A couple of years ago, during a time of dreaming with God about my life, I wrote down, “I will hand make every gift I give for Christmas.” It is a lofty goal that I haven’t quite attained, but one that I still strive for as much as I can each Christmas season.
“Why are handmade gifts so important to me?” I ask myself.
Everyone expresses love in different ways. For me, I value the thought put into the gift and taking the time to actually make it. Time is valuable, so taking the time to think about a gift and then make it with your hands equals love, at least in my mind.
There are three reasons why I encourage my kids to value handmade gifts:
Handmade gifts encourage creativity.
We serve a creative God which means that every single one of us has creativity in us. Giving handmade gifts encourages my children to create!
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
Handmade gifts help my kids to think of the recipient.
I love Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of our Savior. I love the baking, the decorating, the festiveness of the season. I think, in the spirit of Christmas, it’s easy for kids to enter into a “give me” attitude. Encouraging children to make gifts for their loved ones helps them focus their eyes on others and what might bless them.
Handmade gifts create an opportunity to give without breaking the bank.
Even if there are no pennies in the piggy bank, kids can still enjoy the blessings of handmade Christmas giving. Handmade can be heartfelt without forking out a lot of dough. The Internet is full of so many great ideas to get the wheels turning on handmade Christmas gifts. Here are a few of my handmade favorites that we’ve actually made, from left to right…
1. A painting. Give the kids a camera and have them go and take photos of things that strike their eye. Print the photos and then ask them to choose one to paint. If you’re a little leery of trusting your child with a camera, then have her choose from an assortment of photos already taken. You might just get a father-daughter masterpiece that you weren’t expecting!
2. A clock. Buy a small canvas and have the kids paint a picture or Mod Podge a printed photo on it. After it’s dry, attach clock fittings (available at most craft stores).
3. Hair clip organizer. For the budding seamstress, this project is an easy hand-sewing project. Simply cut your favorite shape out of felt, stuff with filling, pin around the shape adding a long ribbon to the bottom, and sew with embroidery thread. Add an initialed heart at the bottom for weight!
4. Silhouette collages. Have the kids paint a background on canvas, cardstock, or board. While that’s drying, take a photo of their silhouette against a white wall. After uploading it to your computer, put a piece of paper up to your screen and trace their silhouette. Have them fill the silhouette with a collage about themselves or about the receiver. This one is especially great as a gift for the grandparents!
5. Stencil napkins. Find a stencil, buy some cloth napkins, and have the kids paint the stencil using fabric paint.
My Next Best Alternative to Handmade Gifts
If I can’t give something handmade for Christmas, my next favorite go-to gift are books! I love having a stack of Christmas books easily accessible to the kids during the holidays. Two of my favorites that teach how blessed it is to give more than receive is One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham and The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. These are books that we read year after year!