Every year, parents of young children wonder how to give a one-of-a-kind practical gift that would be well received. For the grandparent or great aunt, teacher or coach, the answer is found in our child’s artistic abilities. Beautiful and bright pictures hang on our refrigerator and doors and framed in our hallways and guest rooms. Each one provides a feeling of warmth and beauty. Why not take your child’s vision of the world and apply it to a gift that will be instantly loved? Children also want to participate in the season of giving. In offering a gift of time and creativity, children can return love or appreciation to the special individuals who add to their happiness, growth, education, or talent all year long.
The Personalized Tote Bag
From carrying books, to other daily needs, everyone has a use for a tote bag. Imagine the surprise when the recipient unwraps a canvas bag that has a personalized design. Undoubtedly, this gift will be instantly loved!
Suggestions: The meticulous artist may appreciate applying a pencil sketch or stencil before using permanent markers. Also, place a piece of cardboard inside the bag to prevent the colors from bleeding through. (Using cardboard to protect the table also is advisable.)
Hand-Painted Picture Frames
Color often grabs our attention, especially a display of bright colors. The gift of a child’s picture may appear pushy or impersonal; however, a hand-painted frame is priceless.
Suggestions: A craft store usually carries a pack of three to five wooden picture frames; the perfect “canvas” for a child to paint a unique picture on. Ideas could include a starry night, trees and flowers, a rainbow, or patterns of swirls, lines, or circles.
Wrapping Candles or Mason Jars
Panoramic pictures are the perfect design to spice up a candle or Mason jar. It will entice the holder to the spin the container in full circles. If thinking about creating a winter or Christmas theme, ivory or white tissue paper serves as the perfect natural backdrop. (Please know in advance, this project requires a gentle hand to ensure the fragile paper is not torn.) You may decide to fill the Mason jars with ingredients to make hot chocolate or cookies, or perhaps a small candle. (While this project is simple, the outcome is simply beautiful.)
Tips: To know the width of the tissue paper, measure the body of the candle or Mason jar, not including the neck, and cut with an inch of overlapping space. After the design is drawn with colored pencils, crayons, or thin markers, it is advisable to glue one end directly onto the container, before wrapping semi-tightly and gluing. This helps keep the paper from slipping For permanence, spray a crystal-clear acrylic coat over the tissue paper. Drying time will take over 15 minutes.
Personalized Key Chains
Older elementary-aged children would love the meticulous care required to design these personalized key chains. All it takes is an old credit card and a creative imagination. (Applying scratches will destroy the magnetic strip.) Consider using an old or current photograph of the recipient, which could serve as the base. Decorate with adhesive stickers before applying a water-base glue and finish sealer called “Mod Podge.”
Tips: This project requires stages and steps. First, think where the grommet will be placed, ensuring it will not interfere with your picture or decorations. (You will need to buy grommets and chains.) Each piece needs to be placed before it is glued. Allow the front to dry completely; then, create a backside. Mod Podge is easy to use, and thankfully each coat dries quickly.
Words from the heart have a great impact, especially when they are conveyed in a beautiful handmade card. While spelling is often a trivial detail, parents can provide a few key phrases in advance, such as “Merry Christmas!” and “Thank you!” Some children may choose to recite dialogue through the ease of making wavy lines. Be ready, parents, to write down each of your child’s sentences verbatim. Beautification is part of artistic desire, whether it includes pictures affiliated with the season or theme of Christmas. Never fear, parents, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. The gift is embedded deeper than paper, and connects to a child’s offering of time, creativity, and thought. Gifts created by little hands are always viewed as priceless!