NOTE: Please be very careful to remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas! If all of the girls in your troop are of one faith, you could go ahead and do the typical crafts, holiday caroling, etc. However, it is much better to remember that Girl Scouting is not a Christian organization, and that we want to be inclusive to girls of all faiths. As such, this might be a perfect opportunity to learn about other faiths by doing activities such as Hanukah dreidels, something related to Kwanzaa, etc.

Take part in a service project benefiting others, such as a food drive, or gift-giving to those less fortunate.

Have a cookie exchange.

Decorate cookies or cakes to donate or keep.

Make gingerbread houses with graham crackers and small milk cartons.

Make angel dolls. Cut white material approx. 8”x15”. Satiny material looks great. Fold down 1/3 and stuff a ball of stuffing for head, tie with attractive cord. Add a second piece of material approx. 4”x12”, tie around shoulders with a criss cross in front for wings. Add doll hair, use markers for faces, make a halo with star garland.

Make sock snowmen: Take one boys’ tube sock, turned inside out (so you have the fleecy side out). Stuff with three balls of polyester stuffing (largest at bottom, smallest on top for head.)  Turn down cuff of sock - stripes form hat. Decorate with black pom-poms for face and buttons, and a skinny triangle of orange felt for nose. Glue with tacky glue or glue guns (be careful!).  Tie ribbon around neck. Sing Frosty the Snowman.

Take an outdoor hike, especially in the rain. Notice all the changes taking place (bare trees, etc.)  Be sure to take along a trash bag to pick up any trash you find! If everybody doesn’t have a raincoat, cut holes in large trash bags for arms and heads. Jump in puddles. Find a rainbow.

Make rain pictures. Put a piece of paper down on the ground, weighted down on the edges so it won’t blow away. Sprinkle some dry tempera paint on the paper. Let rain sprinkle on the paper.  Look to see what designs were made!

Make homemade rain. Put a spoon or ladle into the freezer to cool it. When the spoon is ice cold, turn on the kettle. (Don’t take the spoon out of the freezer until the water boils.) As the water in the kettle heats up, it turns into steam. Most people think the white vapor coming from the kettle is steam, but it’s not. Real steam is invisible. If you look carefully - but not too closely - at the spout, you’ll see a space between the kettle spout and where the white vapor starts. In that space is steam. As steam meets the air outside the kettle, it cools and becomes water vapor which is visible as a white cloud. When the water is boiling, hold the cold spoon in the white vapor coming from the kettle’s spout. Presto! In a few seconds it’ll be “raining” in your kitchen. How does it work? Your cold spoon suddenly cools the water vapor that’s coming out of the kettle spout, making it condense into water and fall to the floor as “rain.” Real rain is made in much the same way as homemade rain, but more gradually. Instead of a stove, there is the sun, which warms water in Earth’s rivers, lakes, oceans, and even puddles. Fortunately for fish, frogs, and swimmers, not enough of the sun’s heat reaches the Earth to make the water boil, but it is warm enough to allow tiny molecules of water to escape and rise into the sky. This is called “evaporation.” As the water-bearing warm air rises, it cools, and a cloud of water vapor forms, just like the cloud of water vapor formed when you boiled the kettle of water. Cold air can’t hold as much water as warm air, so when the air gets too cool to hold all the water vapor in it, some of the water falls back to earth as rain or snow. Then the cycle begins all over again.

Brrrrrr! Now make some hot chocolate with the boiled water and some instant cocoa mix!

If appropriate, attend a holiday show, play, or ballet. There are lots of deals for youth groups!

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is celebrated which commemorates the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the desecration by the Syrian King Antiochus. The eight-branched Menorah is lit, one candle each night, to celebrate the miracle of one day’s oil that lasted eight. There are gifts for children. Play the dreidel game and eat potato latkes with applesauce.

Play with your food! On December 23, the Festival of the Radishes is celebrated in Mexico. Giant radishes are carved into figures of people and animals. Prizes are awarded. Practice knife safety and carve a few radishes, too. Perhaps you can even practice making beautiful garnishes for food during all the holidays of the season. Practice some fancy folds of napkins.

Decorate cookies. You could do it the regular way with colored frosting, or try one of these ideas: Cookie Paints-prepare plain sugar cookies and place on cookie sheets as directed. Place 2 tablespoons evaporated milk in each of four custard cups. Add up to five drops of food color to each cup, mix well. Paint mixture on unbaked cookies. Bake cookies as directed in recipe. OR: Potato Printing- Prepare cookie dough as directed, placed on cookie sheets. Cut medium-sized raw potato in half crosswise. Using small cookie or canapé cutter, push cutter into cut side of potato 1/4” to 1/2” deep. Using knife, trim potato away from outside of cutter; remove cutter.
Repeat to make another design on remaining potato half. Place 1 tablespoon evaporated milk on small plate. Add several drops of desired food color, mix well. Place potato, design side down, in evaporated milk mixture. Print design on unbaked cookie. If necessary, evenly distribute evaporated milk mixture over design. Repeat process to imprint remaining cookies. Occasionally blot potato on paper towels. Bake cookies as directed in recipe.

Make a toy: you could make a tic-tac-toe game with cardboard and felt markers. Another simple toy that you could make is a variation on the ball and cup toy: Take a 1/2” wooden dowel and cut 9”-10” long. Next cut a piece of heavy twine or string about 12”-14” long and nail it to the top of the dowel. Tie a washer that has a hole larger than 1/2 to the end of the string and try to get the washer on the dowel by swinging the string up and over. Or you could try to find a small metal cup to nail to the dowel with the string between it and the cup and put a large bead on the end of the string.

Play Cat’s Cradle or make “spinners”. Spinners are a loop of heavy string or yarn with a large button. You wind it up, and then pull on the ends to keep it spinning.

Make star wrapping paper for Christmas or Hanukkah: take a used plastic-foam plate or fast food carton. Cut a 3”x3” piece of the foam. Trace a star onto the square. Cut out the star. Go over the pencil lines on the star pattern using a heavier stroke. Make dots in the foam with a dull pencil in a pattern coming out from the middle. This will make indentations in the foam. Glue the star to an empty thread spool and this will make the stamp. Use paint and stamp with paint onto white or brown craft paper. Allow paper to dry.

Try some stargazing. The winter sky is beautiful. Or, go to a planetarium or observatory.