For many years now, we had a no-gift policy for our kids’ birthday parties. We even went so far as to let people know any gifts brought would be graciously donated to a local shelter.
However we soon had to amend our “no-gift” rule when a friend asked about making a gift instead. One of the reasons we created the no-gift rule was that gifts were often plastic store-bought items and we felt the point of the party was to celebrate a birthday, not host an “open the plastic gizmo” event.
But a thoughtful handmade, gift? Sure, that made sense, and soon we were saying, “Bring on the handmade presents!”
Now we apply the handmade idea to holiday gift giving too. Since my older kiddos usually want to give Christmas gifts to several of their school friends, we think up easy, affordable, handmade items. Ideas like "Hot Chocolate in A Cup," posted at SchoolFamily.com, is a super simple gift a child can make with just a little assembly help from an adult.
As the kids have grown older the gifts have become more sophisticated. At first it was a paper bookmark tied to a candy bar. More recently, however, my oldest has sewn simple elastic skirts for holiday gifts. And this year my 5th grader has made a bunch of beaded elastic bracelets for her BFFs.
Here are some of our other ideas. Hope they help your kids come up with the perfect handmade gifts for their friends (TIP: These gift ideas can also do double duty as Teacher Holiday Gifts!):
- Our favorite version of the “Cookie In A Jar” mix: The Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Jar Mix, a recipe at allrecipes.com, really is the best version out there—and we tested several to find the perfect mix!
- Christmas Ornaments: I love the elegant look of the White Finnish Star ornaments from CraftIdeas.info. They’re simple to make with strips of paper and glue sticks!
- Beaded Rings: Instead of bracelets, make up a bunch of rings out of small beads and stretchy elastic cording. Then stretch them around a tube of lip gloss as part of the gift! (Keep extras for another gift giving event).
- For little kids: Candy Cane Reindeer treats, by Tonya Staab at tonyastaab.com. They’re easy and yummy.
Does gift giving (or receiving) give you stress during the holidays? Have you ever tried giving homemade gifts? If so, was it wonderful or a huge flop? Let me know!