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Christmas Baking Competitions

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One of the baking contests in this post is being featured today on the fabulous Money Saving Mom® blog!
Pop over there and take a peek, then come back and tell me all about your own Christmas traditions in the comments.
Love ya much!  Happy baking. XO

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The Christmas Season is upon us! :)

We all have our own particular brand of “perfect” when it comes to celebrating the Holidays.  And I love hearing what festivities make your special days so special… What do you and your relatives do together during the long, lazy days surrounding this oh-so-wonderful holiday?  Are you board-gamers?  TV watchers?  Do you take family walks to look at the Christmas lights?

I hope that whatever you do, it is exactly what you WANT to do.  I hope you are sleeping til at least 10:00 each morning… thanking your lucky stars and your mother-in-law for confiscating the baby monitor from your clutches.  (Oh wait, that’s probably a little too specific.  It’s definitely on my list of things I’m looking forward to.)

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My sister, Mallory, in her happy place.  This site has some great suggestions for Christmastime family activities!

(My sister, Mallory, in her happy place.)

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Today I wanted to offer up a fun little suggestion for your Christmas-time Activities List.  It’s not just baking.  (We ALL bake special goodies for the holidays.)  No, I want you to take it to the next level.  COMPETITIVE baking!

I’ll give you two awesome examples here~

Example #1: Sugar Cookie Trees Contest!

Last Christmas, I discovered a gigantic Christmas tree cookie cutter for free at a thrift store and it inspired me to set up a Cookie Decorating Contest for my family!  Participation was mandatory… everyone had to decorate a tree.  And once the trees were complete, we snapped a photo of each and posted a public album of them to Facebook (no name-labels… we wanted the judging to be un-biased.)  We gave our Facebook friends a deadline and asked them to “like” as many trees as they wanted.  At the end of the weekend, the tree with the most “likes” was declared the winner!

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Christmas Baking Competitions- Use Facebook to judge which decorated cookie is the winner. (Most "likes" wins!)

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The element of a public judging panel brought a whole new level of competitiveness out of my family members.  They really pulled out the BIG GUNS with their tree cookies!  It was such a fun (and inexpensive!) activity to do together.  And I loved each and every tree!  It was so great seeing what each person created out of the same basic template.

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Family Christmas Baking Competitions!  (Use Facebook as your judging panel... the decorated cookie with the most "likes" wins!)

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My brother-in-law surprised us all by clinching the victory with his (amazing) Santa Claus on the Mountainside tree.  Mind-blowing.

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A fun idea for a family Christmas activity!  Everyone decorates a sugar cookie and Facebook friends decide the winner with "likes"!

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Need a huge tree cookie cutter like the one we used?  I found a similar one HERE!  And I used this basic sugar cookie recipe with great success.  (Just be sure you refrigerate the unbaked cookie cutouts before putting them in the oven.  Otherwise they spread out too thin!)

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Example #2 is a contest idea that my friend, Kimbery Amack, has graciously allowed me to share with you today…

Gingerbread Houses!  But not just for fun… for DOLLARS!

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Family Gingerbread House Competition!

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I have known and loved this sweet family since childhood, and one thing is certain… they have a LOT of fun together!  Each Christmas, they have a traditional Gingerbread House Contest.  The stakes are high and the competition is fierce.  (The winner takes home a cash prize!)

Want to have a similar contest with your family over Christmas break?  Stock up on candy, graham crackers, frosting, & sprinkles.  Get as crazy as you want with the decorations!  You can certainly make your own gingerbread if you are feeling ambitious… but I personally advocate keeping your Christmas To-Do List as simple as possible.  This contest is supposed to be fun and it won’t be fun if you are frazzled and exhausted!  Ya feel me?  Anyway, once you have all your supplies, crack open some wine or whip up some Simple, Homemade Hot Cocoa, crank up the Christmas music, and let the construction begin.  :)

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Gingerbread House Competition!

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On a tight grocery budget?  (I know I am!)  If so, then I highly suggest The Dollar Store for purchasing your gingerbread house decorations.  Not only do they have a gigantic aisle of candy, but they also have a variety of cookies, snack cakes, & cereals… in tons of different shapes!  You wouldn’t believe the awesome treasures you can find there… one year, I found a box of cookies at the dollar store that looked just like roof shingles!  (Although I’m loving the look of these frosted mini-wheat roof tiles below.  They come complete with snow!)  And you can’t beat these square-shaped pretzels for window panes.

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Start a family tradition of a cookie decorating or gingerbread house contest!  Family fun at all ages!

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There’s just something special that happens when the whole family is gathered around a table working on a common project instead of in separate corners checking their Twitter feeds.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. :)

I want to wish each of you a Happy Holiday Season from the bottom of my heart.  I’m so honored that you come to my little corner of the internet to read what I have to say… you guys are the BEST!

I truly love hearing from you in the Comments Section and through Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram!  It’s SO fun for me to hear about your cooking adventures, especially when it comes to your holiday cooking & baking traditions.  Keep keepin’ me posted.  :)  And share pics anytime you make a Pretty/Hungry recipe… it makes my day!

XXs & OOs,

Carissa

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Gonna get our Gingerbread House on this year!

 

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Re-capturing family time this Christmas with a good ole-fashioned Cookie Contest!

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You might also enjoy…

Soft-Baked Ginger Snaps

with White Choc Drizzle

Soft-Baked Ginger Snaps with White Chocolate Drizzle!

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*Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure here

 

 

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