Monday, November 18, 2013

How to create the ultimate Christmas Table for kids

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Do you hear that? A mixture of sleigh bells and exasperated sighs? That is the sound of Christmas zooming towards you. You’re gonna blink and it will be here already, so best you get cracking and start thinking of what will be happening at your place.

Having little ones around at Christmas makes it so magical. Their faces lighting up when they come running out to check if Santa has been yet (he has, he has!) has got to be one of the best sights in the world. But when it comes to getting toddlers and preschoolers to the table for Christmas lunch you might need to be a little creative to lure them away from their awesome new toys. A beautiful table fit for the pages of a magazine, whilst looking amazing, is not always practical when you have three foot tall bulldozers running around.

So here are a few ways to create a child-proof table that will encourage them to put down the new LEGO and actually have something to eat! Now, I’m no decorator or party planner (I don’t see an old pallet and immediately want to repurpose it into a table) so this is aimed at other creatively challenged folk like me!

Create an inviting table
Set up a fun kids table by heading to the BIG W Christmas aisle to check out all the cute (and budget friendly) things available. I used:
  • A plastic table cloth for easy clean up at the end of the meal - $2
  • A length of wrapping paper for colour - $2
  • Santa and Penguin drink bottles - $3 each
  • Display stand - $4
  • Brightly coloured bon bons - $5 for 12
  • Gingerbread house kit centrepiece - $10 
  • Goodie bags - see below

Goodie bags are goooooood
A few inexpensive toys and choccies in a goodie bag will go down a treat. I used:
  • Santa and Penguin goodie bags - 2 for $1
  • Pudding chocolates - $2 for 10
  • Chocolate coins - $2 for 10
  • Bubble blowers - $2 for 2
  • Candy canes - $2 for 30
  • Disney bauble - $2 each
Have a fun centrepiece
With a mile a minute three year old and a baby I won’t have too much spare time on my hands over Christmas so I’ve gone the easy (well, easier) route and bought the $10 BIG W Gingerbread House Kit for our table centrepiece. It’s great for time poor folk (and those too addicted to Candy Crush) because it comes all ready for you to put together. No baking, no templates and no cutting out shapes!

I’ve never actually made a gingerbread house before, I usually make gingerbread men, so my first attempt at the house, was, err, interesting. I asked Tricky to help and he was so excited, but ended up mostly wanting to watch and cover the place in sprinkles.

Serve some fun food
I’m all for kids having the same meal as the adults, but sometimes having a few finger foods that are just for the little ones is great.

Santa Hat Strawberries – Pipe some whipped cream on a small muffin or pikelet, pop on a strawberry, then add a blob of cream on top. Voila, Santa hats! If you don’t have a piping bag place the whipped cream in a sandwich bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner.

Santa Face Savoury Crackers – Cut salami in to hat shapes (I cut a circular slice in to quarters to save time). Pipe a dot of ricotta on to a cracker to ‘glue’ the hat on. Pipe more ricotta on to create a beard and the trim on the hat. Don’t forget the pom pom on top! Hint: if the ricotta is too thick to pipe, add a little water and stir thoroughly.

Sandwich Stars – OK so a cheese and vegemite sanga isn’t really gourmet, but if you use a star cutter then all of a sudden it’s a Christmas cheese and vegemite sandwich and thus tastes so much better.

Win $100 to spend at BIG W by telling me your top
Christmas table decorating tip below

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