5 Easy Tips For Low Waste Christmas Cookies

Looking to make special Christmas cookies this year while also limiting waste? Try these mini Christmas cookies that are great for kids (and adults too, of course!). Read on for more tips to make low waste Christmas cookies this year.

School is weird right now. Social plans are few and far between. Youth sports are bonkers and on the verge of shutting down at any given moment. The funk of life just keeps on coming these days.

So… sugar to the rescue, right?! Ok. Maybe that’s not what the doctor orders, but it’s what we ordered last week. And if I’m being honest, we crushed the holiday cooking game. 

Inspired by holiday cookie cutters we snagged from our local Buy Nothing group, I pulled up a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction for Christmas sugar cookies. Her recipes are rocking, and I love that she includes so many precise details to help us get the recipes right.

We decided to make a mix of full size cookies and mini holiday cookies. We passed along most of the full size cookies to a friend who needed some cheering up. 

The mini holiday sugar cookies are perfect for the boys. Their little hands, little mouths, and little bodies don’t need full size cookies. Let’s be honest, I probably don’t either. 

After gathering up the ingredients, we proceeded to make a couple dozen mini holiday cookies and a giant mess in the kitchen. “Baking with kids” and “mess” in the same sentence probably doesn’t surprise you.

I know some people go crazy just thinking about the mess of baking with kids, but it doesn’t really bother me. That I’m a pretty messy baker myself probably helps me embrace it. However, if the thought of baking with kids gives you the chills, give it a second chance. I’ve shared a bunch of my tips for baking with kids in the past, including my very favorite tip for baking with kids

In all my writing on baking with kids, it seems I missed a really helpful tip though. And that is… when you’re baking with kids, especially baking little holiday cookies covered in icing sprinkles, find someone else to do all the dishes! Lesson learned… because our kitchen after these mini Christmas sugar cookies was a disaster.

5 Tips For Low Waste Christmas Cookies With Kids

Our mini holiday cookie adventure wasn’t a perfectly zero waste endeavor, but it did have some pretty sweet elements of eco-friendly family living. If you want to make mini holiday cookies at your house, here are a few tips to make those nuggets of deliciousness a little more delightful for the environment.

Make Cookies The Right Portion Size

We waste so much food in our country and in the world. Nearly 40% of food is wasted somewhere along the supply chain. Poor portion control is one reason for such food waste.

As you set out to make mini holiday sugar cookies with kids, don’t feel obligated to make a giant batch of a bajillion cookies. Not only will you likely waste ingredients, but the kids will probably lose interest before decorating all those cookies. Very few of us need more than one or two sugar cookies to satisfy the holiday sweets craving.

Save yourself time, money, and resources by being mindful about how many holiday sugar cookies you bake and the amount of icing you whip up to decorate your cute creations. You can always cut a recipe in half if you think it makes too many servings for your needs.

Use Secondhand or Borrowed Cookie Cutter

If you already have cookie cutters, by all means use the heck out of them. If you do not own mini holiday cookie cutters, consider borrowing them from a friend, neighbor, or even requesting them in your local Buy Nothing group. You might even be able to find them on Facebook Marketplace.

Mini holiday cookie cutters may seem like a unique request that only Amazon can fulfill. But I challenge you to do a bit of research and harness a pinch of patience. I bet you can find them nearby without ordering new ones for yourself. I’m always amazed at the unusual items gifted and received through my local Buy Nothing group. You’ve heard it a million times but it’s all too true:  you never know unless you ask.

Choose Repurposed Icing Tools

Get creative and use baking tools that work for kids, even if you don’t have all the fancy gear. The most eco-friendly baking tools are the ones you already have. 

We didn’t have icing tips or bottles, nor did we have enough small bowls for all the icing colors the boys wanted to use. We put some of the icing in small, plastic containers originally used for play dough. Take out containers for condiments ans sauces could have worked well for this too.

Then we used plastic syringes from kids’ medicine bottles to pipe the icing onto the cookies. I saved several of these plastic syringes and almost tossed them out a few months ago. I had no idea how I would use them. I’m glad I held on to them because they were the perfect tool for kids to ice holiday cookies.

Select Low Waste Baking Ingredients

You might be wondering what the heck low waste baking ingredients are. After all, isn’t flour flour? I’ve created a Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Baking where I’ve highlighted lots of ways to procure ingredients that generate less waste relative to conventional alternatives or are generally better for the environment.

Simple switches with respect to how we purchase baking ingredients and what we choose to buy can greatly reduce the waste left in the wake of our sweet tooth. For example, we can buy eggs in a paper board carton instead of a plastic carton. Sugar often comes in paper or plastic. Many ingredients are available in bulk, especially holiday decorations around the holiday season.  Where you can, opt for ingredients that come in recyclable or compostable packaging (or no packaging at all, if that an option).

Freeze Leftover Mini Christmas Cookies

In my opinion, sugar cookies don’t have a very long shelf life. Freshly iced sugar cookies are delicious, but after a couple of days they lose their lust. If you don’t plan to eat all of your mini holiday sugar cookies, freeze some of them in an airtight bag or container. Pull out a few cookies every once in awhile to enjoy with your kiddos and reminisce about the very messy kitchen these sugar cookies commanded (or maybe that was just our kitchen…).

If You Like Low Waste Christmas Cookies With Kids, You Might Also Like

5 Beginner Zero Waste Ideas You Can Definitely Dominate

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Make Kids Cooking Fun With Raddish Kids Cooking Club

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