(Family Features) - Celebrate the season by baking with your children and turn those Santa's helpers into givers at the same time. Holiday treats, lovingly prepared by little hands, are wonderful gifts for family and friends, and they make parties special.
Baking with kids builds warm holiday memories, especially when you plan ahead. Favorite recipes simply dressed up keep the process kid friendly. Brownies studded with sweet raisins, cut into stars and stacked three high, make a simple holiday tree. A dab of canned frosting will keep the stars in place. Most cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to one month, so plan your holiday baking at a time when both adults and children can relax, have fun and enjoy the experience.
Once the baking is done make sure gift recipients and guests know that the kids made the cookies. Tuck copies of the recipes inside kid-decorated boxes, or hand out copies at the party.
Let your kids select family or friends to receive the treats, and encourage them to look for others who might be in need of holiday cheer, such as an elderly neighbor or a military family where Mom or Dad may not be home for the holidays.
Boxing It Up
The family baking experience doesn't need to stop when the cookies come out of the oven. Package the homemade goodies in holiday finery. Buy plain white boxes and have the kids personalize them using markers and stickers, a personal touch sure to delight both giver and receiver. If your child especially enjoys crafts, encourage him or her to make a box using an origami folding pattern found online. Or colorful tins are available at discount or craft stores. Remember to line your boxes with parchment paper before putting the goodies inside. For cookie recipes visit www.SunMaid.com.