Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make

Three years ago I tried to realign my kids' view of Christmas from receiving to giving by encouraging them to make gifts. After they made a list of recipients I helped them come up with ideas and gave them five dollars for supplies. It was successful enough to have become tradition. Here are some of our favorites:

13. Covers and cases. Almost everyone has collections, toys or gadgets that they use regularly that can benefit from a case or cover. The kids have sewn felt squares together to make a cases for digital cameras, laptops, Lillian's Fashion Pollys, or the boys' laser tags equipment. I think Martha copied her idea here from me. It's a good thing for them to make because 1. it gets them thinking about the other person's likes/hobbies and 2. sewing is a good skill to practice.

12. Flower pots. Paint terra cotta pots or cover them with tiny pieces of tiles, buttons and pieces of glass to make a mosaic. Beautiful and useful.

11. Books on tape. For a good gift for siblings, have older children tape record themselves reading a picture book. They can also make up a book, draw their own illustrations and have it spiral bound if they're feeling ambitious.

10. Coloring/activity/puzzle books. Download coloring pages, puzzles and activities off of the Internet, have children make a cover and have it bound for a sweet gift for younger children.

9. Beaded bracelets/ear rings. Wire, clasps, needle-nose pliers and beads are all that's needed to make beautiful homemade jewelry. Grace and I made a bunch during a girls' night while Andrew was gone on business. Children could also make their own beads using Sculpey polymer clay, poking through with a needle and then baking according to directions.

8. Felt Slippers. Another great idea from Queen Martha, the link with the directions is here.

7. Fleece hat/scarf. Requiring only a small amount of fleece and a minimal amount of sewing, it's a practical gift that doesn't gather dust in the back of the closet. Here's the link for the directions.

6. Painted T-shirts or book bags. Decorate a plain T-shirt with puffy fabric paints for the cool aunts and uncles on the shopping lists. Book bags, though expensive to buy at craft stores, can be made inexpensively and decorated as well.

5. Chess set. Using Sculpey clay (or alternately and more cheaply, salt dough) to make the pieces. See my instructions for making a chess board here.

4. Christmas pin. Once again, Sculpey clay to the rescue with a simple holiday candy cane pin. If kids can make a playdough snake, they can make this. And it's something you could actually wear.

3. Soaps. Glycerin soaps are elegant and easy for children to make with a little guidance. See Martha's link here.

2. Lip balm. Empty pill bottles purchased from Wal-Mart in the travel-sized toiletries section can be filled with home made lip balm from this recipe:

2 T grated beeswax
1 1/2 t coconut oil (add 1 more teaspoon if the solution is too stiff for your liking)
Contents of one vitamin E capsule
3-4 drops of coconut, peppermint, or pineapple extract

Melt together beeswax and coconut oil gently over low heat. Stir well. Add vitamin E. Add flavoring. Pour into container, makes 1 1/2 ounces.

Notice to my Mom and Melanie: Stop reading at this point! Spoiler ahead! Do not click on the next link!

1. This is the greatest, most useful gift we've done yet. I can't show you a picture or tell you what it is because it's on the gift list this year and family might be reading (but you'd better not be Mom). Anyone besides my Mom and Melanie have permission to click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it.

See Family Fun Magazine and Kidley for more craft ideas for kids.

More about the Thursday Thirteen meme.

56 comments:

Tug said...

This is AWESOME!! I'm sending it on to my daughter for my grandkids.

Happy TT!!

Christie said...

These are all awesome ideas!! I LOVE the hat! How cute! I made little terra cotta pot namecard favors for Thanksgiving this year, those are so much fun! Happy tt and happy holidays, thanks for the ideas!

Andrea said...

Wonderful ideas. Mind you I haven't an artsy craftsy bone in my body, but I always appreciate people that do!

Happy TT

KaY said...

Cool list! I'm so linkin gup this post! It's so helpful.

I'm up!

suki said...

:) That is great! You get to make gifts and have family bonding time. Plus, these are some great ideas! I wish I was that creative.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

These gifts take me back to when my kids were little and I stayed home all the time. I was a regular reader of Family Fun!

Mikala said...

Well, that was a neat TT - very cool!

Happy TT!

Rashenbo said...

Awesome ideas. I really like the chess pieces and the lip balm. It's cold up here in Minnesota and my kids often need lipbalm. I think making their own would be really cool.

Thanks for the great ideas!

Elizabeth said...

Tried to comment earlier, but I think the Beta part of Google ate it!

Anyway - thanks so much for the link that your mother must not follow, and thanks for the chance to discover your wonderful blog. Lots to bookmark here!

Janet said...

You've got some great ideas here!

Kelli said...

Great list! I am going to have to forward it to some of my friends! Happy Holidays and Happy TT!

Betty said...

You amaze me Michelle!! I'm just in awe of all the wonderful things that you are teaching your children!!

wayabetty said...

I'm not sure why my site didn't come up before. The last comment is from me.

Barbara H. said...

Some wonderful ideas there!!

Jane said...

Great ideas! Family Fun Magazine is such a great resource!

Steph said...

WOW, so many useful ideas! My son is VERY creative and LOVES to make new things for everyone in the family, he'll just love most of these ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The idea is wonderful to get kids together and let them be creative !

I have to be anonymous or "other" as I am not allowed to comment on Beta Blogs ! I am still with "old" Blogger.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot : it's me Gattina
http://gattina-writercramps.blogspot.com/

bernie said...

Great ideas - I linked to you from my TT 13 Prescriptions and what Doctors really Mean

Local Girl said...

What a great use for the altoids tin. It always seems like such a waste to throw them away.

BTW, tag you're it!

Enhance Life said...

Hi,
Great post. Some creative ideas. It will keep me occupied for a while.Thank you.

Sham
http://enhancelifethinktank.blogspot.com

Enhance Life said...

Hi,
Great post. Some creative ideas. It will keep me occupied for a while.Thank you.

Sham
http://enhancelifethinktank.blogspot.com

K T Cat said...

Wow. This is one of the best TT posts ever. I just emailed it to some others.

My TT is up.

maggie said...

Great list. what wonderful ideas. I"ve made fleece hats but yours are sooo much cuter

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this awesome list! The hat is just wonderful!


Happy TT from Germany,

Sanni

P.S.: Blogger does not want me to comment using my identity today =(
If you like to visit me, please come around here... Thanks a lot!

MommaM said...

This is such a COOL LIST! And a cool site you have, too. Very inspiring, makes me think of things I can do with my boys.

And thank you for your very kind comments on the post re: my son. We are actively searching for better friends for him, for all of us, really. I know they're out there! ;)

ChaoticMom said...

Wow. Just realized my Google account is not the same as my regular Blogger account. I think that's a beta issue. Okay, signed in as myself now, good ol' Chaotic Mom. ;)

Jack's Raging Mommy said...

I just wanted to promis to never again complain about the cold in your presence :)

Prahagirl said...

You've been tagged--see my post for today :)

Anonymous said...

Cool ideas -- I'm printing out your list and saving it.

Wacky Mommy said...

Whoops. I didn't mean to leave that anon!

Darla said...

What great ideas! And the handmade gifts are always the most special.

Barbara said...

These are great ideas for children.

Come visit my TT

Kim said...

What great ideas! I especially love the hat.

Suni said...

I read Family Fun magazine, too. This is a great list...an extension on one of my own ideas for TT. Mine is up btw :D

me

Mrs. Fantasy said...

I'm totally stealing the books on tape and custom t-shirt ideas. My little sprout is only 15 months but someday, I want those gifts from him! Total keepers!

sweatpantsmom said...

These are all great ideas. I especially love the flowerpot - so simple but beautiful. My kids are out of school next week so I may even attempt some of these, if I can get them to put their game controllers down.

Definitely bookmarking this page.

Mona said...

I love the books on tape idea. When my seven-month-old starts saying real words other than "mamamamamama," I'll definitely grab the video camera and tape recorder.

Jules said...

What fun ideas. I think homemade Christmas presents are the best.

N. Mallory said...

I may have to make the terra cotta pot for myself. How cute!

Blondie said...

Very clever ideas. I will make them even though I'm not a child!! (at least I hope I'm not) ;)

Catherine said...

Seriously, this is the most useful blog post I have read all season. I, too, love the idea of homemade gifts, but totally lack in the creativity department. Thank you thank you thank you!

Pass the Torch said...

This is a fantastic list. Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

Christine said...

Handmade gifts are always special gifts to give. My oldest would love to make the bracelets, and my son is checking out the checkers board below, he thinks that's really cool!
Thanks for sharing all these wonderful ideas!

www.arewethereyetmom.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

Fantastic list!! Thanks! I can't wait until my girlies are old enough to get all crafty with me. For now, we stick to crayons.

Andie D. said...

WOW!

These are some fantastic craft ideas! And I've been looking for ways to get my kids more into the spirit of giving. Thank you!

amy said...

What a really neat list

Skittles said...

Great ideas!!!!

I'm here from Blogging Chicks.

Amy said...

Fantastic list, Michelle! I love it! Thanks for the much-needed inspiration!

Karmyn R said...

Oh - some great ideas, particularly the clay modeling and flower pots. Easy things for my 3 and 5 year old to do together! (no sewing required with those).

Here from BC Carnival

CyberCelt said...

What a great contribution to the BC carnival. Now, I feel bad that I just posted what amounts to a Christmas card.

Does the lip balm keep? These are all great ideas.

scribbit said...

It keeps as well as anything containing oils, which do go rancid quicker than some things.

Happy House Quilts said...

cool post...thanks for posting the link at martha!

christina said...

I think the ideas given on this post are extremely superb. My kids can surely create wonderful gifts this christmas.

Danielle said...

There are some awesome ideas listed and I love the fact that the whole family can participate in making these gifts.
So cool...

Marian Cohen said...

From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.nice post and thanks for sharing...