Christmas is right around the corner and it’s time to get cracking on making those gifts! When I was a kid, my brother and I used to make gifts for everyone in our family. This is a time honored tradition that I think every family needs to bring into their home. Your kids will really enjoy making their gifts and giving them to those that they love. The person getting the gift will appreciate the effort that went into making it; it’s a win – win for everyone. Besides, it saves mom and dad time and money during the holidays and what could be better than that?
All of the gift ideas listed below take little or no time at all to make. You and your kids can make most of these overnight or on a weekend. Besides, it’s a great way to spend time together as a family, because everyone can contribute something to each project.
COOKING UTENSIL SET – You can find cooking utensil sets in wood or plastic at your local dollar store. Use paints to decorate the handles in any design you wish. You can also paint or stain wooden cheese boards, cutting boards or rolling pins. An adult will need to spray over the design with a clear sealant to make sure that the design won’t wash off. If you are painting or staining an entire surface, be sure to seal with a food grade quality sealant.
PLANT POTS – You can use old milk cartons, canned good cans, bottles and even clay pots. Paint on whatever design you choose or cover in fabric and glue on embellishments. This is a great way to let your creativity shine. If your vessel will be used for potted plants that require water; you’ll want to be sure to put some holes in the bottom. An adult can use a hammer and nail or drill to punch the holes for drainage.
JEWELRY / KEEPSAKE BOX – You can use an old cigar box or you can find boxes with a flip top lid (like the one pictured above) at your local craft store that will fit on someone’s dresser or night stand. You can use larger boxes if you wish to hold bulky or big items. Paint or embellish as you wish. I’ve made these using decoupage – a technique using photographs and ModgePodge glue. This technique seals the photos to the wood and makes it waterproof. What a great way to share memories with those you love every time they use this special box. You can learn how to do decoupage here.
BULB BOX – If you know someone who loves flowers, why not put together a box or basket filled with different flower bulbs or seeds. That way, they can plant them in the Spring and think of you every time they see the beautiful flowers! By putting this together yourself, you create a unique garden with that person in mind.
GARDENER’S BASKET – Along the same line as a bulb box, a gardener’s basket is a great gift for someone who loves to spend time in their yard. You can include inexpensive garden hand tools, gloves, seeds, books or anything else garden related.
COUPON BOX – Why not create a one-of-a-kind gift that keeps giving throughout the year? With a coupon box, your child can create coupons that their parents, teacher or grandparents can use throughout the year. Coupons can be for “free hugs and kisses”, help with the dishes, feeding the dog, or cleaning up after class. It’s completely up to you what your coupons are for; just use your imagination and create some really great ways to show someone how much you care.
HANDMADE ORNAMENTS – Using store bought plastic or glass (as pictured above) ornaments; you can use paint and a hand print to create a snowman village. You can paint on reindeer or paint the entire bauble to resemble Santa’s iconic suit. You can make your own with Popsicle sticks and candy canes or whip up a batch of salt dough and shape them as you like. There’s just something about home made ornaments for your holiday table or tree that always makes them a gift that will be cherished for years to come. You can find hundreds of patterns online that you and your kids can make tonight as last minute gift or make ahead of time for Christmas Day.
HOMEMADE GOODIES BASKET – Why not get the kids involved in the kitchen? Most kids love to help out when mom or dad is cooking. It’s a great way to teach them skills that they will use over their lifetime. This time of year, kids can help make cookies and candies of course, but why not think outside of the candy box? You can put together spice rubs for barbecue, your secret pasta sauce mix, can some pickles or soup. Your kids can even write out the recipe cards and attach them to the jars with ribbon. Yummy’s for the tummy.
DECORATED PICTURE FRAMES – You can buy old picture frames on the cheap from the dollar store or from second hand shops. Let the kids go wild with paints and embellishments and make the frames uniquely their own. Have them paint or draw a special picture to place inside and ta-da….instant artwork for your loved one.
STORY BOOKS – Why not have your child create their very own story and turn it into a book for their friend, family member or teacher? You can use a spiral bound notebook and draw in or glue on pictures that tell the story. You can also use construction paper and some punch fasteners to hold the pages together. This is a wonderful way for your child to show their creativity and make a priceless gift for anyone on their list.
BOOK MARKS – These are great for teachers and friends at school and are super easy to make. Traditional bookmarks are long and thin with a piece of string and a tassel on the end to mark your place. I’ve made these over the years with felt, construction paper, foam sheets, plastic canvas and yarn and fabric. I’ve also seen a new trend in corner book marks that are absolutely adorable and so easy for little hands to fold and decorate. You can find the instructions for making corner book marks here.
MOVIE NIGHT BOX – This can be a great gift to give to grandparents with the promise that they can only use it when the kids come to stay over night. Include items like popcorn, candies and anything else you can think of that makes a great movie night. (This also gives mom and dad a night off without the kids)
POTPOURRI – Nowadays, you can find all kinds of dried flowers and good smelling things to make your own potpourri at home. You can order kits online, but I find that it’s just as easy (and often a lot cheaper) to buy the ingredients yourself. That way you can customize based on who you are making the gift for. Dried fruit, spices, dried flowers and essential oils can all be added then stored in mason jars. Attach a “recipe” card to let the recipient know how much to add to a pot of water on the stove to bring the scents to life.
DRINK COASTERS – This is a great gift for teachers too! All you need are some square tiles (found at your local home improvement store), some felt squares for the bottoms (so they don’t scratch furniture) and some imagination. You can glue on flat sided beads, stones, pompoms, glitter or fabric. You can paint them and seal them with a waterproof coating (adults should do this step). You can also decoupage them (see the link above). Tie them together with a ribbon and you’ve got a great gift for anyone on your list.
CANDLE HOLDERS / CENTERPIECE – This is a great project that you can make with materials all found at your local dollar store. You can also find items at your local second hand or Salvation Army or Goodwill. You can use drinking glasses, vases or traditional candle holders, dried or silk flowers; just about anything that you can imagine to bring your centerpiece to life! You should always put embellishments on the outside of the glass so that they will not come in contact with an open flame. You could also put battery operated candles in your centerpiece to avoid the flame all together.
DESKTOP ACCENTS – For parents (or grandparents) and teachers that use a desk while they work; why not bring back an oldie but a goodie from your childhood? Did you ever make pencil holders for your favorite teacher or mom or dad? These are super simple to make and you can make them in all sizes with whatever decorations you want. Use larger soup cans for pens and pencils, small plastic containers like those used for yogurt or cream cheese for paperclips and rubber bands. Gifts such as these add a personal touch to a loved one’s desk and remind them on a tough day that someone truly cares about them.
CHRISTMAS TREES – Styrofoam cones are painted and embellished with “ornaments”. As pictured above, you can make them a single color with glitter to bring an “elegant” touch to a holiday table. Kids can go wild and use whatever colors they choose. Traditional green trees with a star on top are always a hit.
DESIGNER TEA TOWELS – You can find flour sack tea towels at most dollar stores and at Walmart. These plain white towels are great for kids to decorate. You can use paints and a brush or you can use hand prints with very small children. I’ve even made these using cut fruit or rubber stamps. You can even tie dye them! Just be sure to use flour sack towels. You can find the step-by-step directs for making these unique gifts here.
Whatever gift you decide to make this holiday season; people will love them because they come from the heart. Have a homemade gift idea you’d love to see on our post? Leave a comment below!