We moved earlier this year, and the wee ones have been obsessed with the issue that Santa may not be able to visit us this year to deliver Christmas gifts. First, we’re in a new house, and maybe he won’t know that. The bigger problem? Our new house doesn’t have a chimney. Granted, this wasn’t my biggest concern when we were looking at houses, but apparently I should have thought about this more. Needless to say, we need to help Santa find our house.
Mister Man – being the creative child he is – came up with the theory that Santa could simply find an alternate route into our house. Instead of coming down the chimney, he could find another unlocked method of entry. Mister Man’s first thought? He could just come up the toilet in a bubble since it connects the outside to the inside. Smart kid, but I disabused him of that notion. I refuse to set cookies and milk for Santa in a bathroom.
We have been brainstorming this for awhile, and the wee ones continue to be concerned that Santa won’t visit. Christmas traditions are important in our house, and I knew that as a mom, I couldn’t let my kids down. Browsing the aisles of Christmas product at Walmart last week, I finally hit upon inspiration. Hallmark came out with a tv movie called Northpole earlier this season that is an adorable version of researching Christmas to find facts to support the truth – just what we’re trying to do at our house. Not surprisingly, Hallmark has a huge line of products to support it, and I found the perfect ideas to help the wee ones feel confident that Santa will indeed be able to find our house. And given the size of the selection, my wallet was lucky I managed to narrow it down to only a few items. So far. But ohhhh the choices!
Rather than simply hand over the items, I decided to package them up for the wee ones to open as an early Christmas present. I removed the star from the Once Upon a Northpole Christmas book as I’m saving the book to be a gift from Santa. Every year, the wee ones each receive a new Christmas book from Santa that appears near the chimney – or used to anyway – that we reread each year. It’s one of my favorite traditions, as I did the same thing as a child and still have and read all my Christmas books. Using this particular book is a perfect tie in to the preparations we’re doing now to help Santa find our house.
The rest of the items? They went into a special red Christmas gift box. I layered it with green tissue paper and removed the Northpole Communicator from its box to ensure that it fit and that I snuck out the “big people only instructions” and then added each of the other gift items for the wee ones. I not only had the communicator and the Find Me Santa Stars (I purchased an extra one in addition to the one that comes with the book to ensure that each of the wee ones had one) and an oh so much fun rolling Christmas cookie cutter that we planned to use to make cookies for Santa to eat on Christmas Eve.
After debating how I wanted to handle Santa this year, I finally decided that Santa was going to come through the front door and leave his presents there this year. We would simply have to remember to unlock the door when the wee ones go to bed and leave our cookies and milk (and carrots!) on a little table near the door. Obviously, to plant this as a viable solution for the wee ones, this is where I placed the red box for them to find and discover.
And discover they did. They didn’t quite understand what was inside the box at first, but once they opened it, their eyes lit up.
The Northpole Communicator is going to be a perennial favorite, I think. We have an elf radio ornament from Hallmark that we received years ago that is the wee ones’ favorite thing to check each morning from December 1 to 25 to get the update. The communicator is a step up from this, as the wee ones will be able to have actual conversations with Santa or one of his Northpole friends each day. They, of course, had to try it out already, but since it isn’t yet December 1, they get only the heads up to come back on December 1. The wee ones’ first question to me? Is it December 1 yet, Mom? They literally cannot wait until tomorrow when they will be able to have that conversation. Me? I’m thinking it will be easy to encourage them to get ready for school on time!
They loved the stars, too, and they’re so happy that they will stay lit up for four hours once they turn them on.
That will give Santa plenty of time to find our house and deliver his Christmas gifts. They both sat down to write out their names on their stars and then insisted on hanging them in the window now. Once it was dark, we turned them on and watching the snowflakes (that come with batteries, thank you, Hallmark!) light up and change colors set the right tone for the wee ones. They’re now confident that we will have our traditional Christmas with no issues.
As excited as they were for the items in the box, they asked if they could pretty, pretty please make Christmas cookies now and then just freeze them so that we wouldn’t forget to have any for Santa (which ahem may or may not have happened last year). How could I say no? I wanted to have fun playing with the rolling cookie cutter, too. I love that the cookies are perfectly bite size and are such fun shapes. We did fairly quickly figure out that you need to use a good rolled cookie dough that is well-chilled and lightly floured on top to make the cookies come out of the cutter more easily, but all ours turned out well.
When I have sugar cookies, I pretend like I’m fancy and I do a sugar cookie icing that I will dye one or two colors to make my cookies really stand out. That said, I’m not a fan of the pain it is to make royal icing, which is the gold standard. I always end up with egg yolks I don’t use, and the icing hardens so incredibly quickly – and it doesn’t taste good at all. Instead, I “cheat” and make my own cookie icing that is perfect for our purposes. It’s faster and easier to make than royal icing, and it tastes better to me.
I literally mix it up with a fork in a bowl and then use a small icing tip in a plastic bag to pipe an icing border and then fill it most of the way in before using the tip to pull the icing around the filling and remove any gaps. It still has to harden for almost a day before it is completely done, but it works great, and the wee ones love to decorate with it, too. I let them decorate the cookies this year after I showed them how to do the first one. Little Miss was so proud of what she created.
And honestly? I’m starting to get into the Christmas mood. Our cookies for Santa are baked and decorated and safely hidden in the freezer to pull out on Christmas Eve. We have our stars hanging to help Santa find our house. The wee ones are counting down the seconds (forget hours, we’re now down to seconds) to see what the Northpole Communicator will say tomorrow, and I’m thrilled that I have their Christmas book tradition crossed off my list. Ok ok, and I might be just a little curious to see what our conversation with Santa will be like tomorrow. And the updates and changes it will have next year when I buy the new cartridge to go in it!
The rhythms and traditions of Christmas soothe me. I love how happy they make my family, and they help create expectations and a sense of magic around the season. The wee ones have started questioning whether Santa really exists, and all I can do is ask them what they really think and maintain our traditions. The only thing we need right now is our tree, and we’ll truly be set. Once I get my Christmas cards in the mail.
So what are your favorite Christmas traditions?
An incredibly easy and nonfussy icing that works beautifully on sugar cookies. This recipe makes enough frosting for a dozen sugar cookies.
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 T milk
- In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar. Pour the extract and milk into the powdered sugar and use the fork to stir the icing together until there are no lumps.
- Let the icing dribble off your fork. If it immediately is incorporated into the frosting in the bowl, add a little more powdered sugar. If the icing holds its shape momentarily before reincorporating, you are good to go. You want the icing to be thick enough to hold its shape when added to cookies.
- Ensure your cookies have completely cooled or the icing will melt and run off your cookies.
- Add icing to a piping bag with a narrow tip. Pipe a border with the icing, then zig zag inside the border to fill most of the area. Use the tip to pull icing to fill the gaps.
- Let the icing harden on your counter for a day before storing in an airtight container. They will freeze for up to a month, if necessary.
Feel free to substitute the vanilla extract for peppermint extract or another flavor of your choice. This icing dyes well to make additional colors. Use gel dyes to maintain the consistency of your icing and ensure vibrant colors.