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Preparing for the holidays: Fun, easy recipes and DIY projects for family members of all ages

From snowman hot chocolate to designing your own "reindeer gifts", there's plenty of ways to keep your family connected, and even start some new holiday traditions.

Christmas is just around the corner, and there's plenty of easy DIY projects and recipes to help spice up your celebration, whether in-person or virtual. FOX43 spoke with Renee Patrone Rhinehart, of "Party Host Helpers," who shared some fun and delicious ways to use up your holiday dinner leftovers.

For example, if you have leftover Christmas ham this year, why not turn the extra meat into ham and cheese sliders? Health officials are advising people to have small gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, Rhinehart says these sliders are not only easy to make, but great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, they store well and can make an easy New Year's Eve appetizer.

If you're looking for something to help you warm up on a cold winter day, you can make a cup of snowman hot chocolate. Rhinehart says it's an easy, edible DIY project, and one that's great for the kids. Just take three marshmallows, and assemble them with a pretzel stick. You can use pretzel sticks for the snowman's arms and chocolate chips for the buttons. Rhinehart says food markers are an easy way to draw on the face, or you can use more of your favorite candy, like candy corn or M&M's. You can even have a hot cocoa party with your family and friends over Zoom, or use it to warm up as you social distance in someone's front yard.

If you can't be with your loved ones this holiday season, Rhinehart has a great gift idea for the adults that you can drop off at their home. Pick up a 6-pack of their favorite beer or a bottle of wine and turn it into reindeer. You can use brown pipe cleaners for the antlers, add a little red nose and eyes, and it's all ready to be delivered.

Rhinehart says these simple recipes and projects are a great way to make the holidays feel normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, you might even end up starting some new family traditions.   

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