Homemade Presents- Forget the Pomander

As those of you know who read about the “sheep” costume made by/for a young daughter at Halloween, I’m a big believer in home-made celebrations.  It’s fun for kids, a great way to hold out against commercialization, and terrific for grandparents who have pretty much all that they need.

That said, coming up with gifts that can be made by very young children can be difficult.  Of course, there’s always the picture–the child’s painting or drawing which can be framed, or better yet, converted (commercially) into a plate or mug.   (My mother-in-law had a beautiful hors d’oevre plate emblazoned with a vivid shooting scene made by a young grandson, for example.)

But my kids and I tried to come up with things that could be completely made at home.

Our first effort was a set of “pomanders”.  These are those oranges stuck with cloves.  Supposedly, people like to stick them in drawers to make the drawers smell nice (and not just to hide the pomanders.)

Pomanders are not a terribly satisfying gift.  For one thing, they are much harder to make than they look.  This is probably not surprising because they look incredibly unimpressive.

We moved on from pomanders to home-made Christmas ornaments.  Did you know that you can bake playdoh?  You can, but shouldn’t.

If you do not heed this warning (let’s say, because you have no viable sense of smell), you can make some hard-baked cute little blue animals and yellow stars.  Remember to leave holes for strings or ribbons with a scissors point or sharp pencil before baking.

Ornaments made from cardboard, colored foil, and glitter (lots and lots and lots of glitter), instead of playdoh,  might work out better if you ever want to use your oven again.

Speaking of baking, one of our most enterprising home-made gifts was a gingerbread house.   My kids did a few of these at school fairs with graham crakers, canned frosting, and all kinds of gumdrops.   These were pretty artificial constructions, however, built with artificial stuff over milk cartons; strictly inedible.   Finally, we graduated to the real thing.  A gingerbread house baked from dough rolled out into matching rectangles, i.e. walls.

The walls were to be stuck together with sugar glue, not elmers, and, most impressively, were to have stained glass windows, made from powdered hard candy.  (Put the hard candy in plastic wrap and hit it with a hammer.)

The project was both amazingly time-consuming and nervewracking.  A great deal of extra frosting and an unexpected interior wall was needed in the end, as were several books to hold the walls in place until all the sugar and frosting cemented (about twelvehours)

The end result was amazing.  A lit candle could be put inside, and the stained glass windows (not blocked by the unanticipated interior wall) shimmered.  It also, eventually, tasted quite good.  (Gingerbread has a long shelf life.)

As a final note, if you can’t manage a homemade present, kids can at least make wrapping paper.  Potatoes can be carved into great printing tools,  fingerpaint substituting for ink.    (If the potatoes don’t work, “hand” fingerprinted wrapping paper is also pretty terrific.)

Explore posts in the same categories: parenting, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: