It’s that time of year again! To celebrate the countdown to Christmas, we challenged a selection of bloggers to get creative and share with us their Christmas craft ideas and festive recipes to add to our Christmas Advent Calendar. Here are a selection that will help you and your family get into the holiday spirit. If you would like to share with us your festive crafts or recipes, you can do so on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #24DaysOfWren
Frosty the Fridge Snowman
Who says that poor Frosty should be resigned to the garden? Bring him into the kitchen where he can transform your fridge or dishwasher into a festive centrepiece that’s guaranteed to melt the hearts of children and adults alike.
You can create his eyes, nose, mouth, hat, scarf and buttons easily using stickers or card purchased from your local craft store. You can also cheat, however, and pick up Frosty and Friends personalised stickers in a number of different sizes and colours from the Personalised Gift Shop.
Festive wine bottles
Recycle your empty wine bottles and give them a festive makeover, using Christmas lights, frost spray and glitter. They can be styled to suit any kitchen colour scheme, and will look great on the dining table and on window sills. Here’s how to make them:
- Wash out your wine bottle and leave to dry
- Lubricate your drill head with cooking oil, and wearing protective gloves and goggles, carefully drill a hole in the back of the bottle near the bottom. Be sure to hold the bottle in place with your other hand, whilst not applying too much pressure on the drill
- Spray the outside of the bottle with two or three layers of frosting spray and leave to dry
- String the Christmas lights through the hole so that they fill the bottle, leaving enough wire for the plug to reach the socket
- Next, get creative and customise your bottle with glitter, tinsel, gift tags or anything else that takes your fancy!
This delicious festive popcorn recipe works well all-year-round, but tastes best when cosied up by the fire for a Christmas movie marathon! A sugar-fiend’s delight, this isn’t for those watching their waistline, but then who does that over the holidays anyway?!
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees
- Place two bags of popped corn onto a greased roasting pan and sprinkle evenly with a cup of plain almonds and pecans
- Mix together ½ a cup of corn syrup, ½ a cup of butter, a tsp of salt, a tsp of cinnamon and a cup of brown sugar in a saucepan, and bring to the boil at medium temperature. Once bubbling, stir constantly for five minutes
- Remove from the heat, and stir in ½ a tsp of vanilla extract and ½ a tsp of baking soda
- Pour the mixture over the popped corn and nuts, and place in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes
- Remove from the oven and place onto trays covered with greaseproof paper and leave to cool
- Select your favourite Christmas movie, serve up and enjoy!
This lightly-spiced take on the classic tipple is so good, it will delight gin lovers and may even convert a few sceptics too. Paying tribute to the juniper berry – which gives gin its unique flavour – the addition of pink peppercorns and cinnamon wrap this up into a perfectly festive treat.
Best served in an oversized goblet, here’s how to make this simply divine drink:
- Fill a medium-sized goblet with crushed ice
- Pour in a shot of Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin
- Pour in some premium quality Indian tonic water
- Garnish with a handful of juniper berries and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns
- Finish off with a cinnamon stick
- Sip, enjoy and drink wisely!
Give the designated drivers, non-drinkers and kids something to quench their thirst with this winter, by offering them a warming glass of mulled apple juice. It’s so simple to make, here’s how:
- Heat your apple juice in a pan with some slithers of orange peel, a cinnamon stick and a handful of cloves
- Keep the mixture simmering on a low heat for about 10 minutes
- Now the flavours have all fused and your kitchen is filled with a delightfully Christmassy aroma, add some brown sugar and/or a trickle of honey to sweeten
- Garnish with star anise
- Serve up and watch them come back for more!
If the thought of a traditional Christmas turkey isn’t going to cut the mustard in your household, why not try a delicious roast duck instead? This flavoursome bird is incredibly versatile, and goes perfectly with sweet, festive flavours, such as cranberry and orange.
Any leftovers can be devoured on Boxing Day with some hoi-sin sauce, served with some cucumber and spring onion strips, in a wrap, which makes a nice change from turkey and stuffing sandwiches. Blow your dinner guests away with this mouth-watering recipe over at the Gressingham Duck site.
Sprouts with chestnuts and crispy prosciutto
Considered to be the definitive Marmite veg of the festive season, the humble sprout certainly has the power to divide. This twist on a Christmas classic is undeniably tasty and easy to make:
- Score your chestnuts with a sharp knife and bake in a preheated oven at 200c for 30 mins
- Fry your prosciutto in oil until crisp, then set aside on some kitchen paper
- Boil or steam your Brussel sprouts for approx. eight minutes and drain
- Add some salted butter to a hot pan and once melted, add the sprouts and season with salt and pepper
- After a couple of minutes, pour the sprouts into a serving bowl and garnish with the chestnuts and prosciutto before serving.
Give Rudolph and co. a chocolatey makeover with this simple yet effective Christmas treat; it’s so easy, it really is child’s play, and requires only a handful of ingredients. Here’s how it’s done:
- Melt a bar of milk chocolate in a pan
- Skewer a large marshmallow with a lollipop stick and dip into the melted chocolate until completely covered
- For the antlers, carefully break a large, plain pretzel in half and place on top of the head at either side, then quickly place in the fridge, allowing it to stick in place as the chocolate sets
- After approximately 10 minutes, remove from the fridge and use some white icing sugar to create the eyes, and then some red icing sugar to create the nose
- For his scarf, tie a strawberry ribbon around the top of the stick, below the head
- Serve this divine snack with a cup of hot chocolate
Guilt-free roasted almonds
Whilst supermarket Christmas nuts can be incredibly moreish, they tend to be laced with sugar and fat. This homemade alternative is not only fast and simple to make, but packs far less calories than its shop-bought counterparts. Here’s how it’s done:
- Place a medium bag of almonds in a large bowl and coat with low calorie cooking spray
- Dust and coat the nuts with two tsp of ground cinnamon and two tsp of powdered sweetener
- Transfer to a baking tray covered with tin foil
- Roast for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 220c
- Remove from oven, allow to cool and enjoy!
Traditional Christmas pudding has long been a festive family favourite, however, it’s something of an acquired taste and doesn’t always go down well with the kids.
This ingenious recipe is nothing more than a twist on chocolate rice crispy buns, but it’s a real crowd-pleaser and will have adults and children alike coming back for more!
- Melt a medium-sized bar of milk chocolate in a pan at medium heat
- Remove from the heat and quickly add four cups of Rice Crispies, shaping them into your miniature puddings
- Put to one side and allow to set for 10 minutes
- Next, melt a small bar of white chocolate in a medium heat pan
- Carefully spoon the mixture on top of the puddings
- Top each pudding off with a red Smartie or M&M
- Allow the puddings to set for up to 10 minutes, then enjoy!