This time of year the blog world is inundated with Do It Yourself gift ideas so I decided I would share what we are doing this year for our cards and gifts too. As a Do-It-Yourself family, we like to try to make gifts each year, at least some. In addition to being a budget-friendly option (in most cases) I think it’s more personal.
I was just discussing with a friend about how we live in a “get it right now” society so many times everyone has what they want or need. So, additionally, a personalize, hand-made gift is also something that is well-received and helps people not have to figure out what a person wants and hasn’t already gotten for themselves.
Here are some things we are making this year for friends and family:
Last year we made Chocolate-peppermint lotion so this year we decided to try our hand at moisturizing soap. In addition to smelling heavenly, they are pretty. We are excited to share this with our friends and family and what’s great is that since there is no worrying about melting in double burners on the stove, it’s very easy for the kids to work out with little supervision once they get the hang of it.
What you need:
- Cocoa Butter
- Shea Butter
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Red Liquid Soap Colorant
- Soap Mold
- Toothpicks or Knife
Directions: Cut shea butter into cubes and put into microwavable bowl for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add cocoa butter. Stir until well blended. And about 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil (add a few, stir and then smell to get to desired scent). Pour small amount into molds. Add 1-3 drops of red colorant, swirl with knife or toothpick, add more mixture on top to half full, add 2-3 drops of colorant, swirl with knife or toothpick, pour mixture into mold to top, add 2-3 drops of colorant, swirl with knife or toothpick. Repeat with each mold. Set aside to harden. Remove from mold once hardened. Now you have chocolate peppermint holiday soap ready to wrap for a gift.
Thumb-Print Christmas Tree Cards
For the cards we are putting on the gifts (and sending out with photos to share), we are making homemade thumb print holiday cards. They are so easy to make. You can make them as personal or generic as you want. We have all the kids add their fingerprints so they are all on there (we also keep one as an ornament but tearing off the front page, cutting close to the tree, and then putting a piece of ribbon through a hole-punched hole on the top and hanging on the tree.
What you need:
Direction: Take cardstock in desired color (we used white) and fold in half. Cut along fold line. Fold in half again. (2 cards per 8.5”x11” cardstock piece of paper). On the front of the card, locate the middle and draw a thin pencil line as the trunk of the tree. Take the marker and draw over the line to make a tree trunk in desired color (we used traditional brown). Now get tempura paint in desired color or colors (we used 2 shades of green for the older kids and red for the baby). Have the first child thumb or fingerprint into the color of choice and then neatly press into several spots along the trunk of the tree. I had the oldest do the outline of the tree to get the right spacing. Have second child thumb or finger print the next color. I had the second child fill in the greenery with the second green color. Then have the next child (or same child, different finger) thumb or finger print into the next color (in our case, the red) and add “decoration” to the tree. Voila! A decorated Christmas tree. You can add a silver or gold thumbprint to the top of the tree or draw an Angel or even add an angel sticker. Have the children add a Bible verse or personal message on the inside and sign the card. We signed the card within the outline of the tree on the inside of the front cover and put the year. This way, if the recipient wants to cut out the tree and hang it as an ornament, the children’s signature and year is on the back of the tree.
Fizzy Bath Bombs
My daughter decided that making fizzy bath bombs would be fun. She recently discovered them and decided that this would be fun to make and give. So…we decided to give it a try. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s really easier than it seems and you can get everything you need pretty quickly and easily.
What you need:
- 1 cup Baking Soda
- ¾ cup Corn Starch
- ¼ cup Epsom Salt (or Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt)
- 1 cup Citric Acid
- 10 drops Carrot Juice (to make peach) or Beet Juice (to make pink) (or you can use food coloring)
- 10-20 drops of Essential Oils (your choice – we used Lavender for stress away fizzy or nighttime fizzy or Eucalyptus for winter congestion or Peppermint for headache or any blend you like, tea tree is great too!)
- Spray Bottle (to put coloring mixed with water)
- Molds (to shape the bombs – you can use muffin tins if you don’t have fun molds – here are some we have used: Hearts, Flowers, and Dinosaurs )
Directions: Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and stir together. Combine 10 drops of coloring (carrot juice, beet juice or food coloring) with a little bit of water in your spray bottle. Spritz your dry mixture slowly (too much water will make it fizz and then it won’t fizz in the bath later). Add a few drops of essential oils and mix everything together until the color is even. Press the misture into the molds. Let dry overnight. Pop out bombs in the morning and they are ready to wrap (or for use). Great paired with homemade soap or lotion or a bath toy for a child or a candle for a mom.
These are just a few ideas that we are using this year.
Do you have a favorite homemade gift for your kids?