• KISS Tips!: Kids Can Easily Create Handmade Christmas Gifts

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    From Charlie Brown to the Grinch, children are taught Christmas and the holidays in general mean more than just gifts purchased from a store. From friends to grandparents, kids can give with easy to make crafts that will mean more than something they had to break the piggy bank to purchase.

    One gift that can be for just about anyone is cookies. Younger children will need a little help from parents for oven use, but all can mix the ingredients, shape the cookies and decorate them. Cookies can be made from scratch using a favorite recipe, or mix packets can be purchased at the grocery store.

    Once the cookies are completed, kids can even make their own packaging using paper lunch bags. Kids can decorate the bags any way they’d like, then place the cookies inside. For a decorative finish, fold the top down twice, punch a couple of holes and tie a ribbon through the holes.

    Other gifts kids can make are:

    Friendship bracelets are great gifts for friends, especially when made using the friend’s favorite colors. If the child doesn’t already have a supply of lanyard or embroidery floss to knot into bracelets, the items can be purchased at a craft store.

    Memory books can be made for either friends or grandparents. Kids simply print out their favorite photos and place them in the book like a scrapbook. To make the book, simply take the desired amount of construction paper and staple one side to make a book. To attach the pages, kids can also punch holes along one side and string a ribbon through the holes, making sure to knot each end.

    Handprint art is something parents and grandparents will treasure. The art can be made using paint or construction paper to form several hand prints into a wreath or a snowflake. For the paint version of the project, use an old, light-colored tablecloth, sheet or shirt and cut it into about a yard long and two feet wide. Try to center the hand print design as much as possible, and be sure to paint or write with permanent marker somewhere whose hands made the art and the year. So it can be hung, find a stick or a dowel just longer than two feet, fold and glue the top portion of the fabric around it and add a ribbon by tying it on each end of the stick.

    Toy buildings can be a great addition to a cousin’s train set. A child can create a village of buildings to give after a dive into the recycling. Different shaped boxes can easily be transformed into houses, barns and even skyscrapers using a variety of mediums from paint to paper to fabric. Plastic bottles can even be transformed into silos and trees.

    Scarves can be easy to make, especially if the child knows how to knit or crochet. If not, a child can still make a simple scarf using a long piece of felt (at least yard) cut to about six inches wide. Slits can be cut across the two ends, and adjacent tabs can be knotted for a more finished look. Infinity scarves can also be made using the bottom half of an old t-shirt. Just cut below the arm and above the hem. For a stringy scarf, cut long slits from one side, not quite reaching the other side. Then, pull on both sides, stretching it out to an original infinity scarf.

    Craft stores have a great selection of holiday-themed crafts under $5, and many under $2. All kids have to do is assemble and paint or color with markers or crayons.

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