11 DIY Christmas Gifts For Your Children’s Friends

When I was a kid, and even now, I used to exchange gifts with my closest friends for the holidays. It’s always fun getting more gifts, and some of these people were like sisters to me. The down side: the more people you give gifts to, the steeper that credit card bill will be when it comes in January. So this year, help you child make a gift for his or her best friend! You can do this for grandma and grandpa too for a meaningful present.

1. Origami: When I was at the Museum of Natural History in New York City a few weeks ago, they had a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with amazing origami shapes. There were dinosaurs, people, and animals that looked like the real deal! This is a great project to entertain your kid on a cold vacation day, and will be a cool, original gift for one of their friends. Check out the video at this site for instructions: (Original source: http://www-v1.amnh.org/calendar/event/Origami-Holiday-Tree/)

2. Homemade Jewelry: Having a plastic box with dozens of spools of brightly colored string was a requirement when I was in elementary school. My friends and I would constantly make string bracelets, or “friendship bracelets.” From “candy stripe” to “Chinese staircase,” there are tons of designs to individualize each bracelet, and add some beads for variety! For a younger kid, a bead bracelet is a great, simple idea. (Original source: http://webzio.net/en/how-make-friendship-bracelets-different-designs.html)

3. DIY Memory Game: I was recently babysitting, and rediscovered the crazy fun memory game, where you have tons of cards flipped over and have to find the most pairs. Help your kid create their own, self-produced game with some index cards and crayons. Cut the index cards in half, and help them draw a dozen pairs on one side, and they can play the game with their friend after giving the gift! (Original source: http://mariasupermom.blogspot.com/2012/06/free-summer-memory-game.html)

4. Tree Ornaments: Ornaments should always be personal and have a story to them. There are tons of ways to make your own ornaments, but a fun idea is to go for a walk with your child and find pinecones. Take them home, and decorate them by gluing pom-poms/cotton balls, glitter, and other crafts. Also try decorating an old clothespin—you can make them look like angels or fairies with a little twine and markers. (Original source: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/diy-crafts?pnid=447735)

5. Snowman Pillow: It’s hard trying to stay up waiting for Santa, so help your child make a pillow for their friend to be comfortable while they wait! Take a white pillowcase and stuff it with cotton stuffing (available at craft stores) and then tie a festive ribbon a quarter way from the top. Add more stuffing on the top before sewing the top of the pillow. This can also be done with a white pillow for easiness. Glue some felt eyes, nose, and mouth on the smaller top part. Add a Santa hat to top it off! (Original source: http://pinterest.com/pin/263531015666990089/)

6. Custom Blocks: Sometimes wooden blocks can get pretty boring—they’re not awfully attractive. Make a set of blocks for your child’s friend! Start with either wooden blocks or make your own cardboard blocks. Then check out Ollibird.bigcartel.com. They have sets of downloadable PDFs for blocks, which you print and paste on. Voila! (Original source: http://ollibird.bigcartel.com/product/olliblocks-animals-pdf)

7. Snow Globes: These turn out really beautiful. Start with a glass mason jar, and remove the lid. Paint the outside of the lid with a pretty silver, and let dry before flipping over and super-gluing miniature Christmas trees and snowmen to the bottom. You can find these at a crafts store, or use a cotton ball to make snowmen. Fill the jar with fake snow and glitter, and twist the cap back on. (Original source: http://tidymom.net/2011/waterless-snow-globes-tutorial/)

8. Personal Puzzles: Puzzles are tons of fun on a cold, snowy day. There are two ways to approach this. Take a large piece of white construction paper, and have your child paint a picture, before cutting the paper into different shape pieces. Another approach is to make a collage of photographs of your child and the friend they’re giving the gift to, glue them to a large piece of construction paper, and cut up. (Original source: http://www.athomewithali.net/2012/02/making-picture-puzzle-as-gift.html)

9. Natural Lip Balm: This project will take a bit more help from mom and dad, but it’s also pretty special. Mix 1 ounce of apricot kernel oil or almond oil with 1 ounce of coconut oil and ¼ ounce of beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. When the beeswax is melted, remove from the stove and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix with an electric hand-mixer until creamy, add a few drops of vanilla flavoring oil, stir, and pour into small containers with screw tops. Let cool. (Recipe courtesy of Care2.com; Original source: http://ilovebeautyandmakeup.blogspot.com/2012/10/are-you-using-right-lip-balm.html)

10. Bookmarks: Whether or not your child’s friend enjoys reading, they certainly have to for school. Make colorful bookmarks to make the reading experience more fun! Buy large, colorful paper clips and fun-patterned ribbon, and tie a long swath to the top of the paper clip. Quick, easy, beautiful! (Original source: http://pinterest.com/pin/274930752221691223/)

11. Toy Soap: Washing hands may be pretty boring, so spice it up with fun soap! Help your child pick a small plastic figurine to use. Wrap the toy in saran wrap. Buy glycerin at your local craft store, and follow the directions to melt some in the microwave. Add your kid’s favorite color food coloring to the mix and stir, then pour 1/3 of the liquid into a mold (any reusable plastic container will work). After 5-10 minutes of cooling add the toy upside down before pouring the rest of the liquid. Let sit for an hour until it’s ready. (Original source: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/treat-soap/)

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