1. Cookies (the Kind You Eat!)

    When you work at a place called CookiesKids.com, it’s hard not to think about cookies at least occasionally. While we don’t sell cookies (yet!), there are several self-proclaimed cookie experts around the CookiesKids.com office, including our founder, whose lifelong nickname is Cookie. Since the holidays are the best time to make and eat cookies, here’s the scoop on some of our favorites. Check out these recipes and ideas!  

    Every year around the holidays, we welcome back some seasonal cookies we forgot about, like gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies with all kinds of festive icing and decorations. These are wonderful, and if your family loves them, by all means make them. But when making holiday cookies, it’s important to keep two things in mind: longevity and moisture. Sugar and gingerbread cookies may look awesome, but they tend to dry out and harden quickly. This can be a problem if you’re trying to make cookies in advance for a holiday gathering; they’ll keep, but they won’t keep tasting good. This year try out these shortbread cookies instead. They keep for a long time, and the buttery taste is superior to both sugar and gingerbread cookies. Plus, you can decorate them just the same.    

    Moms and dads who make cookies for the holidays know that having a wide variety of bite-size cookies is a good idea. It seems like everyone who comes to your home pops them in their mouth – while they last, at least. The debate rages on as to which of these perfect popables is the best, but a perennial favorite seems to be the peanut butter blossom (above). Peanut butter and chocolate meet up on many occasions, but in cookie form they form an unstoppable bond. Pro tip: if left by a warm place, like by the fireside, the chocolate kisses get all melty – all the better.   

    Of course, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t break out the classic chocolate chip. It seems like every family has their favorite recipe. All these people on Pinterest claim theirs is the best – and it’s pretty difficult to pick a winner. But you have to factor in just what style of chocolate chip cookie you and your family (and Santa) prefers. The soft kind? The crispy kind? The thin kind with a caramelized crust on the bottom? The kind that’s 90% chocolate chunks held together with a mere 10% dough? The kind with potato chips and coffee grounds in it?

    The choice is yours. Viva la cookie!  

     

  2. Giving Never Felt So Good!

    It’s been a wonderful holiday season here at CookiesKids.com. Our warehouse was bustling, our website was filled with holiday deals, and we worked around the clock to ensure that toys and clothes got to you in time for the holidays. But this year we also did something more. As a member of the NYC community, we knew we had to do something to assist those affected by Superstorm Sandy, so we found seventy-five lucky kids whose holiday seasons had been darkened by the storm’s devastation. Then, in partnership with American Express and the Brooklyn Nets, we gave each of these kids a $250 American Express gift card to spend in our store. Players from the Nets were on the scene to take pictures, sign autographs, and offer the occasional toy-related advice. The day proved a memorable one for these kids, who pushed huge shopping carts full of toys to the register with even huger smiles on their faces. But for a young basketball fan, there’s really no toy that can compare with a high-five from Deron Williams or Kris Humphries.

    Call us sentimental, but we find that times like these make all the stress of the holidays worthwhile – the little moments of giving back. Did you or your family have the opportunity to give back to your community this holiday season? If so, we want to hear about it! Tweet us @CookiesKids or visit our blog.

    If charity might have gotten lost in the shuffle this holiday season, we have a few suggestions on how you can still make things brighter for those less fortunate around you. Vacations from school are a great time to sort through kids’ closets and your kitchen pantry. See if you can put together some lightly used clothes (especially coats) and non-perishable foods to donate to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another community organization.

    If your child receives some holiday cash from you or a relative, ask them to consider donating it to a charity of their choice. Try discussing with your family the charities and organizations you might want to support, based on your family’s unique values. Maybe there’s one organization you can all agree could use a few extra dollars for the New Year.

    Lastly, consider those in your community who might not have anyone to visit them this holiday season, like the elderly or infirm. Try to spend some time with these folks. They could probably use some extra holiday cheer.

    Charity doesn’t have to mean giving a down-on-their-luck kid a shopping spree in a toy store (though doing that was pretty fun!). It’s the littlest gestures that make the biggest difference, and they’re always twice as appreciated this time of year. Talk with your family about what giving really means to you. You might find some extra meaning in your holiday this year.

    Happy Holidays from CookiesKids.com!

     

  3. New Traditions for the Holidays

    Whether religious or secular, your family’s traditions are what make you unique – and they’re what your kids will remember most. But if you tried to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the kids last year, and they lost interest around “three French hens,” it might be time to consider some new traditions. Don’t be afraid to break with the old – traditions you create yourself can be even stronger than traditional…traditions.

    First, try getting rid of traditions that either aren’t fun or don’t make sense for your family. Write up a list of current holiday activities and ask all family members which activities should stay and which get the ax. Don’t forget to take your children’s opinions into consideration; they’ll be home on school vacation, and likely to overindulge on TV and cookies if they don’t have lots of fun activities to divert them. So give them diversions galore. The best are fun, inexpensive activities that involve the whole family. They can be as simple as a family board game – if it’s fun enough, the family will want to do it next year, too. Here are a few more ideas:  

    Ride around together on a neighborhood tour of lights and decorations – go by bike if the weather’s mild, by car if not. If your family likes to judge, make up some signs, 1-10 or A-F, to evaluate your neighbors’ festive displays. Will the Joneses beat the Smiths this year?

    If your family is not particularly religious, but looking for a way to celebrate the holiday season, the winter solstice – December 22, the longest night of the year – is an opportunity for festivities. Cultures around the globe observe the solstice in different ways, but many celebrations involve giving thanks for light. Why not celebrate with a family game of flashlight tag?

    Or, if you want to show some generosity as a family, give a present to someone who won’t be expecting one. Who should it be? The mail carrier? Arnie down at the town dump? That old woman with the cats? Whoever it is, make the gift meaningful. The same goes for your holiday traditions: only your family can decide what traditions are meaningful to them. And if you’re looking for meaningful gifts for the kids in your life, look no further than CookiesKids.com!       

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  4. Just in time for Easter: Private Holiday Sale!

    Whether shopping for Easter, Passover, Communion, Christenings, or weddings, get a great deal now on suits, dresses, shoes, and accessories:

    The deal: Receive free shipping on your holiday dress wear order of $25+

    How to redeem: Enter coupon code FSHDW in at checkout on CookiesKids.com

    Shop dress wear now: Boys // Girls

    Free shipping to the continental United States. Excludes furniture and gear. Expires 4/17/2011.