Showing posts with label gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gifts. Show all posts

Christmas and crafts are almost synonymous.  I love making Christmas crafts with my kids at home and my school babies.  But the Christmas crafts serve a purpose--gifts for parents or gifts for teachers or church volunteers!  Read to find out 3 easy Christmas gifts I make with kids every year!

No Bake Gingerbread Ornaments

A teacher friend of mine introduced me to no bake gingerbread ornaments years ago and I've made them every year since.

In the classroom, we start these a week or two before Christmas break.  They take a few days to dry and make the room smell so super yummy!  We make the dough together and then I call back kids one at a time to cut out their gingerbread man.  Then, I write their name on the wax paper next to their ornament and we leave them out to dry and fill our room with Christmas smells!

We also make these with our kids at home the day after Thanksgiving.  And they make our kitchen smell just as yummy.  We've made these at home for 10 years and every year I keep one gingerbread ornament for our kitchen tree.  Even the very first gingerbread ornament we made still smells delicious a decade later!

You can read all the detailed steps and get the recipe for these in this no bake gingerbread ornaments blog post.

Rudolph Ornaments

Can I be honest with you?  Handprint ornaments are cute, but I'm a sucker for a craft made with wooden sticks.  That's why I love these Rudolph ornaments so much!

This one is a piece of cake for my first graders...almost.  The pipe cleaner antlers take some help for some kids with not as strong fine motor kids.  But I always have a handful of kids that are really good at twisting the antlers and walk around and help the others!

I also get premade red ribbons for the girls if they want them! :)  You can find the detailed step by step directions on this ornament in this wooden reindeer ornament blog post.

Christmas Potpourri Jars

We have about a bazillion and one people to give Christmas gifts to in our family.  Okay, I'm kidding.  Kinda.

But by the time we add up school teachers, OT/PT/ST therapists, church teachers for all the kids... it adds up!  And I don't know about you, but this momma can't afford a $20 gift basket for each one.

That's why we make Christmas potpourri jars every year for my own kids' teachers and volunteers. 

My mom has made this basic Christmas potpourri recipe since I was little.  I don't remember a Christmas without smelling stove top potpourri.  I put some on the stove starting the day after Thanksgiving when we decorate for Christmas, and every year, without fault, that smell takes me back to my childhood Christmases.  Isn't it amazing how smells do that?

When I was looking for a cheap, but thoughtful Christmas gift to give out in mass, I knew I needed to find a way to bottle up my Momma's Christmas potpourri.

I used her same basic recipe and added a few green twigs of pine or rosemary to make it prettier and every single year these gifts are a hit!  And with all the homemade Christmas candies that get exchanged each year, I love being able to give a smell!

Get the recipe and ideas for how I've packaged it over the years in this Christmas Potpourri blog post.

Painted Presents

Last, but definitely not least are painted presents.  We started this family tradition when my oldest was 3 years old and have continued it since then. I'm not big into buying Christmas cards for everyone, so this is our way of making "cards" for our family at Christmas.

I wrap all of our Christmas gifts in brown kraft paper and write names on the gifts in sharpie.  Then, once I have the gifts ready, we spend a family night painting.

We brainstorm Christmas pictures that we could paint to help the younger kids.  Then, we grab a box and get to painting.  We all paint--even Mom and Dad!  Every year I'm floored with how perfect they turn out.

For my 4 year olds, we are still doing handprint art on their boxes, but they will hopefully be able to paint on their own in the next year or two.

The grandparents LOVE this so much and keep all of their artwork from each year.  My kids talk about this every year now, and I hope it's a unique Christmas gift tradition that they always remember! You can see more closeups of presents we did a few years ago in this brown paper painted packages post.

Teacher appreciation week is just around the corner!  And because it's in Spring, I love giving flowers of some kind for Teacher appreciation.  Here are two of my favorite ways to gift flowers to teachers!

Teacher Appreciation Flower Gift

Pots of flowers are one of my favorite things to buy for myself in Spring.  And I love buying them for my mom and mother-in-law on Mother's Day and for teachers during Teacher appreciation week!

It's so easy you don't even need directions!  I just pick out a pot of flowers and add these grow tags on a wooden skewer and sign our kid's name on the back.  The one in this photo is also backed on green cardstock.

These are violas and are great for late fall or early spring in Arkansas.  For Mother's Day and Teacher Appreciation week around here I love to give pots of geraniums or impatiens because they are just so colorful and generally easy to take care of.

Teacher Appreciation Seeds Gift

I usually reserve the nice large pots of flowers for classroom teachers, but seed packets make a great small gift for teacher aids, specials teachers, or teammates! 

I grab 3 packs of seeds and tape them to a wooden skewer and put them in a small pot filled with dirt.  Then, I add the grow gift tags just like for the others and that's it!  This is an under $5 total gift that looks adorable and well thought out.

For seeds, I love to give at least one perennial packet with some annuals.  And I always look for ones that are super easy to start... like they can just be scattered in the flowerbed or pots and grow just fine.  Zinnias work great in pots and any wildflower mix looks great in larger flower beds.

Get the grow tags here and gift some spring flowers to your favorite teacher!

I love giving my kids a gift at the end of the year.  This especially worked well when we had our end of the year awards party! (Read about those parties here and here.)

One of the reasons why I love giving them so much is that I love the challenge of finding something memorable, fun, but on a budget!  After all, who here can afford to spend tons of spare cash on 25 littles?? #notme

Here are some of my favorite gift ideas for kids at the end of the year that won't break your cheap teacher bank! (And many are great for birthday favors or small random teacher gifts too!)
{affiliate links are included in this post to help feed my sweet tooth and support my corner of cyber real estate!}


This was one of my end of the year gifts the year we had a western themed awards party.  I just used rafia to tie the tag around the Root Beer bottle.  So cute and easy!  This one would also be perfect for a Root Beer loving teacher during teacher appreciation week! Find the tags HERE!

Krazy Straws

I actually used this one for Valentine gifts for my son's friends one year, but they work perfectly for the end of the year too!  I bought a bag of krazy straws for super cheap.  Then, we threaded them through the tag and they were ready to go!  Find these tags for all occasions HERE!  And krazy straws are super cheap too.  Find those HERE.


The year we had a Luau awards party, I gave leis as gifts!  The kids LOVED these!  Since then, I've updated these tags and you can grab them HERE!  Find packs of leis for cheap HERE.


Our summer countdown elf brought these one year as one of "his" gifts.  The kids opened them and wore them all day long as we worked.  It was a huge hit with the kids and helped keep learning fun those last few days before summer break!  Find these versatile tags HERE.  And get a dozen sunglasses for super cheap HERE.

What are your favorite class gifts for summer?
Looking for an adorable teacher appreciation gift that's cheap too?  I made these for our Sunday School teachers at church and they were a huge hit!  I posted this image on Instagram and had lots of people asking how I made it and about the tags.

So, I decided to put together a quick how to blog post on it with a link to the gift tags as a FREEBIE in my store!
{affiliate links are included in this post which means I get a little pocket change to feed my chocolate addiction! :)}


I got most of my materials from Wal-Mart, but have included links to where you can find them online also.  The succulent plants I used can be difficult to find in our area.  I bought them at our WM Supercenter for $2.50, but I also looked at two other Wal-Marts and couldn't find them before I finally found them at the third store! :)


1.  Cut 6 inch squares of craft for each plant.

2.  Put the plant in the middle of the craft paper square.  Pull up one corner at a time and fold the extra around the pot as you go.  

Fold them all in the same direction.  The craft paper should stick above the plant an inch or two.  

TIP: It's not necessary, but is helpful if you use hot glue or double-sided tape to tack each fold down as you go.  It can be a handful to hold all of the folds down during the next step.

3.  Find the "prettiest" side to use as the front.  When I fold mine, there is a part where to folds point toward each other to make a "V" shape.  I like to use this as the front of my plant pot because I just like the way it looks! **NOTE:  I used double stick tape and it sticks but comes loose a little.  Don't worry about this, it will all be fine when you tie it up.  We just need it to stick a little to make it easier to deal with!**

4.  Tie up the plant with twine string, putting the bow in the front.  I really wanted to use striped twine string.  I usually have black and white striped string on hand and planned to use that...
...but I was out (keeping it real!) and Wal-Mart was out of it too!! #sadface  Plus, I didn't figure all of that out until it was too late to order it online.  #doublesadface  So, I settled for just plain twine string and it still turned out great.

5.  Print the labels and cut them out with a 2" circle cutter.  I had to settle for cutting these by hand because my circle cutter was too dull to cut the paper.  I had to trash it and order a new one! :(  If you look super close, you will see the imperfections...these won't be there if you use the circle cutters...and it will save you a TON of time! ;)  Back the white labels on construction paper and cut out with the 2.5" circle cutter.

6.  Tape the labels to the toothpick on the back with washi tape just to make the backside look a little cuter! :)  Then, stick the toothpicks all the way in the plant

Since I had most of the materials around my house, my all in cost was $2.50 per plant!  Super cheap and super cute! #winning

The school I was at last year had a tradition of doing a Mother's Day tea in May!  It was a fantastic day for our first graders to get dressed up and invite moms (or grandmas or aunts or volunteer teachers as stand-ins :) ) to our classroom for a special tea and celebration!

Here's a look back at last year's tea party celebration.

Table Decorations

The kiddos helped me with everything!  I really wanted them to understand the responsibility and the joy that comes with hosting a party.  And they were so precious with how serious they were about setting this up just so! :)

We covered our group tables with a plastic table cloth.

Then, we added our gifts to each place setting.  The mother's would be sitting in the chairs while the kids stood and served their mommies!  The gifts that were at each place setting were the mom interviews (not shown), the "I love you because" picture and writing (each of these are found here)...

...And the mom portraits and frames!

In the center of each table, my firsties unfolded a paper napkin to add a splash of color in the middle of the table.  Then, they filled a plastic cup with water and added some fresh, knockout roses that I cut straight from my flowerbeds the night before.

At the end of our mother's day tea, we drew names (see the picture of the raffle container) for 6 moms to take home the arrangements in the middle of the table!

Food Table

I was in charge of decorating our food table...although I did enlist some help from some especially well-mannered firsties....*wink, wink*

I bought 2 flower pots as "grand prizes" to give away from our raffle.  I used one to decorate the food table and the other went by the raffle container.  I unfolded a few extra napkins to add splashes of color to our table as well.

For food, we served nuts, grapes and strawberries, and cupcakes (which I ordered from Sam's club for $14 for 30 cupcakes).  I added yellow plates, stacks of napkins and a small jar of forks to fill up the rest of the table.  It really was super super easy...yet the moms just raved and raved about how special it was! #winning 

I ordered half chocolate and half white cupcakes with yellow icing.  Then, we made these cupcake liner flowers as souvenirs for the moms and they also made a beautiful topper!  Read the how to on these cupcake liner flowers here.

As the moms arrived, my firsties instructed them to fill out a raffle card with their name on it.  Then, the first graders were to turn in the raffle card for the mom.  Next, they went and prepared a plate for their mom after asking them what they wanted to eat.  Finally, they shared their gifts with them and visited with their moms while the moms, my firsties did not eat!  We talked about it before hand and they were given strict instructions that this was all about mom!  {...but for those amazing hosts and hostesses, I did have cookies that I bought for them to eat after our celebration was over!}

This was such a fun tradition and I was so thankful I got to be a part of it!  My first graders were so proud and learned that it truly is better to give than to receive!

Find these crafts and tons more activities in my Mother's Day packet. {And get Father's Day crafts here!}
One of my very favorite teacher gifts with Cooper each year are Christmas Potpourri Jars.  They are simple, fun to make and EVERYONE loves them!  

Oranges, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves (although I sometimes use ground at home if I am in a pinch! just packages prettier in the jars to use whole!) And sometimes I add cranberries and twigs of pine to my mom's recipe for more color for the gifts.

Slice the oranges in fourths.  I put them in the jar this way too...much prettier to me than just a whole orange!  And they fit better!

 Add a layer of cranberries (this year Cooper practiced counting to 25 as he added them! :) ), then the oranges to the jar, then 2-3 cinnamon sticks....

Then add the rest of the ingredients....and spread some smiling Christmas cheer along the way!  Such an easy thing for littles to help with too!  Bless my little long haired baby!  Where did he go??

Turn on the heat and enjoy!  Isn't it so pretty?

For teacher gifts, we used the small mason jars {I really can't remember what official size they are...they were ones I just had around the house!}

In each jar, we put...
*4 slices of oranges
*a handful of cranberries
*close to a Tablespoon of whole cloves {no official measuring here, though!}
*a small twig of pine
*2 cinnamon sticks

A little craft paper circle to add some ruffles under the lid, a string of raffia and a tag. Here's a pic of the jar with the Christmas tag I made.  Simple, fun to make!

This year, I just wrote our notes on top of the lids with a little washi tape.

Cooper is always so happy to give out his gifts.   And Mommy loves that he is learning at such an early age that, "God loves a person who gives cheerfully."
The kiddos were so excited to get Santa's workshop in full swing... Making ornament gifts for parents gets giggles every year and I love that sweet sound of cheerful givers in my classroom!  Read to find out more about the two ornaments we made for parents this year!

I've been making this Rudolph ornament for a really long time...probably at least 6 of the 9 years I've taught.  I found it on a friend's Christmas tree at a party a while back and thought it was adorably simple and cute!  My first graders can make this entire ornament without any adult help...which is one of the things I love about it!

The other ornament we made, ribbon Christmas trees, was a new one I found on Pinterest and loved!  And unlike the Rudolph, it needs LOTS of adult help....but is perfect to work on during table station rotations or to do during small group time those last few crazy days before break!

First, I cut 6 ribbons for each kid:
*2 eight inch greens
*1 seven inch green
*1 seven inch red
*1 six inch green
*1 six inch red

I also die cut yellow stars out of laminated yellow card stock.  The last thing I prepped was cutting brown pipe cleaners in half and adding a loop to the top for hanging.
I called the kids back in groups of 4 kids at a time.  The rest of the class worked on letters to Santa while I did this.  It's also included in my Elf Packet.

Anyways, in our small groups, they each got one of the 6 lengths of ribbons.  They each ordered the lengths of their ribbons from shortest to longest {Hello, Common Core math standard!}.  Then, they worked with a partner to help each other tie on the ribbons, tying the shortest one closest to the loop and working down to the longest.
 Once all the ribbons were tied, I tightened them and then "trimmed" the edges with scissors to make the ribbons into even more of a Christmas tree shape.  Last we added the star on top with some hot glue! **TIP: the ribbons are cut extra long to make it easier for little fingers to tie.  You trim them down to a more appropriate size when you trim the edges! :)**

 By the end of the day we had a stack of ornaments on our back table ready to be gifted!

Gifts and Christmas cards were sent home Thursday afternoon...with one day to spare before Christmas break!  What are your favorite ornaments to make with kids?  (Read more parent gift ideas here).
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