From the Heart: Handmade Holiday Gifts


I don’t know about you, but the holidays always make me want to make things! With more and more days being spent indoors now that it’s getting colder and darker out earlier in the day, making handmade holiday gifts with the kids are a perfect activity to have fun while also crossing off a few gifts from your holiday lists


Here are a few holiday gifts that you can make at home that will bring smiles to your loved ones faces when they see that little hands made them from the heart!

1. Ornaments – I made these thumbprint reindeer ornaments last year and gave out as gifts to all grandparents. They could be made with any color ornament and you could even tie a bow at the top. Watch out for when clear or solid colored ornaments are on sale, grab a box and let your imagination run wild. These fingerprint lightbulb ornaments also look fun.

2. Mason Jar filled with Homemade Granola – Cut circles of fabric to put on the top of the mason jar and print out labels with ingredients for each jar. Recipe is as follows and makes about 7 cups: 3 cups old-fashioned rolled  oats, 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds hulled, 1 cup raw sunflower seeds hulled, 1 cup unsweetened coconut  chips, 1 1/4 cup raw pecans left  whole or coarsely chopped, 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup packed light-brown  sugar, and coarse salt. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans, syrup, olive oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl  and mix until well combined. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a  rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45 minutes. Remove granola from oven and season with more salt to taste. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an  airtight container for up to 1 month.

Here is another recipe and a great idea how to decorate the jar and make a label. If granola isn’t up your alley, cookies are always a good idea and you can gift them in inexpensive holiday themed tins from a dollar store or Christmas Tree Shop!

3. Footprint and Handprint Canvases – Buy a canvas, some paint, and go crazy! Here are some festive ideas.

4. Greeting Cards – There is nothing better than getting a handmade card! Grandparents can even frame cards to hang up for decorations for holidays to come – or better yet, offer to take the card and frame it for them! Here are some simple ideas.

5. Frames – The frames can be for tabletop, wall, or to hang on a tree. You just need blank frames, paint, and pictures. I love this colorful lightbulb fingerprint frame.

6. Pictures – One of my favorite holiday pastimes is to take pictures of my girls with a string of lights. The pictures make great gifts…you could even pair the picture with a homemade frame! The idea is simple – get the kids dressed, plug in a string of lights, and snap away. They don’t even need to be looking and, in fact, these pictures come out even better when they aren’t looking! Tell them a joke to get them smiling and laughing, and you’ve got the perfect holiday gift that can be looked back on for many years. Another fun idea is to have them reading a holiday book in front of the tree and the lights! handmade gifts

7. WreathsHere is a simple wreath made from tissue paper and cardboard.

A few tips when crafting with kids:

  • If you really love it, make an extra one so that you can have one too – may as well make an extra while you’re making a mess.
  • Don’t forget to add initials and year of creation.
  • For anything that involves little fingers and paint or you have to write something, test it out on a paper plate first so you can perfect your technique!
  • Another tip for when you’re putting paint on little fingers and toes, rather than dip them in the paint, paint them on. You’ll get a clearer image and it’s easier for cleanup later on.
  • If you’re cooking or baking, it may get messy, but that is half of the fun, so let go and enjoy it.

What are your favorite homemade gifts that you have you made with your kids or received as a gift? Please share, we’d love to get more ideas!

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Aarika Friend
Aarika lives in Trumbull with her husband, two daughters (2013 and 2015), and son (2020). Originally from Ulster County, NY, she fell in love with her husband at a UConn football game when she told him he had nice biceps and the rest is history. Outside of work and motherhood, she enjoys eating good food, sharing a drink with friends, summer days spent at Pinewood Lake or on vacation in Cape Cod, and mindlessly streaming too many shows with her husband. Her favorite time of day is early morning before her kids wake up with a hot cup of coffee and a good book.



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