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Holiday and Christmas Gifts Theme and Activities

Even very young children are often seasoned gift receivers, but may have never given a gift before. The holiday season is a super opportunity for children to learn the joy of giving. Early homemade presents become treasured artifacts of love and family history. My mother still saves a Valentine's Day card. I must have made this card when I was just learning to write as the inside message reads, "Dear Mom, I love you very mush". Simple, with crude artwork and misspelling, it sits in a box and lives in her heart. Santa does not have to be the only one giving presents this Christmas. Of course many of these ideas can be used for any occasion.

Photos and Momento Gifts

Craft Stick Frame
Popsickle sticks or tongue depressers can be glued to form a simple frame. Finished frame can be left plain, painted or decorated with tissue paper, glitter and fabric scraps. Add a photo or the child's art work.

Cute as a Button Photo Frame
You can start with a cheap frame of make one from sturdy cardboard or craft sticks. Attach the lettering "I am cute as a button!" to the top of the frame and allow children to choose from a variety of small buttons to glue around the perimeter of the frame.

Silhouette Picture
Tape a large sheet of white paper on the wall. Have child sit sideways on a chair three to four feet away from the wall. Shine a bright light on the child from a few feet behind them so their shawdow is cast on the paper. A projector works well for this. Simply trace around the shawdow. You can do a full size body portrait by having the child lay down on a large strip of white butcher paper and tracing around the body. The look nice plain or decorated by the child.

Placemat
Save a cherished drawing or painting by mounting it onto hard cardboard and covering with laminate or clear contact paper.

Ornaments

Hanging Lids
Punch a hole in the lid of a frozen juice can and allow children to decorate with a variety of craft materials.

Beaded Wreath or Candy Cane Ornaments
Form the desired shape of a ring or hook with a pipe cleaner. Allow older children to string on colored tricolor beads. By alternating red and white beads on the hook, a candy cane is made. Simply bend over the last section of the pipe cleaner to secure. Attach a red ribbon to a ring of green beads for the wreath.

Lacy Balls
Mix 1/3 white craft glue with 2/3 liquid laundry starch. Dip yarn into this mixture and drape around a small inflated balloon. Repeat with additonal yarn strands until a desired pattern or design is created. Once the yarn is dry, pop and remove the balloon.

Homemade Clay Ornaments

Add salt into the warm water and stir. When cool, add flour and knead for 8-10 minutes. Create figures or roll out and use cookie cutters. Be sure to leave a hold in the top for hanging. Bake at 325 apx. 45 minutes(until all the moisture is gone). Paint the ornaments when they are cool.