So how many unwanted presents did you get for Christmas?
Most of us try hard to give gifts someone wants to get, but not everyone gets it right so we sometimes (often?) get gifts that are not useful or not suitable for us.
Seriously, what do you do with those presents? Let us know in the comments as we all come across this issue from time to time!
I can’t say I’ve tried all of these, but here are some ideas for those presents when you can’t openly improve the situation…
My children enjoy making a small gift to put with a Christmas card for their classmates.
In the last couple of years, they have each made something different. But this year they are both making one gift for the girls and one for the boys.
The girls will be getting a Christmas hair tie made by my children.
We started with a packet of hair ties and some rolls of Christmas ribbon. Actually, what I used was like a hollow string rather than a ribbon, but any Christmas ribbon will look pretty 🙂
I cut the ribbon into lengths of approximately 20 cm.
Then we simply tied a piece of ribbon onto each hair tie, making the two lengths equal.
We then tied the ends into a bow.
I say simple, but it was more challenging for my six year old than her brother or me – good fine motor skill practice though!
The resultant pile of Christmas hair ties is very pretty and festive! And hopefully will make a number of young girls happy when they open their envelopes.
If you are looking for other ideas of things children can make as token gifts to classmates and the like, have a look at previous things I’ve made with my kids:
My daughter and I made some Christmas stars for her to give as gifts to her kinder friends last year – like for my son, I wanted something other than candy canes and it is so much nicer to make something.
I was inspired for these stars by Crafty morning’s snowflake ornaments. I prefer to make stars rather than snowflakes don’t mean Christmas to Aussie kids – and I think mine look more like stars anyway!
ribbon or similar for hanging
scissors and hole punch
cut cotton buds into two pieces – uneven sizes is the aim so don’t worry about making them equal or matching sizes!
Add glue to a piece of cotton bud – I found the easiest way for my daughter was to have a blob of glue on a plate and put the pieces in the glue.
Stick 5 or 6 pieces onto cardboard with the cut ends together and the other ends spreading out to for a star shape.
Spread some glue roughly between the cotton bud pieces – close to the centre, reaching out to different lengths.
Sprinkle some glitter over the star.
This stage needs adult supervision or assistance for younger children. Cut out the cardboard around the stars – it is easier to cut roughly around each star and then neatening it up. Rounded edges look nicer, I think, but sharp corners could be effective, too.
Then simply put a hole in the cardboard of each star, thread through some ribbon or twine and you’re done! I made a little loop of the ribbon so it would be easy for the kid to hang the stars on a tree, and it also made it easy to hang a number of stars on a length of ribbon at home, too.
The stars are small and light enough that my daughter could pop them into an envelope with a Christmas card to hand out to her friends.
As I’ve mentioned before, I usually get my kids to make presents for their grandparents each Christmas. It can be difficult finding things to make as I want it to be something the grandparents can keep and enjoy rather than just a scrap of paper with a scribble on it, and ideally it will be something at least a little bit useful!
So one year they made scented sachets as gifts.
For older children, you could get them more involved in making the bags, too.
# Some I cut in 10cm x 9 cm pieces if that fitted my material better
* To make the bags, simply fold the fabric in half with the right sides touching and sew along most of the open edges, leaving a small opening to add the filling. To trim with lace, simply pin the lace between the two pieces of fabric (so the pretty part is hidden from view as you pin and sew) and sew as per the plain bags.
It’s Boxing Day and that’s a great time to look back at Christmas and remember how great it was and appreciate many things.
As I asked a few years ago, what did you get for Christmas that …
And what present did you GIVE that gave the most joy?
And I’d love to hear about your Christmas celebrations yesterday. Did you start any new traditions or try something different this year?
What made your day special?
In business and in marketing discussions, ‘managing expectations’ is important and quite common.
The point is to let people know what to expect so they are content with things. For example, if people know it will take two weeks to have something delivered, they’ll be happy with to arriving in 12 days but 12 days would be irritating if you expected it in 3 days.
Managing expectations is not a term I’ve really though about in relation to Christmas (or other gift times of year), but it makes sense to think about it.
Have you ever had expectations about Christmas that were not met or exceeded?
I remember once that I was given some hints that I would get an iPad for Christmas, and I was quite pleased about the idea. And quite disappointed when I didn’t get one on Christmas Day. Had I not heard those hints, the lack of iPad wouldn’t have bothered me at all so it was false expectations that caused the disappointment.
It’s a bit like the child getting a huge gift, only to discover that there is a box inside a box inside a box… The child would be a mix of emotions – excitement over a large gift, disappointment over it not being so big, excitement over lots of layers to unwrap and the surprise of finding whatever was in the middle. My Dad did that to me once – the final gift was very small, but as it was a key to a car it was also a very big gift!
Via jcc81’s comment in a recent post, I heard of a great way to set low expectations and thus provide excitement on Christmas Day. Imagine children watching you wrap some junk for them and seeing those gifts under the tree for days and weeks… Only to discover some other gifts were placed under the tree on Christmas morning!
So letting children know in advance that they may not get everything they want, not even everything they wrote to ask Santa for, is a good way to keep them happy with what they get on Christmas morning.
I think that is a good lesson for them anyway – there should be more to Christmas than the gifts and they need to learn that they can’t always get what they want.
Have you ever really thought about managing gift expectations?
To solve the issue of what my son could give to his classmates for Christmas, we decided on a card and small gift for everyone rather than trying to choose who to give a personal present to.
I found some magnets and Christmas stickers so our gift idea was found!
If you manage to get stickers and magnets exactly the same size, then all you have to do is stick on the stickers! However, the odds are you won’t be quite so lucky.
If the sticker is bigger tan the magnet, you can just take off the backing paper and attach the magnet. It will look great from the front and back but (and this is a big but!) the exposed glue surface will attract dirt and dust and soon will become messy.
The sticky surface will also make it difficult to put the Christmas magnet into an envelope or gift wrapping.
I traced around the magnet on the back of the sticker and then scored the outline. I actually prepared a pile of them before my son got involved, but older children could possibly score the paper themselves.
It was then easy for my son to peel off just that bit of backing paper and attach the magnet, leaving the rest of the backing paper in place.
That’s it – no drying time or finishing touches needed! And because they are small and light, it’s easy to just pop them into an envelope with a Christmas card and you’re done. In half a day, my son had a gift and card done for all his classmates (and writing the cards was definitely the most time consuming task!)
Whether it is from advertising or simple interest, kids will ask for all sorts of things for Christmas (and birthday) gifts.
There may be many reasons to decide against a particular item for you child (price, values, practicality, appropriateness, and so on) but one I have been reminded of this week is safety.
This week, a mother contacted us about not wanting mention of a mermaid tail in her daughters’ Love Santa letter as she had decided it was not appropriate for her daughters.
I know very little about mermaid tails so I am not saying they are or are not dangerous.
But the point is valid.
If you don’t think your child’s gift request is safe or appropriate, then that is your decision and the child should not get that gift.
At one level, safety depends on the specific child. That is, the child’s age, personality and physical abilities will impact on what is suitable for that child, and that takes someone who knows the child to make that decision.
Certain things are clearly not safe and thus easy to decide against – like small Lego pieces for a baby or guns for any child, for example.
Whereas other things may be less clear. So to decide if something is safe enough to give to your child (or the child in your life), here are some suggestions:
If you decide a gift is not safe, what do you tell the child?
I think it helps if you don’t promise anything so you don’t have to back track 🙂
Beyond that, I tell my children that I don’t like a potential gift and give them a reason. I may simplify it to suit their knowledge, but I let them know to maintain their trust and get them thinking . It also means that I have already set the expectation that I won’t get it later nor allow them to buy it themselves a few months later.
How do you tell your children you have decided against them having something they would like?
Just to compete the above story about mermaid tails…
Santa understands safety and works hard to never give children toys or gifts that are not safe. And when Santa writes to children he never promises any particular gift will be given because he knows things may change between writing the letter and Christmas Eve.
As each Love Santa letter is individually adjusted, it was not difficult to remove any mention of the mermaid tails for the girls mentioned above, keeping everyone happy and safe.
stepping stones- i remember when i was a little girl i made unique stepping stones for my grand parents. Dad poured the cemet in to a frame him and mum made and my older sis and i put pebbles and stuff on top. I still some times see it at my grandmums house on her wonky path!
Last Christmas, we made some beautiful artwork as gifts for Grandparents.
I thought of them as an extension of some handprint ideas I’ve seen before (a single handprint with a poem or a group of children’s prints randomly across a farewell card) and was really pleased with how they turned out. It’s just taken me a while to edit the photos and write about them!
We bought some canvasses cheaply, along with some nice quality acrylic paints.
I painted each canvas in a colour suited to the gift recipient (eg yellow for the grandparents with a yellow feature wall in their lounge room and pink for the grandparents with a dusky pink lounge room.)
Once the canvases were dry, the kids got involved.
Due to the paint and likelihood of mess, I controlled this artwork closely. I went from youngest to eldest as the older children were more patient and better at spreading the paint over their hands. I also held their wrists as we made the prints to minimise smudges and errors.
Again, I chose a paint colour to suit the home of the recipient plus the canvas colour (ie choosing enough contrast to be visually effective).
One by one, I painted a hand of each child and we created a row of handprints. We did a test first, without paint, to decide on a pattern that looked good and included all four prints – you will need to find a pattern to fit the number of people and canvas size.
And that was it!
We wrapped them and the paintings were well received on Christmas Day by three sets of grandparents – and a surprised Daddy who hadn’t realised we made four!
For a bit of fun, make some cakes (or muffins) that look like Christmas trees 🙂 Sorry to share it so long after Christmas – I just got too busy, lol!
This is an easy activity to give the kids, too, and can become a gift-making exercise while you’re at it.
Make a rectangular cake or brownie
Cool the cake
Cut the cake/brownie into triangles
Insert a candy cane into the cake half way along the base – to form the tree trunk
Use coloured icing to add lines of tinsel on the tree
Use dobs of icing or broken lollies to add other decorations to your tree
Let everything set then enjoy!
Really handy to give as gifts for the kinder or school class.
Of course, you could use a tree shaped cutter instead of triangles if you have that option, but the triangles are so easy and don’t waste any cake.
It’s fun to share what we got and it’s good to see what others got (just for fun and for inspiration!) so I’d love you to answer the following questions in the comments section…
Whatever you got, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and are spending Boxing Day relaxing, reflecting on the Christmas that was and enjoying yourself.