Have your child draw illustrations and dictate his or her favorite memories of/with the recipient and put it into a binder along with photos to make a very special gift book. Resist the urge to correct misspellings or funny comments; that’s part of what makes this gift endearing.
2. Anything from your kitchen.
Cookies, jams, fudge, quick breads, your famous spaghetti or barbecue sauce, your special trail mix. Or a kit with the makings for something yummy, tied with a ribbon, like your perfect pancakes or scrumptious seven bean soup. Have your child draw a personalized label.
3. Personalized cookbook.
Your recipes, your child’s comments and drawings, in a binder. To make it fancier, include family photos; for instance, accompany Aunt Ann’s famous cornbread recipe with her photo.
4. Thank you cards.
Have your kids dictate thank you messages detailing their appreciation to everyone whose presence enriches their life all year long.
5. Handmade bath salts.
Just mix Epsom salts or Kosher salt with essential oils, fragrance, and food coloring. Pour into recycled jars and print out a nice label, or better yet, have your child draw one.
Add crayon chips to plain paraffin wax and dip wicks in to make hand-dipped candles. Or just let the kids decorate store-bought candles.
7. Picture frames.
Glitter, paint, glue-on shells. And of course add a terrific photo of the artist.
8. Homemade calendars.
…with photos of the kids, of course.
9. Tie-dyed teeshirts, sheets, etc.
You can find lots of instructions and inspiration online for colorful tie-dying.
10. Canvas bags.
Give your kids indelible cloth markers (good to work on a cookie sheet to contain the markers) or use iron-on designs.
For grandparents, a framed picture drawn by a grandchild is the perfect present. Make sure your child adds the date and his age. As an alternative that will be used and treasured for years, make coffee mugs with kids’ drawings.
12. For friends and cousins.
The possibilities are endless: bubbles, homemade clay, finger paints, puppets, a kit of dress-up items, a kit of cool art supplies, a book of photos in a three ring binder with laminated pages that you and your kids create together that details how much your child loves his or her cousins and all the things they do together.