Creating and keeping traditions brings families closer together, connecting us to the past while making warm memories to be shared for years to come. Traditions, both large and small, provide a sense of place and belonging — they create a feeling of warmth and comfort that set these special times apart from our everyday activities. Here are some simple ideas and tips on how CANDY can add fun and flavor to your special CELEBRATIONS!
Create an “anticipation jar” to help children count down the number of days until their birthday or other important occasion, such as the return of a traveling parent. Place bite-size candies in the jar equal to the number of days leading up to the event, allowing the child to enjoy one piece a day. When the candies are gone it’s time to celebrate!
Have an “ice cream sundae Sunday” celebration on the first weekend of the month or to mark a special occasion, such as the end of a school semester. Let everyone create their favorite sundae by offering a variety of toppings, including cut up fruit, nuts, a variety of candies and chocolate sauce or hot fudge.
Celebrate family unity with “Our Family’s Hands” sugar cookies. Roll out sugar cookie dough and carefully cut out the shape of each family member’s hands (you can use a cardboard “knife” made from a piece of poster board). Bake and decorate the cookies with candies, then enjoy them as part of a family meeting with everyone sharing reasons why family is important to them.
Hold a “celebrate success day” honoring a child—or other family member— for a special achievement. Serve the person’s favorite meal followed by brownies cut in the shape of stars with a cookie cutter.
Start a rainy day tradition of playing classic games with a sweet twist. Play checkers or tic-tac-toe using gum drops or another favorite candy as game pieces.
Add a Sweet Twist to Winter Holiday Traditions
Create a peppermint candy sharing tree by hanging miniature candy canes and red and white peppermint candies on the branches of a miniature Christmas tree. Include small notes cut from heavy white paper, punched and strung with red ribbons, bearing messages of hope and joy for the season.
Hold a holiday candy coin hunt— hide gold, foil-wrapped chocolate coins around the house for children to find. Let the children “purchase” other candies and small prizes with the coins they find.
Hold a Winter Solstice party to celebrate the first day of winter. Sip hot chocolate and make “designer” trail mix. Place bowls of nuts, raisins, candies, chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, dry cereal and other ingredients on the table and let everyone make their personal version of this energy snack to take home.
Set aside a special baking day leading up to the winter holidays. Listen to holiday music while you make cut-out sugar cookies to decorate with frosting and candies. Offer a prize for the best-decorated and the ugliest cookies.
...On Other Holiday & Special Occasions
Leftover Halloween candy? Create “ugly monster cookies” once the season has passed—large, round cookies that are meant to be shared. Place a variety of unwrapped leftover candies, carefully chopped into pieces (don”t use hard candies or gum) on top of the oversized cookies during their final few minutes of baking to let them melt.
Hold a craft day a week or two before any holiday. Before Halloween, create paper plate masks made from sturdy paper plates. Cut slits for eyes and decorate with candies attached with edible frosting “glue.” Decoupage heart-shaped boxes for Valentine’s Day and fill them with the recipient’s favorite candies.
For a child’s birthday, create a bouquet of helium balloons for party favors. Slip a piece of candy and a riddle written on a small piece of paper (roll it up tightly) inside each balloon before it is inflated.
When creating Easter baskets for the family, make an additional basket for children and adults at an area family shelter or other charity. Include candy treats along with a few items such as a comb, crayons and a small book.