Cookie decorating is a fun, indoor holiday activity! It keeps the kids entertained and you end up with a tasty treat to enjoy! I am fortunate that my kids are old enough to help make sugar cookies which we recently did. However, making the cookie dough and then letting it chill, baking the cookies, making the icing and then finally getting to decorate the cookies takes a lot of time!
Here are some of the places in Westchester County where you can purchase DIY holiday cookie decorating kits. Everything is prepped, packaged and ready so you can immediately get to the fun part, decorating! Most of these businesses require you to preorder the kits. If you want them in time to do with the kids over the holiday break, get your orders in soon! *Please check with the vendor directly for the most up-to-date prices and information.
Flowerbake by Angela: (Pelham) Flowerbake by Angela sells puzzle cookie decorating kits. You can purchase a baked cookie kit which includes an instruction sheet as well as all the cookies and icing, a dough kit – which includes a ball of cookie dough, cookie cutters, icing, parchment paper and instruction sheet or a cookie dough mix kit – which includes the sugar cookie mix, cookie cutters, icing, parchment paper and instruction sheet. Prices range between $35=$38. Available for pickup or delivery.
Sugar Mama by Kim: (New Rochelle) Kim sells DIY cookie kits that include 12 cookies, 3 bags of icing, a container of sprinkles and decorations for $35. She also sells Paint Your Own cookie kits. Each cookie is $6 each or 6 for $30. Orders are submitted via a form that can be found on her Facebook page.
Sugar & Sweets by Stacey (Yonkers) Sugar & Sweets by Stacey is selling Winter themed cookie kits. They are $39 and includes 12 cookies, 3 icings, 6 popsicle sticks and 2-3 containers of sprinkles. There are 4 different themed kits to choose from: gingerbread men and women, snowflakes and snowmen, mittens, hats and penguins and ugly sweaters. They are also selling stencil cookie kits for $33. These kits include 6 cookies and 3 paint brushes. Orders can be picked up in Yonkers or delivered.
Wildly Cakes: (White Plains) Cookie kits are $35 and include 12 baked cookies in the shape of your choice, frosting to match the theme, sprinkles and directions. Orders must be placed one week in advance. Pickup in White Plains. Delivery is available for an additional fee on a first come, first serve basis.
The lights, the music and of course Santa Claus! With COVID, things may look different this year, but there are still many Hudson Valley holiday events taking place. Check out our Hudson Valley Holiday Events Guide for all the info! As always, please check directly with the venue for the most up-to-date information.
A Frosty Fest: (Ulster Park) Attractions include a Meet and Greet with Dasher the Reindeer, Holiday characters, drive through Frosty’s Enchanted Forest, visit the Magical Mansion, outdoor photo with Santa, walk through Frosty’s Adventure, photo with Blizzard the Bear, “Jingle the Elf” stage show and more. Dates: Weekends only (Friday-Sunday) November 27 – December 20 Tickets/Price: $15.95/adult + service charge and tax, $12.95/child (under 12) + service charge and tax, Free/children under 12 months *Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Christmas Tree at the Cross County Center: (Yonkers) The Cross County Center has a new Christmas tree this year. The 44 foot tall tree has a walk through feature where you can look up to the top of the tree. Throughout the season there will be strolling entertainers, a Holiday Food Truck Market and a Pop-Up Ice Skating rink.
Grand Holiday Illuminations at Untermyer Park & Gardens: (Yonkers) This annual holiday light show will take place at Untermyer Park & Gardens. Tickets are not yet available, but check the Untermyer Gardens site for updates. Dates: December 12 – January 3 Tickets/Price: Free, but timed entry reservations needed
Holiday on the Hill at Lasdon Park and Arboretum: (Katonah) Enjoy the annual Holiday on the Hill exhibit and train show at Lasdon Park and Arboretum. Tickets will be sold online only for scheduled entry. Enjoy the holiday train exhibit, outdoor safe Santa visits and more. Dates: December 4 – January 31
Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo: (Bronx) Enjoy five lantern safaris throughout the park, ice-carving demonstrations, costumed characters and more. Dates: Select dates November 20 – January 10 Tickets/Price: $34.95/Adult (Age 13+), $22.95/Child (Ages 3-12), $31.95/Senior (Age 65+), $17/Parking
Holiday Lights Parade at FDR Park: (Yorktown) The Yorktown Parks and Recreation department is holding a holiday lights parade featuring decorated floats. Date: Saturday, December 5 at 7 PM Tickets/Price: Free
Holiday Light Spectacular at the Orange County Fairgrounds: (Middletown) Enjoy a holiday drive through, multi media projection show, lighted displays and more. Drinks and treats will be available for purchase. Dates: November 27 – January 3 (Thursday – Sunday, November 27 – December 13), (Daily, December 17 – January 3) 5 PM – 10 PM Tickets/Price: $25/per car online in advance, $30/per car at the door
Holiday Tea Musicale at Caramoor: (Virtual) Enjoy a special holiday streamed performance and self-paced virtual tour of the Rosen House. You can add a Holiday Tea Box for $50 that includes an assortment of finger sandwiches, holiday treats and a variety of teas. A Deluxe Tea Set is available for $120 that includes a teapot, two teacups, a tray and a Caramoor tea blend. Boxes need to be picked up at Caramoor December 18, 19 or 20 between 10 AM and 12 PM. Dates: December 14 – January 1, with special viewing performances on December 18, 19 and 20 at 1 PM, where you can chat with the Director of the Rosen House and fellow attendees Tickets/Price: $10
Holiday Train Show at NYBG:(Bronx) This year, the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is a members only event. Members need to reserve tickets in advance and are limited to one visit. Dates: November 12 – January 31
Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival: (Wappingers Falls) This year the Holiday Spirit Festival will be an all outdoor event. Enjoy the Winter Wonderland Walk through a North Pole village, train exhibit, Santa’s Reindeer Barn, holiday entertainment, characters and more. Dates: Weekends Only (Friday-Sunday) November 27 – December 27, and December 22 and 23 Tickets/Price: $16/General Admission, Free/under 2 years
Merry & Bright: A Holiday Driving Tour: (Hyde Park) The town of Hyde Park is holding a holiday light driving tour created by the community and local businesses. Homes can sign up to be part of the tour and ballots can be printed so you can vote on your favorite display. The kick-off on December 6th at 6 PM will include special one night only light displays at several town locations. Dates: December 6 – December 20 Tickets/Price: Free
NYBG GLOW: (Bronx) GLOW is an evening, outdoor illuminated experience at the New York Botanical Garden. During your visit you can also enjoy ice carving displays, dancers, musicians and other outdoor fun. Dates: November 27, & 28, December 5, 12, 18, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, January 1, 2, 9 Tickets/Price: $30/adults, $18/children (2-12), Free/children under 2 Members: $20/adult, $10/children (2-12), Free/children under 2
While you are at Bethel Woods, you can also enjoy Dinner with Santa before or after your drive-thru experience. Dates: December 3- December 27, 5 PM – 8 PM Price: $45/adult, $20/child
Photos with Santa:
Jefferson Valley Mall: (Yorktown Heights) This year photos with Santa will be looking a little different. Reservations are strongly recommended. Santa and his helpers will be wearing masks and guests are required to wear masks as well. This will be a socially distant experience. Dates: November 27 – December 24
The Westchester: (White Plains) This year photos with Santa will be looking a little different. Reservations are required. Santa and his helpers will be wearing masks and guests are required to wear masks as well. This will be a socially distant experience. Dates: November 20 – December 24
Westchester’s Winter Wonderland: (Valhalla) This year, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland will be a drive-thru experience. Enjoy a 1.2-mile illuminated drive from the warmth of your car. You will enjoy a light and music extravaganza. Dates: Open every night November 27 – January 3, (except November 30, December 7, December 14, December 24 and December 25) Tickets/Price: $25/car, $40/van or limo
White Plains Holiday Market: (White Plains) This holiday market will be held on Court Street between Martine Ave. and Main Street. Over 40 vendors and artisans will be selling their wares in sheds similar to those seen at Bryant Park. Dates: December 18 – December 23
It’s that time of year again, where we start making our lists of everyone we need to buy presents before. Before you run out and buy more “stuff” think about giving an experience gift this year. There are plenty of fun things to do in and around Westchester County. Check out some of these experience gift ideas! Below are links to past posts that offer a comprehensive list of Westchester County experience gift ideas! Even though some of the posts are a few years old, the ideas are still relevant. Only the prices may have changed. Please check websites for the current pricing. If you know of any experience gift ideas that we have not included, please let us know!
The day after Halloween seems to unofficially begin the start of the holiday season. While that may be a little early for us, there is something special about the December holidays. Advent calendars are a fun way to count the days until Christmas. Although you don’t start opening Advent calendars until December 1st, now is a great time to start shopping for them. We have rounded up Advent calendars for everyone in your family to help you enjoy counting down the days until Christmas!
Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar – Tsum Tsum fans will love this Disney advent calendar. It includes 18 tsum tsum figures, 6 large, 6 medium and 6 small. It also comes with 6 holiday themed accessories.
Haribo – Maybe stretching this in the Pop Culture category, but Haribo gummies are super popular. This calendar comes with 24 individually wrapped gummy candies in a mixture of fruit and cola flavors, marshmallow, licorice and gums.
Super Mario Brothers – This calendar has 24 days of surprises. Each numbered door has either a figure or accessory behind it.
Bonne Maman – We love Bonne Maman! This calendar has 24 1 oz. jars of fruit spreads and honey. This set includes holiday exclusive flavors like rhubarb & strawberry, purple fig with cinnamon and more. This set is sold out on their site, but is currently available at World Market.
Jerky Advent Calendar – This calendar includes 12 days of jerky. There are a variety of different brands and types of jerky, which totals to almost 2 pounds worth.
David’s Tea – This David’s Tea calendar has 2 servings of tea per day and includes 24 loose leaf teas like Candy Cane Crush, Gingerbread, Let It Snow and more. There are many other tea advent calendars available
Joe & Sephs Popcorn – This popcorn calendar has 24 days of snack size popcorn. There are 12 unique flavors, including Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Orange and Banoffee Pie, so there must be two of each flavor. However, the popcorn ships from England.
BYOB Hot Sauce – This set contains 25, 2 oz. Christmas-themed hot sauces. Each has a different Christmas label and are made from peppers including Scorpion, Ghost Pepper, Banana, Habanero and more. Perfect for the hot sauce lovers in your life!
YAWN Coffee – This YAWN coffee advent calendar has 24 sachets of specialty coffee and comes in either ground or whole bean. This is the only 24 day coffee advent calendar. Unfortunately, the company is based out of and ships from England. However, there are many 12 Days of Christmas coffee sets including this Christmas Sampler, this K-cup Christmas sampler and more.
NYX Sugar Trip – This Advent calendar comes with *** NYX also has a Love Lust Disco Greatest Hits Lip Advent Calendar as well.
Macy’s 25 Days of Beauty– This calendar has 25 beauty products including masks, makeup, creams and more from brands like Clinique, Origins and Sunday Riley.
Alcohol Themed Calendars
Hard Seltzer Advent Calendar – This calendar contains 12 curated hard seltzers from brands like Truly, White Claw, Henry’s and small-batch hard seltzer brands.
Aldi Wine Calendar – This calendar contains 24, 187 mL bottles of wine. The wines come from all over the world (Italy, France, South Africa, USA, Chile, Argentia and more) and include a variety of red and white wines. They are only being sold in store though and customers are limited to 2.
Heritage Distilling Spirits Calendar – This calendar has 24, 50 mL bottles of spirits. It includes vodka, bourbon, gin, rye and whiskey. Due to shipping restrictions, this calendar can only be shipped to a few select states.
Voluspa 12 Days of Gifting Candle Set – This 12 scented votive candles set includes scents like Prosecco Rose and Violet & Honey. The candles are made from coconut wax and come in pretty glass votives. Each candle has a 15 hour burn time.
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Last week I posted some stocking stuffer ideas for tween boys. Today I’m sharing some stocking stuffer ideas for tween girls. I find there are many small items, perfect for this age group, that can easily fill a stocking. Here are a few ideas that my eleven-year-old daughter has enjoyed in the past, or would like this year!
Candy and gum is always a hit with this age group. Stock up on her favorites so she can share with her friends!
Hair Accessories – My daughter has long hair and enjoys wearing braids and pony tails. She is always in need of hair ties. We found this set at Justice that includes matching colored bobby pins. Claire’s and other accessory stores sell all kinds of fun hair accessories too.
Jewelry – Jewelry is always a great idea for tweens and I don’t think you can ever go wrong with earrings (if her ears are pierced), necklaces or rings.
Lip Balm/Chapstick – As much as my daughter would like to wear makeup, I think that she’s too young. Since she can’t wear lipstick she loves lip balm. Her current faves include Lipsmackers and eos. They come in a variety of flavors and shades.
Nail Polish – Just as with lip balm, a tween girl can never have too much nail polish! Tweens love fun colors and designs. Nail files also make great stocking stuffers.
USEFUL: Portable Power Bank – Although my tween doesn’t have a cell phone, she does enjoy using her Ipod….A LOT. It’s always in need of charging and with a power bank she can charge it while out.
School Supplies – Even though school started several months ago, kids are always in need of pencils, pens and other school supplies. Holidays are a great time to replenish their pens, pencils, post-its and more. She will love it if you get fun, designed supplies.
JUST FOR FUN:
Bath Bombs – Tween girls are obsessed with bath bombs! This bath fizzers look like a lot of fun. As it dissolves the user will find a small surprise inside. It could be a small toy, a key chain, charm or more.
Phone/Ipod cases – This is another item that girls never seem to have enough of. My daughter is always changing out her Ipod case. There are so many fun cases with quotes, designs and characters. Unicorns are big right now and my daughter would love this case.
Slime – Slime is still a hit with the tween girls. They especially enjoy making it and I know my daughter will love this Galaxy Slime starter kit.
Soft’n Slo Squishies – My daughter and her middle school friends are obsessed with Squishies. Made by Orb Toys, these are squeeze toys that rise back to their original shape, very slowly. They are stress relief toys for kids! They come in a variety of collectible shapes and sizes. The newest Squishies are Costume Cutiez, that come with swappable costumes.
What are you putting in your tween daughter’s stocking?
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Last year, I posted a Christmas book daily for “25 Days of Christmas Books.” This year, I decided to combine all of the children’s books into one post for a more useful resource. Click on the link to go to the full review. I also added some new, recently published books to the collection. Hopefully, this will help you add to your Christmas book collection or give you some new holiday reads to pick up at the library!
2. The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Dusky Rinker Illustrated by: Jake Parker Published by: Chronicle Books, October 2017 Pages: 40 Price: $16.99
From Chronicle Books: Which elf will build the coolest sleigh for the Christmas ride? SANTA will decide! When the elves discover that Santa’s sleigh is in a terrible state, they let their imaginations go wild—and soon there are sleighs of every kind, inspired by big rigs, motorcycles, zeppelins, and much more! The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and the celebrated illustrator of Michael Chabon’s The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man team up for spirited vehicular silliness and classic Christmas cheer in this turbo-charged read-aloud destined to become a holiday classic.
Review: This book told in rhyme, has bright, colorful pictures. Children will enjoy seeing all of the different sleigh designs that the elves come up with. This is a fun holiday read that will entertain young readers.
Review: This board book is a companion to Cotter’s previous book, Don’t Push the Button! This is a fun, interactive book, with a Christmas twist. Children will be pushing the button, shaking the book and more.
Review: It’s Christmas Eve when elf discovers that Santa doesn’t have a present for Mrs. Claus. He finds a list on Santa’s desk and needs the reader’s help in collecting everything on it. This book takes a humorous and modern approach to the classic Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s a fun, new holiday read.
20. Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey Published by: Scholastic, September 2017 Pages: 32 Price: $14.99
Review: This is the fourth book in the Pig the Pug series. Pig is a bit greedy when writing his Christmas list. He stays up waiting for Santa’s arrival. Unhappy with the amount of presents he receives, Pig shows his displeasure by biting Santa. While this book touches upon holiday greed, Pig doesn’t really learn a true lesson. If your child is a fan of Pig the Pug they will enjoy this book. Otherwise, there are better holiday reads out there.
23. The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen Published by: Paula Wiseman Books (Simon Schuster), September 2017 Pages: 32 Price: $15.99
Review: A little girl befriends a lost reindeer on Christmas eve. The two go off on a magical adventure, but the reindeer must return to Santa. The illustrations are in black and white with pops of bright red color and cutouts on several of the pages. This is a sweet, enchanting Christmas story.
Every year dozens of Christmas-themed pictured books are published. Fortunately, this year, we have been able to read several of these books. Here is a summary of the most recently published Christmas books that we have read. There is almost two weeks until Christmas, which leaves plenty of reading time! You can find most of these books at Barnes & Noble, your local bookstore or the library!
All books are linked to Goodreads.
The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Christmas in New York City! by Lisa Manzione – Bella and Harry are Chihuahuas who are visiting New York City with their human family. The two wander the streets of New York City taking in all the sights at Christmas time. Since we live close to New York City we are very familiar with all of the places mentioned in the book. The book aims to be educational, but it seemed very forced to us. I didn’t realize that there’s a whole series of Bella and Harry books that describe their different travels around the world. I’m not so sure that we’re interested in checking out these other books.
The Best Parts of Christmas by Bethanie Denney Murguia – For Fritz, the best part of Christmas is the tree. From picking out the perfect tree, decorating it and opening presents by it, Fritz loves his tree. So he is sad when Christmas is over and he needs to say goodbye to his tree. But, he comes up with a solution that makes him happy. This is a short, simple story.
Cork & Fuzz: Merry Merry Holly Holly by Dori Chaconas – This was our first Cork & Fuzz book, but it appears that there is a series of books by Chaconas that feature the duo. Cork, the muskrat and Fuzz, the possum search for a good thinking tree. Cork knows that today is special but can’t remember why. If only he could find a “piece of quiet.” With Fuzz’s help, the two eventually find the perfect tree. This book doesn’t really place a big emphasis on Christmas, besides the “Merry Merry Holly Holly” and focuses more on friendship.
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein written by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer – This picture book is co-written by actress Amanda Peet. In this story, Rachel Rosenstein loves everything about Christmas…..except that she’s Jewish. This year, she writes a letter to Santa, leaves him latkes with chocolate chips and decorates the house in hopes that he will come to her house. Rachel eventually accepts that the fact that she is Jewish and that not everyone celebrates Christmas.
The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas by Laura Murray – This is the third and newest Gingerbread Man book by Murray. Told in rhyme, this book follows the Gingerbread Man and his classmates as they deliver acts of kindness to community members. When the class heads back, Gingerbread Man has one last gift to deliver. Very cute story that highlights free “gifts” that children can give at Christmas.
How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan – Ever wonder how to catch Santa? Well, this book give s a detailed description on how to do just that. Filled with colorful illustrations, this is a fun Christmas read.
The Knights Before Christmas by Joan Holub – This is a fun, medieval take on the classic story The Night Before Christmas. The knights are protecting the castle from an intruder, Santa Claus. He arrives on eight dragons trying to bring presents to the castle, but will he be successful?
Merry Christmas Mr. Mouse by Caralyn Buehner & Mark Buehner – The wife/husband author and illustrator team of this picture book are also the creators of the Snowmen at Night book. In this story told in rhyme, Mr. Mouse moves his family into a new nook where he sees a family preparing for and celebrating Christmas. When he tells Mrs. Mouse what he overhears about a holiday called Christmas, the two decide to celebrate with their family too. This was a cute story that we enjoyed.
Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano – Only after reading this book and the author bio did we discover that Manzano plays Maria on Sesame Street. This story takes place on Christmas eve, where the roast Jose’s mami is preparing doesn’t fit in their oven. Jose and his dad bring it down to the pizzeria to cook it in one of the ovens there. On their way, they pass many neighbors, none who seem in the Christmas spirit. On their way back, the wonderful smelling roast seems to uplift everyone’s spirits. This is a super colorful book that showcases how a diverse group of neighbors come together to celebrate the holiday.
The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Amanda Brack – This is the classic telling of The Night Before Christmas, illustrated using LEGO bricks. While we are LEGO fans, we thought the LEGO brick illustrations were just okay.
Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas by Rubin Pingk – It’s Christmas eve and Yukio wants to have an epic snowball fight. The other ninjas refuse, not wanting to be on Santa’s naughty list. So, Yukio schemes to get the snowball fight that he wants, but has he ruined Christmas for his friends? This was definitely a different type of Christmas book. It wasn’t one of our favorites, but will appease any ninja lovers out there.
When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Genevieve Godbout – This picture book describes what Santa was like as a baby and how his parents knew he was destined for great things. The illustrations have a “classic” feel to them and beware, there are several pictures of baby Santa’s behind, which of course cracked the kids up!