There’s nothing that says “I love you. I’m glad you’re my friend/family” than a present made with love, little fingermarks and lots of laughter! Here are five fun gift ideas for you to get creative this Christmas – with your kids!
#1 10 things I love about you
Perfect for a family member or a close friend is this gift of a personalized scrapbook!
Materials needed: Any acid-free book of plain pages (sketch book, scrapbook, notebook etc), pictures (photographs, postcards, magazine cuttings), acid-free pen and glue-tape
Directions: Source for pictures that help depict those 10 things you love about your recipient. The kids can help you to brainstorm on the 10 attributes that make the cut, and to flip through magazines and old postcards or photo albums to find the right pictures. Fill the book with these pictures, organized according to the 10 things on your list, with captions or bits of journalism alongside them. Be sure to have space for your kids to add their two cents – if they are too young to write, have them dictate their thoughts to you and write it for them, or type it out and attach.
#2 A picture paints a thousand words
Instead of buying a painting off the rack, make your own creative masterpiece as a unique gift.
Materials needed: Photo frame, painting materials, sheet of thick plain paper (larger than the frame), masking tape
Directions: Wrap the paper tightly around the frame back, and stick in place neatly with the masking tape. This is to prevent the paper from curling as the paint dries. Together with your child, put on your favourite CD or listen to the radio, and paint whatever comes to mind – the more abstract, the better it will look! Let dry completely before inserting into the frame. Tip: For very young children, let them use finger paints, instead of giving them brushes to paint with.
#3 Twinkle twinkle little star
It hasn’t gone out of fashion yet – those jars of tiny stars, that will remind that special someone how much you love him/her. If you’ve forgotten how to fold them, check out Youtube for a refresher course.
Materials needed: Glass or plastic bottle/jar, ribbon, sparkly wrapping paper
Directions: Cut the wrapping paper into strips of 1cm width and 25-30cm length. Your kids can fold them to form the stars, although they might need your help to pinch the spokes in places! This is a great activity for the whole family in lieu of too much television in the evenings. Once you have enough stars to fill your container, close the lid and decorate with a ribbon, and you’re done!
If you start on this fun project early enough, you can give it as an early Christmas present so the recipient can add this special touch to their tree. These one-of-a-kind decorations are sure to remind them of your love and care each time they look at their tree!
Materials needed: Salt, flour, water, acrylic paint, brushes, varnish (clear nail polish is fine), ribbon or twine, glue, glitter
Directions: Mix the salt, flour and water and use cookie-cutter molds to create your desired shapes. (Detailed instructions at www.makeitandmendit.com/how-to-make-salt-dough-christmas-decorations/). Give each ornament a generous coat or two of paint. For added bling, dip in glue and sprinkle with glitter. Seal it all in with varnish and finish with a loop of ribbon or twine to hang it up!
#5 All wrapped up
Don’t settle for mediocre wrapping services and free (boring) wrappers which are a mainstay in most departmental stores at Christmas. Challenge yourself by making our own wrapping paper this year!
Materials needed: Mahjong or brown paper, assortment of hard vegetables, knife, paint
Directions: Cut the vegetable in half, then cut desired design out on the flat cross-section. Vegetables like carrots and potatoes are the easiest to work with. Don’t cut anything too complicated – simple triangles, arrows or diamond shapes work best. You can also get nice patterns from the cross sections of onions or the edges of celery stalks. Guide your child to paint the raised sections and press the vegetable pieces on the paper to create a pattern. You can be as organized (straight, neat rows) or as random (haphazard prints) as you’d like. You can use one colour, or a whole kaleidoscope of them! Let paint dry completely before using the paper to wrap your gifts!
By Dorothea Chow