Do you give homemade Christmas gifts? Or do you have the 4-gift rule? While I have always admired the 4-gift rule of “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” method to gift-giving (and its many similar variances), that rule doesn’t always work well for all families especially if you didn’t start your gift-giving traditions that way. Without getting into the entire gratitude and appreciation, entitlement and privilege, budget and affordability aspect, I’d like to simply offer a few homemade Christmas gift ideas while there’s plenty of time to make them.
Today, I’m focusing primarily on homemade Christmas gift ideas for younger kids.
Here’s 7 suggestions for younger kids and 3 for the whole family.
1. FOOD CADDIES
At the dollar store, you can often find plastic compartmentalized food caddies. Add a to-go tumbler with a straw or top spout, a plastic popcorn bucket or a plastic snack container with a flip-top lid, packet of microwave popcorn, movie-sized boxed candy, a DVD and you have a great little carrier for at-home movie night. The caddy works well to hold food/snacks/drinks in the car when you’re on-the-go, too.
2. DRY ERASE MAT
Use a clear vinyl shower curtain and washable dry-erase markers to create a large, reusable dry erase drawing canvas.
3. STORY BAG
Buy a few secondhand books and add any additional gifts such as stuffed or plastic toys, puzzles, workbook pages, craft activities and supplies, etc., that follow the theme of the story. Put all the materials into a canvas tote bag. You can put the items in a gallon sized zip baggie if you want. There are so many online ideas to help you decide what to include.
4. RIBBON FAIRY WANDS
Use a dowel and cut lengths of satin ribbon. Tie on with a knot and add a bit of glue on the ribbon so the knot stays in place. Sand the dowel if it is rough in any spots. You can add an eye screw with or without a fishing swivel (use pliers to attach them together) on the end of the dowel. Then tie the ribbon onto the swivel. If you do use the eye screw, you’ll find it easier to insert the eye screw if you soak the dowel on one end prior to trying to add the eye screw. Can add mini jingle bells, a silk flower or a toy on the top, too. If you don’t like the idea of using a dowel, you can tie ribbon onto a curtain ring instead.
5. MATCHBOX CAR RACETRACK
Make simple racetracks from a large pool noodle cut in half or rain gutters. Prop them on tables, stairs, window ledges, etc.
6. SNOWMAN KIT
Your kit can contain the following: A hat, scarf, mittens/gloves, plastic carrot nose, charcoal briquettes (place in plastic baggie), large buttons, dowels or branches for arms. Place the supplies in a plastic tote or large plastic ice cream tub so it can be carried easily.
7. PUZZLE AND BOARD
The dollar store often has cork boards. Adhere floor protectors/felt castors on the bottom of the cork board. You’ll have a portable puzzle board that can be slid under a table or couch while it’s being completed.
8. TREASURE HUNT
Create an indoor or outdoor treasure hunt. The prize can be a grab bag of toys, stickers, candy, homemade baked treats, snack foods, books, art supplies or anything you’d like to give. A fun way to present the prizes is inside a piñata. Check your local dollar stores. I found mine at Dollar Daze.
9. STRING MAZE
Tie string or yarn to a prize for each person, then hide the prize and create the maze in an indoor or outdoor space. Weave, loop, and wrap the strings around, under and through. Next, give the kids the free end of the string and a paper towel roll or a piece of cardboard to wrap their string around as they continue to follow the string. Use a different color of yarn for each child to make it easier or use the same color yarn/string to make it harder.
10. SARAN WRAP BALL (GAME)
Wrap small gift items (think: stocking stuffer type) and candy in Saran wrap. Press and Seal and Stretch Wrap (shipping/moving wrap) works best. But you can use bubble wrap and tape, regular plastic wrap, crepe paper streamers and yarn, wrapping paper, or a combination of it all. Don’t use long pieces because it makes it way too easy to unravel. The idea is to form the ball by wrapping the outer wrap around the small prize items and layering.
First, place the first gift on the plastic wrap that is pulled out then start rolling the plastic wrap around the prize. Then start with the next item. You can make the ball as big as you want to.
Game play: First person holds the ball and starts to find the end to try to unwrap it. The person to their right, rolls the dice and is trying to get doubles. Once doubles are rolled, the ball is passed to the next player and the person next to them rolls the dice. If you unwrap a prize during your turn, it’s yours to keep. A large jingle bell in the middle makes it fun because the noise creates excitement and suspense during the game. You can create your own rules. Maybe give each person x amount of time, or stop and play music like in musical chairs, or only roll a single di.
FAIR WARNING. If your family is highly competitive, I suggest the following:
- Set some rules/boundaries before you start.
- Do not put the best prize in the middle. Trust me on this.
- You can make older kids and adults wear gloves or oven mitts or have them blindfolded to even the playing field with their younger family members.
- If using dice, put them in a shallow plastic container to roll versus free rolling on the floor or on a table. This will help avoid the whole “he cheated