In Seattle, where “News for Parents” is created, days begin to shorten dramatically this time of the year. We have lots of dreary drizzly afternoons and evenings which offer so much time to plan for holiday gifts and decorations. If your family is thinking about such homemade gifts as cookies and crafts, this is an excellent time to research recipes and do a little practicing. If you’re planning a photo gift a custom calendar, for example it’s helpful to have a few extra weeks to get all the pictures you need.
For projects that involve found items, starting now gives you the opportunity to scavenge pretty rocks, leaves, seeds and twigs on your walks and scour the house for old puzzles, buttons, charms and interesting boxes to pack everything in. This is especially important if you’ll be shipping holiday gifts, because you now only have a couple of months until Postal Service deadlines.
Some projects to consider:
- Sugar cookies or gingerbread people that your children mix up, cut out or at least decorate. If you haven’t used the recipes or mixes before, a trial run in the kitchen will provide dessert for a few evenings. Once baked, the cookies can be frozen until it’s time to send or deliver them.
- Pretty rocks that your family gathers and scrubs. Glue small flat ones to magnets and use round ones to anchor paperwhite bulbs that your family can plant next month in thrift-store vases and bowls.
- Wood scraps from the family wood shop or lumberyards that can be cut into flower presses, planter boxes or toys. Squares of 2 x 4′s can be sanded and transformed into buildings for toy towns. Create windows, doors and signs with markers, paint, rubber stamps, rub-on images from scrapbooking stores or decoupage on building images that you find in magazines.
- Paper dolls of your kids to send to their cousins. Take a full-length photograph of each child wearing underwear or a swimsuit and print it out on heavy paper. Trim the background away carefully and then laminate each figure. Make the clothes out of paper scraps, the insides of envelopes, stickers and paper doilies. Or use nonwoven interfacing that can be colored with markers and trimmed with ribbon, tiny buttons and beads.