KIDS can be quite a handful as the excitement builds in the run-up to Christmas.
Keeping them occupied while you work, shop for gifts and prepare for the big day can ramp up the stress for Mum and Dad.
But fret not. Here are some cheap and cheerful ideas to help out . . .
Bake off: Sugar cookies are super-easy to make and the kids will love them. All you need is plain four, caster sugar, one egg and unsalted butter. You can add a drop of vanilla extract if you fancy.
To make them festive, you need several cookie cutters — a set of six from Matalan costs £5 but you can get nine for £1.99 at fabfinds.co.uk. And don’t forget about the icing sugar, which is £1 at Asda.
Get crafty: As a kid I loved making snowflake decorations and colourful chains from paper. If you can’t fit any more decorations in the house, knock up a handmade Christmas card instead.
Encourage the kids to make your neighbours a letter filled with love and cheer. Currently you can pick up a box of 26 Sharpie Lion pens for £10, down from £23 at Tesco.
Festive flicks: Nothing beats hunkering down to binge-watch Christmas movies on the sofa . . . but don’t forget the snacks.
Why not make your own popcorn? The American Originals popcorn maker is £19.99 at Argos but I found the Global Gourmet popcorn maker at dunelm.com for £14. The kids will love watching the kernels pop.
Puzzle me this: I like the mini Christmas two-in-one jigsaw puzzle from Marks & Spencer for £4 . . . but I also like the Christmas Puzzle Pad from The Works. It has more than 100 puzzles for £4, reduced from £6.99 — enough to keep the kids busy for a few hours.
Deal of day
BUY a bag of McCain roasties, Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puds, honey glazed parsnips and a mint Viennetta log, plus a tub of Carte D’Or vanilla ice cream all for a fiver at The Co-op.
GET a litre bottle of Schweppes slimline tonic for £1 instead of £1.50 when you scan your Clubcard at the Tesco checkout.