Holidays on a Budget: DIY Gifts for the Kids
My daughter is a Santa-skeptic and has been since she could speak. Her latest line of questioning centers on why Santa's gifts look exactly like the toys we buy at the store. Do the elves also make those toys? Why do they put the toys in manufacturer packaging?
When my daughter was three, her preschool sent home the kids' Holiday gift wishes. Most of the kids had in mind very specific toys they had seen on commercials. Never having seen commercials, my daughter's request was "a toy horse". The next year she wanted "fairy pencils"...until her friend brought an American Doll in for show and tell. There was no way I was buying a $200 doll for a four year old but it really made me stop and think about what I wanted to teach my children.
With a large, loving family, the children have so many gifts they can barely open them all. I try to temper the gimmees with having them make handmade gifts for friends and family and emphasizing the sharing of joy through volunteering and charity. Should I cut back on the store-bought gifts and go with handmade?
There's plenty of ideas for handmade gifts any kids would love to receive. And most of them only require basic tools and a little imagination. Older siblings could make many of these to give to younger kids, too!
Tree Blocks from Quirky Momma: Natural and open-ended, these tree blocks feel warm and familiar. Budding architects will love working with materials from their own backyard.
No-Sew Tutu from No Time for Flashcards: Ever since I learned how to make tutus, my daughter has wanted one for every occasion--and one for each of her dolls. I am planning a tutu-tutorial on how to make a double-sided, extra-poofy tutu. This one from No time for Flashcards is quick and easy and perfect for any princess ballerina fairy on your list.
Melted Crayon Trees from Tired, Need Sleep: Kids can upcycle broken crayons to make these cute stocking stuffers for friends!
Peg People from We Bloom Here and Fairy Peg Dolls from The Mama Dramalogues: These are perfect for the types of imaginative play that children love. They can live in doll houses or explore the backyard and help children rehearse and review their day or create their own narratives.
Bean Bags from Make and Takes: Bean Bags are perfect for active kids and there are tons of games you can play with bean bags. You can make them in any shape or color!
Lacing Cards in Foam from Little Birdie Secrets or Cardboard Lacing Cards from Just Joanna: When I need a few minutes to get dinner on the table or just need a little quiet, lacing cards keep my children happily occupied. Maybe that makes them a gift for mom.
Animal Puzzle Blocks from Chasing Cheerios: These beautiful puzzles look like you bought them at an expensive toy store but you only need to be able to cut and glue to make them yourself!
Acorn Math Counters from Embracing Now: I fell in love with these acorn counters and made a set for my own children but could not wait until Christmas. My kids love little treasures and I appreciate that I can use them in quick, authentic math lessons.
Whether you are trying to keep the magic alive, save money, or share the true spirit of the season, would you make it a handmade Christmas? Would it be just one more to-do in an already stressful season? Would the kids rebel without the latest hot toy?