Christmas Presents from the Kids
It’s that time again! The time of year when the scent of pine fills your living room, the sound of Christmas carols fills your ears, and your floors and tables are filled with tape, wrapping paper, and brown paper packages!
In our house, it means we increase the amount of crafting that happens by about 50%. I like to give hand made presents to as many people as possible so my knitting needles are clicking and the bobbin on my sewing machine is constantly refilled as yards of fabric and yarn wind themselves into handcrafted love for those dearest to me. My five year old daughter has caught the crafting bug too (she can’t really help with a mom like me)! On her own, she loves to work with paper, scissors, glue, and tape. She crafts these raw materials into 2D and 3D art for her family and friends. She’s begged me to teach her how to knit or crochet but I know she’s not developmentally ready for such hand to eye coordination so I’ve taught her other things like embroidery (which she loves). My sweet girl has the most giving heart. She spends hours each day at her coloring book, ripping out page after page for others, almost never keeping anything for herself. She’s always been this way, and Christmas time is a great way to let her express this love language to everyone in her circle.
Over the years we’ve found a number of different gifts for Bunny to make and give out at Christmas time. The best thing about letting her put so much time and effort into them is her reaction when she watches her loved ones open and enjoy them.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite handmade gift ideas, most of which Bunny has made and given out with success in the past:
1) Christmas Ornaments:There are so many ways to make Christmas ornaments: sharpies and plain ceramic shapes, salt dough, cinnamon dough, felt, cardstock, wood, and more. Find a method that works for you and go with it! My recent favorite handmade Christmas tree ornament is simple: buy some plain Christmas balls, smear your child’s hand with paint, and have them hold the ball in the painted hand, leaving a lovely handprint for posterity. It couldn’t be easier.
2) Jewelry:My daughter always loves making necklaces and bracelets with her pony beads. She has a large, container of them that never seems to run out and some stretchy, string. Nothing else is needed but some patience and hand to eye coordination as she strings as many or as few beads as she wants onto the piece of jewelry. I have many of these in my personal collection and wear them to work often.
3) Books:Have your child write original stories for each member of your family. My daughter isn’t quite old enough to write them on her own, so she dictates them to me. I type them up and then print them out in a booklet format and she illustrates them. I’ll staple these together, or even take them to the nearest office store and have them bound if I want to get really fancy. The best thing about it is that these are custom made!
4) Mugs:Using plain, white mugs from your local dollar store and some colored sharpies, let your child’s creativity shine on Grandma’s or Grandpa’s new coffee mug. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, and the design should set. It isn’t dishwasher safe so it should be hand washed with care. You can always go to a craft store and buy some special, ceramic markers that will be a little more permanent.
5) Framed Photos:The latest photo of your little one bordered by a frame they decorated themselves is a true treasure. Paint, stickers, or glitter glue is a great starting point for decorating these one of a kind frames.
6) Letters:For those of you who live far away from family, there is no gift quite as special as a letter from your niece, nephew, or grandchild. My daughter likes to send coloring pages and/or letters to her Aunties and Uncles who live far away. She embellishes them with drawings and stickers.
7) Handprints:Even the youngest baby can give away the gift of a handprint! Put it on a candle, a canvas, or a Christmas ornament. Cast it in plaster or clay. Trace it and embroider it on a quilt or hot pad. No matter how you do it, there’s nothing cuter than a little handprint!
8) PaperweightsHave you heard of pet rocks? They’re adorable! You paint them and then treasure them!
How about making those lovely painted rocks into paperweights? The materials are nearly free and the end result is a priceless and useful work of art given to the most doting Grandpa or a busy Aunt.
9) PlantsBuy a small, cheap flowerpot and decorate it with paint or chalk. Fill it with potting soil and plant the seeds of your favorite flower or herb. It will be a refreshing reminder not only of spring, but of your little one’s love during the cold winter months to come!
10) CookiesYou bake the dough, your child can roll it out, cut out cookies, and decorate it with icing and sprinkles. Package it up in cellophane or a pretty tin and let your friends and family enjoy the sweet, flavor of love.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year to teach your children the joy of giving (instead of just getting). There’s no lesson more palpable than having your child spend hours investing in the joy of others. I promise, it will be a lesson they will never forget.