10 Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make for Parents, Grandparents, and Teachers
There's nothing more meaningful than a gift bearing the unmistakable touch of a creative child. Many of these projects double as easy ways to make multiple gifts using your kids' artwork, and all of them are bound to make any adult smile this holiday season.
Remember the joy that came with bringing home a gift you made in school and giving it to your parents? Your kids feel the same way when they make a homemade gift for you.
Christmas gifts that kids can make—such as journals, calendars, and personally packaged edible treats—all work well for gifting parents, grandparents, and teachers. Kids can personalize items inspired by their art projects to show their appreciation and take pride in putting their creativity to good use for a generous cause. Whether they're packing granola gift boxes and decorating cookie tins with drawn designs to printing tote bags and handkerchiefs, the little ones in your life will jump at the opportunity to pick up crayons, markers, and colored pencils in order to make something special.
You can use your kids' artwork to make holiday gifts and still keep the originals yourself. Transforming art into substantial objects is easier than ever with new products that fit through ink-jet printers, such as iron-on transfer paper, magnetic sheets, and shrinkable plastic. First, scan a favorite drawing into your computer using a scanner (if you don't have one, a copy shop can scan the drawing onto a disk for you), or have your child play with your computer's art program to design pictures on screen. Use graphics software or the formatting instructions included with the products to design your project, resizing, positioning, and duplicating the image as you like. Then, print it to create the gifts and packaging shown here.
Best of all, each of these ideas help give kids a greater understanding about the true spirit of the holidays. If that's not a reason to encourage your little ones to get creative this season, we don't know what is.
Granola Gift Box
When the family decides to spend an afternoon making gifts for teachers, easy assembly-line production is key. Everyone pitches in. Someone makes a big batch of granola, which is simple to customize with different add-ins. Someone else finds the jars of raw honey and plans the packaging: handsome, compostable wooden boxes lined with tissue. Then the kids take over, filling and sealing the bags of granola, packing the boxes, and making labels to tie on with waxed twine. Those few hours prove a perfect antidote to the frenzy of the holiday season.
Shop Now: VerTerra Dinnerware Small Square Collapsible Box with Attached Lid Boxes, 6" by 6", $16 for 10, verterra.com. Nashville Wraps Clear Cello Bags, 3 1/2" by 2" by 7 1/2", $8.15 for 100, nashvillewraps.com. Paper Presentation Textured Bianco Pocket Tags, 3" by 5 1/2", $6.90 for 10, paperpresentation.com.
Edible Snow Globes
Kids are full of ideas with a playful spirit similar to that of these cookie "snow globes." Have them decorate homemade gingerbread cookies with royal icing and candies, and produce luminous trees by melting hard candies into triangle shapes. Everything is anchored in more icing and sealed in glass jars with painted tops (primed with Gesso). The contents are edible—but more likely to be admired than eaten.
How can you share your kids' creativity with family and friends? For starters, use your children's favorite drawings to decorate canvas bags, checkbook covers, or eyeglass cases. It's quick and simple to do with iron-on transfer paper that fits through any ink-jet printer, available at craft stores. Print a drawing onto multiple sheets of it, trim out the design, then use a dry iron to transfer the image to clean canvas, according to the instructions on the package. Isolate one image from a busy drawing to make a bold, modern (and cute) statement, or duplicate a single drawing several times to make a pattern.
Decal Cookie Tins
There's no better gift for a teacher or neighbor than cookies or candy packaged in a keepsake tin. Print a child's drawing on a water slide decal (some decals have a transparent background; others, white). To protect the image, spray decal with coating spray; let dry. Trim it to the desired shape. Soak the decal in water until its backing separates from it. Then, place the decal on a tin; push out excess water with a tissue, and let dry. Spray it with the coating again. Long after the sweets are gone, the tin will hold the memory of a child's gift.
Shop Now: Container Store White Round Tins, starting at $3, containerstore.com. Kodiak Supplies A4 Waterslide Decal Paper, $15 for 20 sheets, amazon.com. Krylon Preserve It Spray, in Gloss Finish, $9, dickblick.com.
Kids' Art Handkerchief
A perennially elegant accessory, a handkerchief becomes a wearable work of art with a custom drawing. With fabric crayons (available at crafts stores), draw directly on a cotton or linen handkerchief (after practicing on paper). To heat-set, place a scrap piece of fabric over the drawing, and gently iron according to instructions on the crayon package. Tie the folded hankie with waxed cord or thin ribbon, add a gift tag, and place it in a color-coordinated envelope.
These practical yet playful covers make even the most mundane tasks more pleasant. Using a clear passport cover or clear checkbook sleeve as a template, trace over child's artwork. Cut out, and slip picture inside sleeve.
Gingerbread captures the essence of the holidays—warmth, homeyness, time-honored traditions—in a single pan. These mini loaves baked in biodegradable wooden trays are the most economical way to offer all of that to your friends. One batch of batter turns out four loaves of perfectly moist and spicy bread. (It easily doubles for eight.) Wrap the baked loaf in cellophane, then finish with a bow of kitchen twine and a personalized gift tag.
Shop Now: Panibois Le Duc Wooden Baking Molds With Paper Liner, $22 for 12, amazon.com.
A custom, kid-created calendar is a gift any adult can treasure all year long. To create, apply peel-and-stick laminate to a picture (follow package directions). Remove a calendar from its original backing, and attach with double-sided tape.
Shop Now: Duck Brand 1115496 Peel N' Stick Laminate Adhesive Shelf Liner, in Clear $13, amazon.com.
Handcrafted end papers featuring kid drawings transform basic journals into keepsakes. A journal of any size will work. Measure the book's original end paper, then cut picture so that it's slightly wider to accommodate the fold. Next, use a paintbrush to apply white glue evenly over the end paper. Lay artwork over glued area and press, starting at center and working out. Wipe off any excess glue; a parent can trim the edges with a utility knife if needed. Close the journal, and stack heavy books on top. Let dry overnight.
Here's a new twist on the familiar refrigerator-art gallery: Let kids' turn their drawings into magnets that can be used all year long. They can draw helpful refrigerator reminders or a Christmas tree and ornaments. Print onto magnet sheets, and cut out. To give magnets as presents, affix them to a greeting card with double-sided tape.
Shop Now: Avery Magnet Sheets, in White, 8 1/2" by 11", amazon.com.