This Christmas season, surprise loved ones with gifts made by you and your kids. Making homemade Christmas gifts together as a family is a fantastic way to have bonding time during the busiest time of year, encourage imagination, and spread holiday spirit. It also teaches kids that homemade, thoughtful gifts can be just as cherished as store bought ones. The following gift ideas are easy, inexpensive, and practical. Use these tips for the best homemade gift to make with your kids.
People and dogs are not the only ones who can wear festive Christmas sweaters. Make adorable "sweaters" for portable paper and metal coffee containers using knit socks and easy decorations. You'll need bright cotton socks, fabric glue, buttons, and felt. To make these warmers, cut across the toes and heel part of the sock to get a 4-inch tubular piece. Let your kids decorate the socks with felt cut-outs of stars, snowflakes, and other Christmas designs. They can glue on beads, ribbons, and buttons. Recipients will love the colorful addition to their coffee drink, and it will be a great conversation starter.
Homemade cookie baskets make excellent gifts for teachers, neighbors, and relatives. Depending on the age of your children, the only work you may have to do is general supervision. While younger kids may be limited to just decorating the cookies out of the oven, older ones can take on various steps, like measuring out ingredients, stirring, rolling out dough, and using cookie cutters. For fun decorating ideas, let kids adorn the sweet treats with colored candies, like red hots, M&Ms, gummy bears, or crushed peppermints. If you make a batch of shortbread, have your kids use pins to spell out special messages like "Peace on Earth" or "Happy Holidays." To present the cookies, put them into boxes lined with tissue paper or inexpensive baskets, and throw in a box of peppermint tea.
Children's art is colorful, fun, and creative. Encourage your kids to create a picture inspired by what Christmas means to them, and gift it to a loved one in a unique way. These days, arts and craft stores sell adhesive paper that can be decorated and then ironed on certain fabrics. The gift possibilities include tote bags, pillow cases, eyeglass cases, aprons, and t-shirts. Simply have your kids draw on the transfer paper and then follow the manufacturer directions for applying it.
Another practical gift idea is ironed-on monogrammed letters. Rather than making their own art, children can decorate a large letter printed off the internet. Art stores sell fusable backing that can be glued onto the paper and then ironed on an item.
Give your friends and family homemade ornaments that can be enjoyed for weeks on the Christmas tree. To make easy ornaments, have your kids draw on paper with markers or crayons. Next, cut out their designs, laminate them, and tie with a bright ribbon.
To make ornaments that can be eaten right off the tree, make all-natural candy wreaths using red and white peppermints and red hots. Use store bought or homemade royal icing to fuse together 5 peppermints into the shape of a wreath. Adorn the front with red hots and tie with a ribbon. Royal icing will hold the pieces together. It can be made easily at home using 2 egg whites, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 3 cups of confectioners sugar. Beat the egg whites and lemon juice together with a hand mixer until combined, then gradually add the sugar on low until the mixture is smooth. Use immediately or put it in an air tight container as royal icing will harden quickly.
Create a take on the famous Rorschach Test by making framed pictures of ink blot art. All you need is art paper, basic card stock, tempera paints, paint brushes, and a colorful frame. To make these interesting pictures, fold a piece of art paper in half and drop paint splotches on one half. Fold the other half onto the painted side and press firmly. Lift up and reveal the image. Your kids will love seeing the surprise picture and, for fun, the family can take turns interpreting the meanings of each one. Glue the picture onto a piece of card stock and then frame for a lovely gift.
Let your children make themed treasure boxes for other kids. Possible themes include dinosaurs, flowers, cars, or even ballet. To make these treasure boxes, fill a tin container with small toys, candy, and educational information related to the theme. If your children are older, you can encourage them to help you research items to go in the box. For example, a dinosaur themed box might have miniature plastic dinosaurs, pictures, a book, information printed from the internet, and candy that you can label "dinosaur food." Your kids will learn and have fun putting the gift box together.