roll dough to 1/8″- 1/4″ thick.
2. Using a large cookie cutter, cut out the cookies in the desired shapes.
3. For the cutouts, use a small heart- shaped cookie cutter in the centre of the large cookies and swap the centres (pink into the plain and vice- versa). You can also leave the centres empty as a cute alternative.
4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place the cookies carefully on the sheets (the shapes can warp, so be careful when transferring them).
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 6- 8 minutes and allow to cool.
6. Optional: add icing & sprinkles for a fun touch.