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Article: Homemade Holiday Gifts: Greeting Cards, Granola and Candle Holders

andrea richards

Homemade Holiday Gifts: Greeting Cards, Granola and Candle Holders

Times are tough, the "to give" list is long, and the elves around here need projects to keep their sticky little hands from dismantling the decorations. That's right, I'm talking about making homemade holiday gifts with your kids that are easy, fun, and inexpensive to make. (Also all crafts are ones that can be done by craft-impaired people like me!)


We all know the drill: you work hard to get a super cute family photo (posing children is like herding cats) and then waste half a workday creating the world's hippest holiday card on one of many design sites. You pay a small fortune for the printing and are thrilled with the result until you receive your first holiday card in the mail from a friend who, it just so happens, used the exact same design from the exact same website for her card. It's like showing up at a party wearing the same dress, right? Sucks. If you want an utterly unique card that no one in their right mind could ever duplicate, turn the job over to your kids. All it takes is card stock, markers, crayons or paint, and a little creativity. I know a greeting card is sort of the lowest bar for homemade goods, but once you get your kids going on this, you'll never have to buy one again. (I think the only person still supporting Hallmark is my mother.) For our cards, I painted drippy abstracted Christmas trees and let my girls decorate them with washable paint dot markers.


Edible gifts are great - for one, they don't add any more clutter to our already exploding home, require no batteries, and might just be able to sub in for an actual meal in a pinch (who among us hasn't eaten an entire jar of nuts as lunch at least once? Or had fruitcake for dinner?). They're also great for gifts you need multiples of (for teachers, coworkers, friends) because you can make huge batches, package them cutely, and call it a day. My daughter's wonderful, hippy preschool is both anti-sugar and nut-free, which poses a huge problem for baked goods, at least in my mind where sugar and nuts are essential. Last year I made loaves of sugar and dairy-free pumpkin bread that I felt really good about until I tasted one brick and decided its consistency, flavor and weight resembled building materials more than food. So this year, we are making up a huge batch of nut-free granola. There are tons of recipes online, some of which are even gluten-free. As for the sugar content, at least it's in the form of maple syrup, which isn't quite as bad the refined stuff. So I'm cheating a little.


This craft has all the components my three-year-old loves: food coloring, Modge Podge (or sparkly glue), and fire (just kidding, we don't really let her play with fire). I got this one online from, of all places, Parents magazine, and just admitting that makes me feel certain I am wearing jeans right now. You take a glass jar and let your kid paint on watered-down glue or Modge Podge and then place tissue paper around it. As it dries, stick a white doily in a pan of water colored with food coloring - we used leftover takeout chopsticks to make sure the doily got fully saturated, a move that I'm sure Martha Stewart would frown upon. Anyhow, drowning the doily and poking it with chopsticks proved to be so much fun we lost focus and the girls kept at it, laughing and stabbing in a way that only suggests holiday glee. Stop the mania and pull the doily out, put it on a paper towel and let it dry. Then glue it around the tissue paper-covered jar. Trim both layers so they won't catch on fire when you light a candle inside the container and, voila, a centerpiece for the dining room you can be proud of. Or pawn off to Grandma. Check out more activities for big and little kids below! photo (18)shadowPface photo

Just one week until Christmas!

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