The recipes featured here are quite simple, which makes them ideal for helpers of all skill levels and temperaments. Depending on age, a kid might measure, mix, and shape the dough, or simply decorate the cookies that you've prepared, adding a festive pinpricked message of "noel" or "joy" to shortbread dough just before it's popped into the oven, or giving plump meringue mice their ears and tails. Even the smallest bakers can offer a hand -- a cookie-size hand, that is -- as a pattern to trace onto rolled-out dough.
Wrapped and ribboned in reds, greens, and other cheery colors, these homemade goodies are quickly transformed into one of the season's most special presents. But who has the fortitude to give them all away? Warm from the oven, these baked goods are so tempting you'll want to set some aside for yourself and for all your little holiday elves as well.
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