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Gifts from the Kids

As the holidays quickly approach, are your kids scrounging to buy gifts they can’t afford? If so, offer them these fun ideas to make gifts from the heart.

Tell a story with photos. Create a memory page to add to a friend’s or relative’s scrapbook. Buy a package of blank scrapbook pages, then choose a theme such as ‘my best friend,' ‘sports car shows,’ or ‘when I was little.’ Design each page using stickers, markers, colored pencils, construction paper, photos, magazine pictures, and fun sayings or descriptions that fit the chosen theme.

Service coupons. Offer members in the family a free evening of babysitting, a week of taking out the trash and recycling, making a sibling’s bed for a week, pet-sitting or cleaning the cat litter for a week, snow shovelling, ironing, or other household tasks your children can do.

Shape decorative soaps. Grate bars of inexpensive white soap, then mix approximately half a cup of warm water with a cup of shredded soap. Add food coloring to the water to create colored soap. Knead the mixture. Add additional warm water, as necessary, until it forms like dough. Next, fill cookie cutters with the mixture or flatten it on a sheet of waxed paper, and trim into shapes. Let the soap dry slightly, then press with small leaves or other designs. Allow the decorative soaps to dry for 24 hours, flipping them occasionally.

Design your own pens and pencils. Purchase sheets of large white labels and cut them into one-and-a-half inch strips. Design the pieces with colored markers, then wrap the design around the length of the pens or pencils. Personalize them by adding a smaller label to the centre of the pencil with ‘World’s Greatest Grandma’ or another catchy phrase. To protect your pencil design, wrap it with transparent scotch tape.

Make a placemat. Choose a subject of interest to the gift recipient, such as model cars or Barbie dolls. Clip pictures from magazines and catalogues, then glue them to an 11” x 17” sheet of paper. Overlap the images to create a collage or spread them apart and share details about each. When complete, laminate the design with self-adhesive laminating sheets or have it laminated at an office supply store.

Create bookmarks. Cut colored paper into 2” x 7” strips, then design the pieces with colored pencils and markers, or clip fancy borders from magazines. Find out your gift recipient’s favorite author, artist, or historical figure, then look the person up in a book of quotations or search online. Select a quote, type or write it out, and add it to the bookmark. Laminate the personalized bookmark for protection.

Give magnetic photos. Cut a piece of cardboard from a cereal box to match the size of your photo, then glue it to the back of the photo for support. Last, glue a small magnet to the cardboard. Now you have a photo magnet!

Fashion a holiday pin. Buy a package of large safety pins and a small bag of multi-colored beads. Open one safety pin, then dangle several safety pins onto it through the eye at the bottom of the safety pins. Close the open pin, then thread colored beads onto the dangling safety pins. You can design a Christmas tree, heart, flag, or whatever your imagination desires!

Construct a puzzle photo frame. Cut a piece of firm cardboard to your desired size of the frame, then have an adult trim out the centre with a razor knife, leaving a 1” to 2” thick frame. Next, trace the outside edge of your frame onto another piece of thin cardboard, and cut it out. Place a sheet of colored paper between the two pieces of cardboard. Next, glue the paper and two pieces of cardboard together. Glue jigsaw puzzle pieces around the frame, overlapping each other to cover the entire thickness of the frame. Let the frame dry, then brush a layer of glue over the puzzle pieces to prevent them from falling off. Stick your photo in the opening of the frame with double-sided tape.

Give a poster. Find out your friend’s or sibling’s favorite musician, actor, athlete, etc., then tear three or four full-page photographs or pictures from magazines or print from the Web. Trim the tattered edge, then laminate for a durable glossy poster.

Compose a memory book. Buy a composition book from an office supply store. Cover it with construction paper, then design and decorate the cover. Inside, write your memories of special times you’ve had with the person to whom you’ll present it. Memories might include a trip to the zoo, a favorite holiday celebration, a special gift, something funny, and lots of other experiences you’ve had together.

Produce glitter pens. Buy a package of pens and different colors of glitter. To get started, pour glue onto a sheet of waxed paper, then roll one side of the pen lightly in the glue, leaving one inch from the tip without glue. Coat the pen with glitter, and then let it dry. When the glue dries, repeat these steps on the other side of the pen.

Kimberly is a freelance lifestyle writer. She’s also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an internet marketing agency,

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