Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making presents for the holidays

With the holidays coming up we have been feeling the economic crunch. My preschooler and I decided that we would make presents for our family. At first I was a little skeptical. I figured we would make a few and then buy a little something as well. Turns out that the extra "real" present is unnecessary since we made so many homemade ones! Yay!

Here are some ideas that you can make with your children that your family members will love:

Jingle Bell Wreaths-
supplies needed: a pipe cleaner (those fuzzy stick things), some bells (we used 20 mm ones), and ribbon.

Take the pipe cleaner and put a bend in the end. Have your preschooler thread the bells on it until you can make a circle. Elijah would make the call as to whether the wreath was big enough or not. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together and tuck them under to hide. Tie a ribbon on the wreath for hanging on the tree or door handle.

Cake or cookie mixes in jars-
supplies: 1 qt jars, fabric, ribbon, and the ingredients to a cake or cookie mix.

Fill the mason jar with the cookie mix. Put the nuts, chocolate chips, and spices in the bottom and the sugars, flour, etc on top so they come out easily. Cut out 9 inch circles of fabric to cover the lids. Add ribbon and a recipe card for your mix and voila! A beautiful gift for a loved one. I let my son pick the mix he wanted to give and I put each ingredient in a plastic cup and let him pour them into the jars. A little messy, but a lot of fun. An added bonus is that he now has a project he can do at his grandparents house when he spends the night next.

Loaves of bread-
Make little loaves of banana bread or something along those lines. Lots of people give cookies for the holidays so shake things up a bit by giving a bread. Fruit breads freeze well or easily keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Michaels or Joanns have already built birdhouses for very inexpensive. Usually around $5. Let your children paint them and they will be so proud to give them as presents. Or help them build a birdhouse to give.

And last but not least (in fact this was my favorite craft)...
supplies: small craft jar with a lid, various little figurines, rubbing alcohol, water, and glitter

Glue the figurines onto the lid of the jar. Fill the jar with water, but be sure that there is enough room for the figures. Add a teaspoon or two of rubbing alcohol and add the glitter. Screw on the lid and seal it with a hot glue gun. We used white and clear glass "rocks" and dinos for an ice age snow globe. Try making a Santa snow globe or don't use any figurines and fill it with confetti instead!

We had so much fun making these presents for everyone. Elijah cannot wait for Christmas so he can give them out. I feel good that I spent less than $30 total on all my gifts and I'm proud of him that he was able to take an active role. We taught him that the holidays aren't about materialism, but about showing our friends and family that we love them and are willing to make the effort to make personalized gifts for each of them. How cool is that?


  1. We want pictures!! =D These sound like fabulous fun. We've been really crafty lately ourselves lately ~ made and sold bread at the farmer's market, made "spinny things" (I'll have to take pictures for that one) and more. I'm excited to try the snowglobes!

    The cookie mix idea is fab ~ last year I put one of those, a photo album full of pictures of the kids throughout the year, a sachet that I sewed, some handmade soap and a candle, put them all into a basket and gave those out for our Christmas presents to everyone. We had so much fun putting it all together and it was things people could actually use ;)

  2. What could adults make for children that they would like?