Homemade Gifts/Decorations made by Kids


Cut strips of construction paper in strips about 1/2 to 3/4 ” wide and about 5-7 ” long.  The child puts glue on one end, folding the opposite end into a circle and hold until stuck together. ( Put the next strip through the circle and just keep going alternating colors of chosen paper).  It can be as long as you want or as long as the attention span lasts.  They can hang over the branches of the tree.  These of course do not last as long as other decorations, but help with eye-hand coordination and makes the child very proud to have something he/she made.

Holiday Placemats  (ages 4 up)

Needed–any combination of these:  Old Christmas Cards, Holiday wrapping Paper, stickers, ribbon, etc.
Poster Board (the heaviest available)–white, red, green, gold, silver
Glue Stick
Roll of CLEAR Contact Paper  ( Home Depot carries it–by shelf paper)

Have the child cut out several things or use the fronts of the cards as they are.  Cut a placemat sized rectangle out of posterboard ( no larger than 16″ in length). Have them do a layout. Then use a gluestick to attach the cards or designs to cover the poster board.  Let is set to let the glue dry.  Then with adult help, cut contact paper so that it is larger than the Placemat. Pull off the backing  of contact paper, lay and flat then place one side of  placemat on the contact paper, making sure you have edges left all around it. Repeat for back of Placemat.  Cut the edge of the contact paper, leaving about 1/4 inch on all edges.  You now have a washable Christmas placemat.

Baked Ornaments  ( Ages 4-up)
These are fun, easy and will last for years.  We have our children’s ornaments from 1970’s that we still put on the tree.
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
3 cups water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix all together–should be pliable–if not –add a little more water. You can either paint them after baking or add food coloring to dough when mixing.
2 methods:
(1)  Roll it to about 1/3″ thick and use Christmas cookie cutters to cut out designs.  Paint after Baking.
(2) Roll into “snakes” and twist together to  make Candy Canes, wreaths or twist to make a frame for a chosen picure.  (I love these as we have our children’s picures in them and now grandchildren have made them)

Curve a paper clip into a holder for ribbon. I cut the ends of of the clip so that I have a long U shaped wired.  Push into top of ornament, leaving a little out to attach ribbon.  Bake about 30-35 minutes at 300 degrees.  Do not let them become brown.

Cool and paint or put small photo you have chosen behind the frame.


Gift Coupon Book for Parents or Grandparents. ( ALL Ages)

Depending on children’s ages they can design a little stapled “coupon gift book” for parents or grandparents.

Some ideas: Help with dinner, do dishes,help with groceries, sweep floor, help a neighbor, not arguing with siblings, or have one where the recipient has a choice of task.  The ideas are numerous.
The child can decorate the cover of the coupon booklet or the pages of the booklet themselves, using old wallpaper, constuction paper, wrapping paper, etc. (the child, depending on his/her age, may need some ideas that are age appropriate).
When they give you the booklet the recipient picks the day in which to use a particular coupon.

Our children did this several times and it was a “giving gift” and helped with responsiblity and costs the child nothing, but time.


Calm during the Holiday Season

Well, It is that time of year–where we pull our hair out with so much to do– working, shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, entertaining and always feeling tired–ah, we forgot “resting”.

It is difficult this time of year to feel calm and collected, not to mention the fact that in many states there is bad weather with which to contend.  This make it particularly hard for those who must work outdoors like those of us delivering Lawn Displays and Yard Cards this time of year.

“Gifts of time and Love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas”.-Peg Bracken

Some suggestions to make the Holidays calmer.

* Make homemade gifts—they are usually treasured more than store-bought items. (This year I made tie-dyed shirts for the younger set).
* If you must shop, do it early in the morning or late at night if you have stores that stay open late or all night. (Less people, less lines at check-out)
* Find a charity and make it a family event to take presents, clothes or whatever the charity needs. Take it TO the charity with your children. It is a great teaching tool for children and puts their life “needs” instead of “wants” into perspective.
*Plan a special Christmas Craft that you can do with your children or neighbor children.
* Make Christmas cookies while listening to Christmas music.
* Take some homemade Christmas cookies or candies to the neighbors.
* Watch Holiday family Movies such as  Hallmark Christmas CD’s, such as “The Dog Named Christmas”.  Found at HallMark Gold Crown stores.
* Discuss the importance of caring for and sharing with others during this season.
* Take some time for quiet without TV or cell phones to be together as a family at home maybe talking about the season.
* Make homemade decorations.
* Encourage kids to make a coupon book to give to parents or grandpareants for Christmas.