Christmas gifts to make

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Craft present can become treasured Christmas memories.
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Save money and spend time with your family this holiday

With the holiday season drawing near, chances are you're starting to make lists and pull out the credit card. Before you swipe the card too many times, think about making your own gifts. You can save some money and create an original gift. With a little inspiration, you can find the perfect homemade gift for teachers, relatives and friends. Here are some ideas for Christmas gifts to make.

Homemade Family Videos

If you have relatives and friends that live far away, you can send them a home video. Have each person in the family plan a short piece. Children may want to sing, dance or make their own costumes. Then record each family member. Send the video as a gift. You may also want to have a "movie" night after you film the video, starring the family. Make popcorn and enjoy each others company. This is a good way to spend time together while getting ready for the holidays.

Family Recipe and Photo Album

Gather old family photographs. Search for pictures of great-grandparents and other distant relatives. Scan the photos and arrange them in a photo album. Paste copies of family recipes around the pictures. This makes a memorable family gift. You may want to make a number of albums and distribute them to various relatives.

Family Tree Sweatshirt

Materials: 1 sweatshirt 1 sponge or paintbrush Green, brown, black fabric paint Scotch tape Cardboard

Instructions: Wash and dry the sweatshirt. Do not use a fabric softener. Place tape on the sweatshirt where the names will appear. Place cardboard inside of sweatshirt. Use the green paint to paint on leaves. Let dry. Remove the tape. Take the black paint and write in the names. Let dry. Take the brown paint and make the trunk and branches. Let dry. Add any desired touches.

Sand Art Brownies

Ingredients: 3/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 + 1/8 cup flour 1/3 cup cocoa 1/2 cup flour 2/3 cup brown sugar 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup vanilla chips 1/2 cup nuts

Instructions: Take a wide mouth quart jar and add the ingredients in the order they appear. Do not mix the ingredients! The result should look like layers of different colored sand. Place the cover on the jar. Be sure to include a tag with the following baking instructions:

Add the following to the contents of the jar: 1 tsp. vanilla 2/3 cup vegetable oil 3 eggs

Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 27-32 minutes.

Stress Ball

Materials: Small balloon Cornstarch Funnel

Instructions: Blow up the balloon, but do not tie it. Pinch the top of the balloon an inch from the hole. Have another person place the funnel inside the opening of the balloon. Pour cornstarch into the funnel. The person holding the balloon should ease their grip on the top, allowing the cornstarch to slide into the balloon. Keep adding cornstarch to the funnel until the balloon reaches the desired size. It should fit comfortably in a hand, and the balloon should feel tight, but not too stretched. When you are finished, tie the balloon.

Potpourri Gel Jars

Materials: Jars with lids 2 cups distilled water 4 packages of Knox gelatin 50 drops of potpourri oil (scent of your choice) Food coloring

Instructions: Heat one cup of the distilled water in a saucepan. Add the food coloring. Remove from heat. Add the remaining cup of distilled water and the gelatin. Stir to dissolve.

Divide the drops of oil into the jars (wide mouth jelly jars or canning jars work best). Add the gelatin mixture to the jars. Place the jars in the refrigerator for two hours.

Remove the jars from the refrigerator. Cover them with plastic wrap or place the lids on the jars. Decorate the jars with fabric, ribbons, lace or silk flowers. Store at room temperature. To release the scent, remove the lid or plastic wrap.

Reindeer Candy Holder

Materials: Small baby food jar Brown felt 2 small twigs 2 wiggly eyes Large brown pom-pom Nose and mouth pom-poms Tape Glue

Instructions: Cut two ear shapes out of brown felt. Cut out a piece of felt to wrap around the jar. Gather the bottom, straight edge of the ear so it resembles a diamond shape. Attach the ears and the twigs, which will be the antlers, to the jar using tape. Being generous with the glue, attach the piece of felt you cut earlier to the jar to cover the tape and the ends of the ears and antlers. Place the large brown pom-pom on the deer. Glue the nose and mouth pom-pom on to the large brown one. Add wiggly eyes. Fill with candy or nuts.

These are just a few ideas for Christmas gifts to make. By making these gifts with others, you will be able to spend quality time together during the Christmas season. Then watch the faces of your loved ones light up when they see how much thought you put into their gifts. It may be enough to make you think about which Christmas gifts to make for next year.

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