You can enjoy traditional Christmas sweets without the sugar by trying these budget-friendly crafts and edible alternatives.

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments
by Erin at


4 cups flour

1 cup salt

1 ½ cups warm water

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (optional)


Combine flour and salt in bowl.Add water until the dough becomes elastic-y and will get be formed into smaller balls.Then add oil.Add a little more flour or water as needed to make the dough easy to handle.

Form into balls so that when rolled out, they are large enough for your child’s handprint.Roll dough about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.Have your child make their handprint in the dough.Press the ends of each finger to be sure the print is impressed well into the dough.Use a drinking straw to make a small hold in the disk so that it can be used as an ornament.

Bake at 200 degrees for at least 30 minutes, until the dough becomes hard.Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

Once cook, the ornament can be painted with acrylic paints, written on with a marker or covered with glitter clue.The possibilities are endless!

Once the paints and glues have dried, spray the top side with a clear acrylic glaze.Let dry and spray the other side as well. Hang with a wire ornament hanger or decorative ribbon.

Variations: Add 1 package of Kool Aid in with the salt and flour to change the color of the ornament.Use cookie cutters and cut out shapes instead of making handprints.


Gingerbread House for the Birds

by Jessica at Life as Mom

As a mom who tries to limit her children’s candy intake, I have a hard time with traditional gingerbread houses. First, I’m a chocolate lover, so the candy on it just sounds gross to me. But, not to my kids. They would love to eat it all, if I let them. Secondly, it seems wasteful to spend time on a food-based craft that will not be eaten.
That’s why I love the idea of making a gingerbread house — for the birds. Simply substitute the sugar based ingredients for alternatives that are more suitable for our feathered friends.
Bird Gingerbread Houses
Graham crackers
peanut butter and suet, mixed in equal parts
pretzel sticks and twists
sunflower and sesame seeds
parched corn
dried peas

Spread peanut butter-suet mixture on the edges of the graham crackers and stick them together to form a cube. Place your cube on a paper plate. Fill a plastic sandwich bag with peanut butter-suet mixture. Clip off one corner of the bag and use it as you would a pastry bag to pipe the mixture into designs on your crackers. Sprinkle with seeds, corn or peas or stick on pretzel sticks and twists to decorate your house. After you’ve admired your creation for a few days, set it outside for the birds to enjoy.

Cheese Straws

from Lori at Hooray for Freebates
1 c butter
2 c grated cheddar cheese
2 2/3 c sifted flour
dash of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix together well. You can then make these
one of two ways:
  1. roll thin and cut in narrow strips -or-
  2. push through a cookie press
Bake @ 275 until light brown. Makes ~4 doz when you make the thin strips. (This recipe came from River Road Recipes)

Gingerbread Friend Coloring Mural

Print everything you need to create a Gingerbread Friend Coloring Mural ready to color and cut. I love Jan Brett’s artwork, maybe because I remember reading some of her books when I was a child. She has tons of adorable printable activities, so please browse the Jan Brett website for more.

Breakfast in the Stocking

from Jessica at Life as Mom

I love Jessica’s family tradition of putting a “breakfast healthier than chocolate” inside the stocking rather than candy. I remember that those mini boxes of cereal were always a super special treat for me when I was a kid, and plan on starting the new “breakfast in the stocking” tradition this year for my kids instead of starting a candy tradition. Hey, you could even use one of your free cereal samples that you’ve received in the mail! I’ll have to remember to save some next fall since we usually eat our right away.

And here’s a sugar-free recipe for those who love nuts!

Spiced Nuts Recipe by Karin at Cooking Adventures


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