Thursday, November 15, 2018

5 Homemade Gifts Your Kids Can Make

The only gift is a portion of thyself. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s that time of year again when the gift lists start rolling in and the kids are scrawling their secret notes to Santa. But it is also the best time of year to encourage kids to focus on making gifts for others and sharing their own talents and treasures.

All that is left of Thanksgiving are the last crumbs of pumpkin pie and some green bean casserole you’re just not sure you want to save for another day’s leftovers. For some, this means it is Cyber Monday Mania – virtual shopping carts are overflowing and they’re ready to make the Fed Ex man work overtime. In our home, however, the Monday after Thanksgiving represents Make It Yourself Monday – the day we kick off our Christmas gift giving with a plan for all of the gifts we want to make this year. I want the focus in our home to keep close in our hearts the real reason for Christmas, and encouraging the kids to share those portions of “thyself” is a great way to do this.


Each year everyone in the family receives at least one book, so for years my kids have been creating homemade bookmarks to give as gifts. These can be as simple as a rectangular piece of paper that they kids decorate, or an elaborate jewelry bookmark like this kind my daughter made one year. You can also try these ideas that my kids have enjoyed making (and are planning to make this year).

  • Favorite quotes – Have your kids write the favorite quotes that remind them of the gift recipient. Maybe Grandpa always greets your boys with, “Ahoy, mates!” – or you daughter shares a special goodnight saying or prayer with her dad. These things can be written on the bookmark on one side, and leave the other side for decorating.
  • Special memories – Take the same idea of the favorite quotes and encourage your kids to write down a special memory of the gift recipient. The gift becomes so much more than a bookmark – it is a reminder of the impact that person has on the life of the child.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words – Have the kids take pictures of things up close (so large details show) with a digital camera and then make a collage of them. Print these as a rectangular bookmark and laminate them. Your kids can then hole punch the top and attach a ribbon or yarn.
  • Corner page bookmarks – This is on the agenda for my kids to make this year. Even though the picture shows a monster theme (maybe not quite a Christmas theme), these are still adorable for kids, and they can be presented over the curve part of a candy cane – as if the monster is eating the treat – and then used as a bookmark.

2. Wooden Christmas Tree

Inspired by what he saw shopping one day at Target, my 11-year-old is making these for some special people in his life, and he can make 3 for the cost of buying one (even though making it homemade is priceless).


  • 1×1 or 1×2 strips of wood (the lengths of which depends on the size tree you want)
  • Dowel rods (to hold the tree together)
  • A piece of wood for the base (my son plans on make a mini tree skirt to cover the base)
  • A star or angel for the top (look at the thrift store for miniature ornaments)
  • Paint
  • Extra – we have large wooden beads that my son is using to separate the layers of wood and give the tree another dimension
  • A drill

3. Button ornaments

The same craft son who is making the wooden Christmas tree has also made Button Buddies, and these cute ideas for button ornaments at the Martha Stewart site are an easy way to use up old buttons. If you don’t have buttons, look at the thrift store or the clearance section of the home décor store.

4. Patchwork journal

Try this cute idea for a patchwork journal. You can use themed fabric, such as comics, flowers, or even character fabrics (they have everything from Mickey Mouse to Dora and in between) you can find at your local fabric store. Search your scrap fabric drawer or the remnant aisle for the best bargains – you only need small bits of fabric.

5. Quotable quotes

My kids and their friends are always sharing inside jokes, repeating their favorite “sayings”,reciting lines from movies, and using their own slang versions of words. These magnet gifts are clever ways for kids to make personalized magnets that represent these quotable quotes.

If you’re still short on ideas, take your kids shopping for inspirations. You might find a Christmas tree craft you could make on your own like my son did, or perhaps become inspired to come up with your unique gift ideas. Making homemade gifts with your kids helps to keep the focus on the giving, builds gratitude, and it also teaches kids about intention and purpose of gifts.

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. ~ Mother Teresa

Related posts:

  1. Holiday Gifts Your Kids Can Make
  2. 8 Fun and Easy Father’s Day Gifts
  3. What Do You Know About Your Own Kids?

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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