Growing up, my mom came up her fair share of clever craft ideas. The projects alone were always fun, and when they resulted in a clever gift to give, all the better.
When I became a mom, I recognized the importance of my kids giving gifts that truly had meaning to them. Every December, we decide on a fun project that they would enjoy making and giving to their dad and grandparents. Over the years, they have painted terra cotta flower pots and wooden birdhouses, made pinecone bird feeders and created unique ornaments using everything from seashells to their school pictures.
By putting a little bit of their time and creativity into a project, they always have something they feel proud to give on Christmas morning — so much more than if I gave them a few dollars to purchase something. Even wrapping the gifts becomes a bit of an event, even if it does take a whole roll of tape!
The following are some craft ideas that we have made many times over the years. My younger son loved to make the candy canes as a craft. Two bags of beads and a package of pipe cleaners could literally entertain him for hours. Not only do these make fun gifts that kids can make themselves, they are creative package toppers, too.
- 1 package (25 pc.) green chenille pipe cleaners, 12" x 6mm
- 1 package pony beads -- red, 6x9 mm
- 1 package pony beads -- white, 6x9 mm
- Use wire cutters or old scissors to cut the pipe cleaners in half.
- Slide one bead to the end of a pipe cleaner, turning the end around the bead to keep it in place. Alternate red and white beads until the pipe cleaner is full.
- Turn the end around the last bead. Bend into a candy cane shape and hang on your tree.
- The candy cane may also be used as a package decoration.
If I remember correctly, my mom–as the kindergarten room mother–helped the whole class make snowman pins to give to their mothers for Christmas!
- 1 square red felt
- 1 square green felt
- 1 package pin backs- 1 1/4" long
- White buttons -- the larger, about 7/8" wide; the smaller, about 3/4" wide. Each should have 2 holes (Simple, plain buttons work best.)
- Green beads
- Green sequins
- Craft glue
- With the pin of the pin back pointed down, glue (hot glue works here also) one large button at the bottom and the smaller button directly above the larger one.
- While glue dries, cut out a small top hat from the green felt, approximately 1" wide and 5/8" high. Cut a small bow tie from the red felt, approximately 6/8" wide. (Feel free to reverse the colors.)
- Carefully glue the hat to the top of the small button and the bow tie between the two buttons. Glue a small green bead over each hole in the buttons, forming eyes and "coal" buttons. A toothpick may be helpful in placing a dab of glue over the small holes. Glue one green sequin to the center of the bow tie.
- Allow to dry thoroughly before using.
Other fun ideas…reindeer ornaments made out of clothes pins and do-it-yourself, no-bake gingerbread houses! Click here for the simple how-to!