Easy Holiday Treats to Make with Kids

Of course I always want the holiday season to be special for my kids. I just don’t want to buy ten pounds of faux snow and create a scavenger hunt with clues to find a basket of thoughtfully purchased and attractively arranged holiday goodies that my children will seek while the Elf on the Shelf looks on mischievously from his latest hiding place. I just can’t even. 

Photo courtesy Meg Asby

But you know what I can do? Prepare food with the kids. Since we all have to eat anyway (at least three times a day! every single day!), this is definitely the two birds with one stone approach. Check out these easy and festive recipes to get that holiday magic started. We can do this.

(Mess in the kitchen too much to handle right now? We get it! Crack eggs in someone else’s kitchen instead.)


Quesadilla Trees

Courtesy Yummy Yummy Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but our family has eaten our weight in cheese quesadillas, many times over. Check out this recipe for making those quesadillas extra special without much extra effort. If your kids won’t touch guacamole, buy green (spinach, shhh!) tortillas instead. 

Banana Snowpeople

Courtesy of Haute and Healthy Living

If your kids are old enough to resist skewering their sibling’s eyeball, try these adorable and seriously healthy banana snowmen from Haute and Healthy Living.

Holiday Snack Tree

Courtesy of The Sunny Side Up Blog

I love few things more than a pantry/fridge clean-out, and this holiday snack tree from Sunny Side Up really delivers. Use whatever you have on hand, but make a couple of extra cheese stars, because kids are definitely going to fight over that one.

Penguin Crackers

Courtesy Fantastic Fun and Learning

I know, I know, there are olives in this one, but some kids love them — mine, included. The canned ones have a mild flavor, and you just MIGHT win over a picky eater with these cute penguin snacks from Fantastic Fun and Learning.

Marshmallow Dreidels

Photo credit: Martha Stewart

These sweet dreidels are made with five ingredients, all of which my children will happily eat. Yes, please. 

Holiday Light Cupcakes

Photo credit: Baked Bree 

These holiday light cupcakes use an embellished cake mix recipe, so it’s really simple for even brand new bakers to throw together, very little measuring required. For an easy and delicious cupcake recipe from scratch, we like Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake, which uses pantry and fridge staples. 

Santa Pancakes

Photo credit: The Idea Room

You probably have everything you need to make these Santa pancakes right now. Sub any red fruit you have on hand for the hat, and feel free to go nuts with the whipped cream if your kids think bananas are “too slimy.” Only mine? Okay, then. 

Menorah Waffles

Photo credit: Golden Malted

For more holiday breakfast fun, try Golden Malted’s Menorah Waffles. If you’re making your own waffles, I love Everyday Annie’s Waffles of Insane Greatness. How’s that for a recipe title?

Rudolph Celery Snacks

Photo Credit: Natural Beach Living 

For another healthy but festive treat, try the classic Rudolph Celery Snacks. Pair them with a trip to The Judy’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and you’ve basically won Christmas.

Cheese Dreidels

Courtesy Dilusso Deli

For more low-sugar snacking, these cheese dreidels are super simple, but a fun win. 

Star of David Snacks

Photo credit: My Cookie Factory 

Have leftover pretzels from your dreidels? Now try these three-ingredient Star of David snacks.

No-Bake Christmas Tree Cookies

Courtesy The Recipe Rebel

These no-bake Christmas tree cookies are adorable and a great way to use up that leftover candy you bought to “make Halloween special.” My kids sort of inexplicably love coconut, but if yours don’t, try buying the very-finely shredded variety. It makes a big difference, I promise! 

Brownie Tree Cake Pops

Photo credit: My Fussy Eater

These super fun cake pops from My Fussy Eater could easily be made with any cake or brownie recipe (or, even easier, boxed cake or brownie mix). I love Smitten Kitchen’s one-bowl Best Cocoa Brownies.

Peanut Butter Mice

Photo Credit: Taste of Home

Any Nutcracker fans out there? Try these peanut butter Christmas mice from Taste of Home.

New York Times Chocolate Fudge

Photo Credit: NYT Cooking

And what holiday season is complete without a batch of homemade fudge? Try the New York Times Absurdly Easy Chocolate Fudge.

Chocolate-Dipped Candy Canes

Photo Credit: Taste of Home

If your kids can operate a microwave, they can totally handle these chocolate-dipped candy canes on their own. They pair really well with a delicious cup of hot cocoa

Post originally written in December 2020.

Meg Asby
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