If you are on SNAP, you probably aren't looking at a lot of holiday spending money to help you buy gifts or decorate. For some, SNAP may be the only guaranteed funds for the month. Because of this, depression can easily set in. But part of living in poverty and not just surviving poverty is learning how to make the best of what you have. To that end, here are some fun things you can do with food that won't cut into your budget too heavily, especially if you are using some of the recipes here on the blog to make more homecooked meals for less.

Salt Dough: Holiday ornaments are easy to make with salt dough and you can even make some gifts out of it with a bit of creativity. Start with the basic recipe and use some of the variations after it.

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
Blend the salt and flour and add water until the dough is firm, but not so much so that it is sticky. When your crafts are done you can either cook them in the oven on low for 3-4 hours or you can microwave them for 3 minutes and if they are not done, keep microwaving in 30 second increments until they are done. Use any of the variations below or modify or come up with your own.

Fun with color: After mixing your dry ingredients, break them into small clumps. Divide your water into small portions as well. Add food coloring to water and then add the colored water to the dry ingredient mixture for different colors of salt dough.

Tree ornaments: Use cookie cutters to cut out different holiday shapes and decorate as you like. Use the tip of a pencil to put a hole in the top of the ornament so you can string a ribbon, piece of yard, or small wire through it to hang it on the tree.

Stop time: Sprinkle flour in a teaspoon. Strip the paper off of a bread tie and twist the bread tie around the tine of a fork. Slide the wire off the fork and lay it on the spoon so that only part of it is in the spoon while the larger portion is on the handle. Press dough into the spoon so that the wire tie is covered. Trim around the outside of the spoon so that no dough hangs over. Flip the spoon over and have all the children press a finger into the dough so that it leaves their fingerprints. Dry and paint for a fingerprint pendant.

You can also place a small plate face down on the rolled out dough. Trim around it and have a child press their hand into the dough. Dry and paint. (You can also use the bread tie trick and insert it in the dough to use as a hanger.) 

Gloss with eggs: To make a glossy coating on top of the item, mix egg whites and then paint them over the entire surface as a final touch.

Let's not forget the holiday favorites like stringing popcorn, baking cookies, making cookie cutter jello pieces and just about anything else you can think of to have fun with food. If you don't have food coloring, just use kool-aid packets!


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