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Christmas Eve Santa Ideas for Kids: Treats for St. Nick and the Reindeer

For young kids, playing and imagining are part of their everyday life. Life is full of stories and fairy tales that they love to act out. And play and fantasy worlds are good for them too. According to Carolyn Saarni, PhD, a developmental psychologist, “Play is central to cognitive development” and a good imagination is “crucial for very young children.” Christmas time stories of Santa and his reindeer provide seasonal stories for young kids to add to their play. And making treats for Santa and his reindeer with the kids gives adults the chance to relive magical childhood fairy tales and join in the fun. Of course, you can leave a cookie for Santa, but these easy Christmas Eve Santa ideas for kids to make will encourage your child to be creative and offer some healthy choices for St. Nick and his crew.

Treat Ideas for Santa to Leave Out on Christmas Eve:

  • Turkey sandwich – Use all that leftover turkey and balance out Santa’s blood sugar from all the cookies.
  • Pieces of fruits and veggies
  • Rice Crispy treats – Your kids can decorate them with frosting to make them special for Santa. Who doesn’t love Rice Crispy treats?
  • Nuts – Crack the nuts first. Santa does not have time to crack nuts.
  • Your child’s favorite food
  • Popcorn or trail mix – Either put some on the plate for Santa, or wrap some popcorn up in a bag for him to take on his trip. The reindeer will probably like this treat too.
  • Hot cocoa
  • Coffee – Make sure Santa stays awake and delivers all the toys.

treats for reindeerReindeer Snacks

Hay – That is after all their usual food. If you don’t happen to have a barn full of hay, you can head to the pet store and pick up a small bag of alfalfa hay sold for rabbits and guinea pigs. Amazon sells bags of alfalfa hay too.

Apples, carrots, or some of Santa’s nuts and popcorn

Instead of bowls you can put the treats for the reindeer in this muslin sack to leave for Santa to quickly grab and take with him.

Magical Treats for Santa and His Reindeer

Instead of leaving out real food, let your child be creative and make his or her own version of magical treats for Santa and his crew.

Magical ingredients might include:

  • Dried foods, such as nuts or fruit, and oats
  • Dry spices such as cinnamon
  • Magical ingredients, such as craft glitter and sequins

Mix all the ingredients together and then put the magical treat mixture into 13 different bags, one for Santa and one for each reindeer. Together you can even put a nametag on each bag to ensure they all get one.

santa plate and mug setPresentation

Make the snacks for Santa and his reindeer inviting. Use a special holiday plate for Santa and red bowls for the reindeer. If you don’t have holiday plates or food bowls for the visiting hoof stock, then tie a red bow around the bowls and Santa’s cup. For the reindeer, you can also spread the food out on the lawn.

Set Santa’s treats up by the best chair in the living room so he can relax during his few-second break.

Tips for Parents (Not for Children’s’ Eyes)

If you have a dog known to be a messy eater, have the dog eat the reindeer food (except the hay of course). Messy eating dogs will leave chunks and crumbs behind to give the kids evidence that the food was in fact, eaten by flying reindeer. If you don’t have such a dog, then leave behind some small pieces and hay flakes. After all, the reindeer are in a hurry and do not have time to eat every crumb.

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