Christmas is right around the corner, and we’re still ambling along in all the festivities we want to participate in before it arrives. While I was actually on top of getting presents bought, wrapped, shipped and hidden, I forgot one little change this year.
My kids are older. It’s time to start teaching them the joy of giving, and not just receiving.
We’ve done this a bit with our four year old in years prior, helping him make little things or pick out something for family members. This year, we also have a two year old instead of an infant and that changes the game. Now we can teach both of them about giving.
We have many family members we love to gift to, and letting our boys choose a gift from a store for each of them would add up beyond our Christmas budget. Instead of gifting them something store-bought, we’ve started teaching our kids to make something special for their loved ones.
Here are a few ideas if you’d like to share the gift of creating something for loved ones with your littles:
1. Better than Salt Dough Ornaments
I found this recipe for better than salt dough years ago on the Tips from a Typical Mom Blog. I followed the recipe, rolled out my dough, and we used cookie cutters to cut out different shapes. We made two batches, one white and one blue. My son chose the blue, and we used that to make handprint ornaments. I used a straw to make a hole for the ribbon to go through. We chose to bake ours — to make sure they set — as we’d be mailing several of them. Once they baked and cooled, we painted them. I added my kid’s names and the year on the back, so relatives can remember when and who made this special gift for them.
2. Handprint Gifts
Whether it’s a card, ornament, or canvas, handprint art is one of my favorite activities. My boys (usually) love making handprints, and I love turning their handprints into something cute. Grandparents love getting them, and I know my mom loves looking back each year and seeing how their handprints have changed. Sometimes we throw in footprints too, if the kids are listening well and I know they won’t go running off with wet paint on their feet! I use washable paint, but I don’t always trust it to come off every surface.
3. Candy Cane Decorations
I tend to have random craft supplies on-hand, and on-hand is key to last minute activities. I used red and white pipe cleaners left over from Valentine’s Day to make candy cane decorations. They can be hung on a garland, or used as an ornament. I know, I’m ornament crazy. All I had to do was wrap the point ends and start the twisting pattern, then my boys took over. They needed a little help along the way, but we got the red and white twisted neatly together. I folded the other sharp ends, then folded it in half and helped them shape them into candy canes. They could also be given to friends with littles with play kitchens, or used to decorate a wrapped present. I added a little tag that said who it was made by and the year, so they’ll always remember what makes this little candy cane special.
4. Sugar Scrub and Baking Mixes
If you’ve got relatives that don’t relish handprint art, try a homemade gift that your kids will enjoy helping make. Pinterest is full of recipes for sugar scrubs, hot cocoa mason jars, baking mixes in a jar, and all sorts of goodies you can artfully arrange. My little ones love helping out in the kitchen, so anything with measuring and stirring is sure to entice them. While they stir, I tell them who we’re making it for. Then on Christmas, they’ll hand it to their loved one and see the look of happiness when they open their cocoa-for-one or sugar scrub.