We’re now over halfway through December, and the distant ringing of jingle bells is drawing closer every day (can you hear it?). By now, you’ve probably started collecting presents for family members and friends, and your closet is bursting with hidden treasures in festive wrap.
Need to keep track of who you bought for and who you need to buy for? Download our FREE Holiday Gift Planner!
If you have children, you understand the urge to try and make every holiday season their best one. But have you considered letting your child do some of the gift-giving?
According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, it’s important for children to partake in gift-giving for the following reasons:
- It builds empathy. Gift-giving demands the giver to put themselves in the shoes of the person receiving the gift, and consider what sort of gift would make this person happy.
- It helps build relationships. Giving someone a heartfelt gift helps strengthen your relationship with them. This is especially important for children who are still learning what it takes to build a lasting friendship or relationship.
- It promotes kindness. Giving someone a gift –– especially as an unprompted gesture, without expecting to receive something in return –– is the ultimate act of kindness.
- It increases overall satisfaction and well-being. Dishing out resources of your own for the satisfaction of someone else is something that has been found to promote your own, overall well-being. Giving gifts is widely thought to be more fulfilling than receiving them.
If you are a teacher or parent looking to make your child’s holiday season more about giving and less about receiving, look no further! Below I’ve included some ideas for simple and crafty DIY gifts that will engage your child’s sense of creativity and inspire them to show the people in their lives they’re appreciated.
1. Craft a letter or short story
Does your child have a knack for writing? Are you running low on time or craft supplies? Encourage your child to write a kind thank-you letter to the friend, teacher or family member they’d like to give a gift to. Then, they can add fun holiday stickers or drawings to the letter and seal it in a holiday-themed envelope. Your child could also write a short story or poem for the person they are gifting. This story can be holiday-themed and involve the person receiving the gift. One year, I wrote my mom a song for Christmas and sang it for her. Another year, I wrote a short story about my Uncle Jim hunting deer, and read it to him over Christmas dinner. There is a lot of artistic freedom that goes along with this activity, and it is bound to get your child’s creative juices flowing!
2. Make a set of coasters
Every household could use more coasters. This especially goes for coasters that are beautifully decorated or adorned with witty sayings. To help your child make coasters, you’ll need ceramic tiles, Christmas cards, scissors, hot glue, a foam sheet and more. This activity may be more time-consuming than the first, but the results are certainly worth it! Your child can personalize these coasters, tie them up in a ribbon, and give them away as a small stack. Read on about how to craft these beautiful holiday coasters here.
3. Decorate a mug
This activity only requires a Sharpie (optional), a set of paint, and a white mug. Your child can decorate a blank mug using paint and a Sharpie to write out sayings or outline drawings. This is a highly customizable activity that makes great use of your child’s imagination and requires them to ask themselves, What would this person like to see on a mug?
4. Make a candle
Nothing says it’s the holidays like the scents of sweet pine and peppermint wafting through your living room. Personally, I would never turn down a free candle. Basic jar candles only require a few items, and can be made with ease when you follow these instructions on making homemade candles for beginners. This is an activity that you and your child can do together, as it does require you to heat wax. Your child can help customize the present by selecting color, fragrance, decorative ribbons and more!
5. Make a scented sugar scrub
Because who doesn’t like smelling good? Click here for a grapefruit citrus sugar scrub recipe that only requires sugar, grapeseed oil, grapefruit essential oil, and food coloring. Once your scrub is all mixed, you can have your child pour it into a festive jar or container and decorate the outside.
Don’t forget to download our FREE Holiday Gift Planner to help you track who you have yet to create/buy a gift for and who you’ve already got covered!
Happy holidays and I hope you have a wonderful time crafting these beautiful presents with your little gift-giver(s)!
Still looking to top off your holiday shopping cart? Check out the Cardinal Rule Press website for our collection of titles that encourage positive character traits in children.
A senior in the University of Michigan-Flint’s Secondary English Teacher’s Certificate Program, Lauren is an aspiring writer and English educator. Along with interning at Cardinal Rule Press, Lauren has worked for UM-Flint’s Writing Center and student newspaper. She enjoys running, being outside, and (naturally) reading in her spare time.