Written by contributor Melissa Camara Wilkins.
Thanksgiving is upon us in the U.S., which means that this weekend is the traditional time to stay at home, hiding from the holiday shoppers. (Just me?) What better time to work on homemade Christmas gifts?
My kids will be 12, 9, 6, 5, and 2 this Christmas, so I need gifts for all ages, but I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the making. I need ideas that are super simple, quick and easy. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
With short ribbons, this could be a teething toy; with longer ribbons, an older kiddo can use it the same way they would use a streamer on a wand. As the child runs and spins and dances, holding the ring, the ribbons twirl out behind them.
- Use a soft cloth to rub the ring with food-safe beeswax finish, if desired. (Use just a little! You don’t want the wood to be oily, just smooth and sealed.)
- Wrap each ribbon around the ring a few times, then tie. I left the ribbon ends long; they’re each about 18”. In total, I used three yards of ribbon.
- Cut ends at an angle if the ribbon tends to unravel.
Colored Alphabet Stones
After seeing these place setting stones, I decided to make a alphabet stones. Now I just need a cute little drawstring bag to store them in.
- Polymer clay
- Alphabet stamps
- Roll clay into balls, then use the palm of your hand or the smooth bottom of a glass to flatten each stone.
- Press a letter stamp into each one, creating your own little alphabet.
- Leave to air-dry or bake, according to the instructions on the clay’s package.
Mine are highly imperfect, which I think is just right.
At only 1” in diameter, these would be choking hazards, so I won’t be giving them to toddlers who still mouth things. (To check if something is big enough to give to a toddler—a great idea, if you’re making your own toys—I would use one of these choking hazard checkers.)
Colored Pencil Holder
Everyone needs somewhere to store their colored pencils, and this block makes it easy to find the color you’re looking for. When I saw these for sale, I knew we could make our own.
This one is only super simple IF you already own a drill and sander. If not: feel free to put your fingers in your ears and sing la-la-la as you skip on to the next idea.
- Block of wood (Mine is a 4×4, 18” long. If you ask at the hardware store, they’ll usually cut wood to size for you before you take it home.)
- Sand paper
- Paint (optional)
- Cut your wood piece to size, if you didn’t have it cut when you bought it.
- Sand those sides till they’re smooth and beautiful. I chose to use pine, which is inexpensive but requires a lot of sanding. A LOT.
- Mark with a pencil where you want your holes to go, then drill each one about two inches deep. My pencils are 1/4” thick, so the drill bit we chose was just a little bit bigger: 5/16″.
- Paint or decorate however you like, or leave it naturally simple. I taped off the end of mine to leave a nice straight line, then painted it for a colorblocked effect.
This could easily be a marker or crayon holder instead—just drill holes wide enough for whatever you want to display.
Jelly Bean Bracelets
One last idea, perfect for stuffing stockings! I first saw this idea on Pinterest, but the original poster has taken down her blog post, so we’ll come up with our own method.
- Jelly beans (Trader Joe’s has naturally flavored and colored ones!)
- Sewing needle
- Elastic thread
- Damp paper towel
- String the needle with elastic thread.
- Push needle right through the center of the jellybeans, one at a time. You might want to experiment with different needle sizes, depending on the size of your beans. I used a big old 3″ doll-making needle.
- The needle will get sticky, so wipe it off with a damp paper towel as needed.
- When you have enough jelly beans to fit around a little wrist, tie it off.
That’s it, you’re done!