While it's fun to open presents, it's often even more fun to give presents. There is nothing like the feeling of carefully choosing a gift for someone, anticipating their joy in receiving it and seeing the smile on their face when they open it.
This is just as true for kids as it is for adults!
Here are some phrases to use to help your child get started:
1."Would you like to paint ornaments or make handprint ornaments?"
For a very young child, you'll likely want to provide them with two or three options of gifts to give. Explain to them that one way they can show their love for someone is by making them a gift. Then let them choose between a couple of options. Make sure to choose things that they can really take ownership of. If finger painting is the only crafty skill in their repertoire at the moment, go with that!
2. "Let's think about what Aunt Sally likes."
For an older child, make a list together of everyone they want to give presents to. Then make a list of things that person likes.
If Aunt Sally likes cats, maybe your child will want to paint her a picture of a cat or decorate a homemade card with cat stickers.
If big sister loves blocks, maybe your child will want to paint some stones or wood pieces to make some nature-themed blocks for her. Thoughtful gifts can be very simple.
3. "What supplies will we need?"
Once you've chosen a gift to make, let your child lead the way in planning the supplies and process. Of course you'll want to help them if they forget something major, but include them in the planning process.
Help them think through the project from beginning to end, look through the art supplies they already have, and make a list of what you'll need to acquire.
4. "Let's look through this cookbook and choose something to make for everyone."
If you're not crafty, baking something to gift to others is a great activity to do with your child. Let them help choose a recipe to give them more ownership over the experience. Even young toddlers can help dump and mix ingredients. They can also help decorate a pretty box with stickers to put the cookies in. Let's get creative!
5. "Which photo do you think Grandma would like the best?"
Another great non-crafty, non-time consuming option is a photo of your child. Bonus points if it's with the relative the gift is for. Let your child help by choosing their favorite photo. They can also decorate a frame if you wish!
6. "Can you think of something you could do for Dad as a gift?"
Since there is value in giving and receiving experiences rather than things, why not start our kids out early thinking this way?
Help them think of something they could do for or with another person that would be a good gift. This could be cooking dinner for Dad, making their sister's bed for a month, or helping prepare a picnic for an aunt or uncle. Make a little card detailing the gift and let your child decorate it. This has obvious value as a last-minute, avoiding the mall on Christmas Eve type gift too.
7. "I'll show you how, then you can do it by yourself."
To make it really meaningful for your child, make sure you let them take charge of whatever homemade holiday gift you choose. Don't worry about it looking Pinterest-worthy—the thing that makes it precious is that your child made it, so it's okay if it looks a little rough around the edges! Try showing your child how to complete the project and then letting them do it totally on their own without hovering too much.
8. "Let's take a photo!"
One way to make the gift extra special for whoever receives it is to take a photo of your child creating it and include the photo with the gift. You can also start a little photo album for your child of their annual homemade gifts, something they will surely cherish when they're older!
9. "How much money will you need to earn to buy these things?"
If your child is older and has an allowance or earns money doing chores, you may want to give them the choice of making or buying gifts. You could provide opportunities for them to earn money for holiday gifts through doing extra chores, perhaps for a neighbor or friend. Help them make a list of what they want to buy and budget how much they'll need to save.
10. "How should we decorate the wrapping paper?"
While there are all sorts of fancy wrapping paper, there is nothing more beautiful than something wrapped by a child. Even if your child isn't old enough to attempt wrapping a gift yet, they can help make homemade wrapping paper!
Just use butcher paper and let them paint it or decorate with markers or stickers. If you want it to look a little more streamlined, you can let them use holiday stamps.Making homemade gifts can seem overwhelming, but don't be afraid to keep it super simple. The important thing to your child is the experience.