This past weekend was so exciting for the kids and I. We had our one-on-one meetings to discuss and plan their Christmas gifts to each other. And I’ve got to say, I was impressed! Because we decided to step away from the commercial Christmas and go handmade instead (you can read more about that here) I was curious to see just what their kid brains would come up with as ideas for gifting to one another. I wasn’t too positive that I wouldn’t hear something like “a can of beans” from one of them. As it turned out, the can of beans kid shocked the pants off me! They were more than excited to be making something to lovingly give the other.
The older two (ages 9 and 5) will be working with Brandon and I in the next few weeks to put together a gift for each of their siblings, and they each wanted to make a gift to give to Mom and Dad. The two year old is receiving this year, but not giving.
After meeting with the older two and compiling the list, I started in on creating my list for our gifts to the children. I know every household handles it differently. In our house, Brandon and I discuss options for gifts. If there’s anything in particular he’s wanting to gift, it pretty much always happens. Usually, he gives me the reigns, and I go take care of it. Shopping for him is a headache and a half, and it’s something I enjoy. With us switching over to handmade this year – aka craft city – Brandon was more than happy to sit quietly in the background.
So, I came up with some ideas and then ran them by him to see what he thought. You know what he said? “Those sound awesome! I can’t believe you came up with all of those ideas!” You know what I said? “I didn’t. Google did!” Ha! ‘Tis true, folks! Google can be a fabulous resource!
I thought I’d share a list of the things we’re going to be making this year for the kids for Christmas so you can get your Google on and maybe include some handmade into your holiday as well!
I have been wanting to make teepees for the kids for a long time, and now is the perfect time! Christina Dennis from The DIY Mommy made this adorable teepee and has a fabulous tutorial to go along with it. See hers here.
2. Posters to Hang in Bedroom
Our 5 year old son LOVES anything super hero – from any one of The Avengers, to Ninja Turtles, to Transformers, to DC Comics characters. You get the picture. If they are heroes, he’s into them. He’s really been wanting to decorate his room with all his favorite characters. And while his idea of me actually painting them directly onto his bedroom walls isn’t going to happen, I though it’d be a great idea to give him his favorite characters in a way he could still have them adorning his walls. Just a whole lot less permanent-ish. Yes, I know you can paint over paint. It’s labor intensive, folks. Switching posters out of frames is not.
Rumor has it that you can get “engineer prints” (or “blueprint copies” or “draft prints”) for just a few dollars at Staples. So the plan is to find coloring book type images of a couple of his favorite characters, have them printed via the method mentioned, and color them myself. Or, if I get really crazy, I’ll hand-sketch them and just do it myself. But, I’m considering time management here. So, we’ll see what happens.
3. No-Sew Purse
When we were scouring the internet for some ideas for one of her brothers, we came across this post from Martha Stewart’s site. P’s immediate reaction said it all, and I knew right then that it would go on her list. She’s a lover of purses and wallets alike, so this will be something I know she’ll get a lot of use out of. Because she is 9 and will use it for more than just play (she loves to take her offering to church in a purse – it makes it so much more fun that way I suppose), I may substitute the felt for a heavier-duty material, but the same concept will apply. She loved the butterfly purse, so butterflies it is!
4. Animal Night Light
Our 5 year old has been asking for a night light for quite some time. He had a dinosaur lamp that he absolutely loved. The only problem was it was more of a lamp than a night light. I’m talking super bright! No matter what bulb we put in it. So, when I saw this idea from this post on Martha Stewart’s site, I couldn’t resist putting it on my list. I haven’t figured out just yet which animal I’ll turn it into, but you can bet I’ll have fun while doing it!
A few years ago, we started a new family tradition. On Christmas Eve, the children open one present each; a new pair of pajamas. Then, they all open a gift of a kid-friendly movie (that we purchase from our local Family Video at a fraction of the cost!), and we watch the movie that night together in our pj’s. Even though we’re moving to a non-commercial Christmas, the movie buying tradition will remain. And I really love getting the movie at FV because it is at such a great price! The pajama’s tradition, however, will move to handmade instead of store-bought.
This pajama gift set from Melly Sews is just the ticket and comes with a tutorial! She also has patterns for pajamas you can purchase as well some great FREE patterns in her shop (including a FREE robe pattern!)
6. Book of Colors
For our toddler, I was truly stumped. It’s harder with him because he shares a room with his brother, and thus, toys. He inherited all of Mitchel’s toddler toys as well, so their room is busting at the seams with toys and play things. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just making him another stuffed animal or another toy. Then, I came across this post from Joyful Abode and felt like I’d won the lottery.
One of the items it featured was this Book of Colors from the EmmmyLizzzy blog. She used the tutorial from Homegrown Happy to make hers. You can find the tutorial from Homegrown Happy here. I just love the ease of putting this book together and all the things it will teach our little Benjamin. Plus, I have tons of fabric scraps lying around just waiting to be used! If you’re making your own and don’t have scraps, ask a sewer friend if they have some you could use. Don’t know a sewer? Put a post out on Facebook looking for some. You’d be surprised whose friend knows a friend who has loads of scraps needing a home!
7. Toddler Activity Board
I absolutely adore this idea! And honestly, I’m surprised I hadn’t even thought of it before! Our toddler is constantly locking and unlocking doors, using tools to dismantle things and put them back together, flipping light switches on and off, and he is always feeling the need to be busy “working” on something. This activity board is the perfect thing to encourage all of that without him taking our house apart board by board.
I’m enlisting Brandon’s help for this gift. I’ll have my hands full with other items, and this is right up his alley. He’s pretty excited to get started on it!
This doesn’t have to be only for sewers! Let me just say, even if you’ve never sewed a stitch in your life, there are so many things you can make your kiddos without prior knowledge! The internet is bursting with free tutorials, patterns, advice and troubleshooting. It really is so easy to get started in sewing and be self-taught. I am! And I’m so happy I took that leap of faith in myself!
Several of the items the kids will receive this Christmas will be clothes I’ve made. It seems like no matter what, this time of year brings growth spurts and size changes that kick those new school clothes from August to the “they don’t fit anymore” curb.
One of the things that I’ll be doing this year is customizing shirts for the kiddos. You don’t need to sew to do this yourself! If you want to save time or don’t know how to sew, buy a plain t-shirt from the store. Find or create the image you want to use, and follow the directions on the product below.
I love, love, LOVE Jolee’s Boutique Easy Image transfer paper for transferring images to fabric! It’s so easy, and the finished product turns out looking professional! Just make sure you get the package for the type of fabric you’re using – light or dark. Simply follow the instructions, and in no time flat you’ll have a custom piece!
However you spend your Christmas this year, I hope that it is filled with many blessings of cherished moments, love and happiness. And if you happen to add a little handmade love into your gifting, I hope this has inspired you!