Christmas cookie cutters, ribbons, fake pearls and gemstones, pretty papers, silver bottle caps, sweet granddaughters and a heaping helping of love equals a great craft idea and a good deal of family fun! Get together with your grandchildren for a Christmas craft and a wonderful bonding time.
What you'll need for the ornaments pictured above:
I actually found this craft on Pinterest, but there were no step-by-step instructions. Hence, we just looked at the pictures and decided for ourselves how to do it. I know you can figure that out as well, but here goes.
After I bought all the supplies, and gathered my granddaughters around the table, we proceeded. We traced the ornament on our chosen paper, and before we cut, we added a line around the tracing where we actually cut. The first tracing that exactly matched the ornament, we used for the glue line. We didn't care if the backing paper was a tiny bit bigger than the actual ornament--it still looked very good. On the foil paper, we used the white school glue. We tried that on the thinner papers, but it left the ornament too wet. That's when we went to the glue gun. My granddaughters, ages 10 and 12, did great with the glue gun, so there were no worries there. I guess all the ornaments could actually be done with the glue gun. We let them dry and harden, and then added the pretty baubles to add to the festive feel of a traditional Christmas ornament. Before the girls came over, my husband took the cookie cutters to his shop and cut the holes for the ribbon. After we glued in the gemstones, we tied ribbons and we were done. I asked the girls to add their names on the back along with the year. Hopefully the decorations might last for them to eventually put on their own tree!
One more added note, some of the foil paper was really heavy, so one of my granddaughters just traced the cookie cutter shapes and cut it out to put on her mother's tree without the cookie cutter--those turned out good as well.
Delivering the ornaments to their parents!
We put the ornaments in a box stuffed with blue tissue paper and delivered to their parents. Alas, their mother wasn't home, but my sweet Emma filmed the presentation for me when her mother got home. I have the best grandkids!
Hanging on the family Christmas tree~
Until I got over to their house to see for myself, my granddaughter sent me pictures of their finished creations hanging on their tree.
I think the ornaments are super easy to make. And they're pretty classy looking what with all the silver and rhinestone decorations. My granddaughters just looked at the sample pictures and ran with it. As I said, I hope the ornaments last until they have a tree of their own. Who knows? I love the bonding time that working on a craft creates for me and my granddaughters. For some reason, time spent crafting or cooking together just makes for some sweet conversations.
I know many of you have made Christmas decorations with your grandkids starting when they were small. And what grandparent (and parent) doesn't have their children's homemade ornaments that they place lovingly on their tree year after year. Please share any ideas or times you've spent Christmas-crafting with your grands. And if you decide to try this one, please share photos of that too.
Here's another craft with the grandkids that I blogged about last year. It's a good one too, and one I got from a friend:
Happy Christmas season from Gigi of Gigi's Seasonings!
Looking for ideas for Christmas gifts? How about a family calendar.
My friend Kathy has been doing this for several years. I believe she uses an office supply store or local print shop to print her calendar. But there are various places around town and online where you can do this. Just find your pictures, save to a file or on your phone, and you're set!
She said she usually tries to come up with a theme for her calendar. I tried to come up with some of my own. Here are some themes I came up with:
Family photos from long ago~
I think my second category or theme for a calendar would be great. I've been writing a lot about recording those old family stories--how about doing it in a calendar? Simply find those old pictures, scan or take a picture with your phone and put each one on a calendar page with a brief history or description. That way your family members could get snapshots of family history in small doses.
Just use what photos you have of family get-togethers of various holidays throughout the year, or find an old photo that you can use for the holiday. My daughter-in-law used to give us a calendar of our grandkids. It was a pre-made calendar that had a motif that matched each month's holiday.All you had to do was slide your photo into the frame. Here is the one for Halloween:
This is probably the best theme of all. It helps everyone keep up with family birthdays.
Anniversaries, weddings, and other special events~
This is a fun category/theme as well. In the life of a family, there's usually some special happening occurring in any given month or has occurred during that month--go for it!
Probably the best theme of all is just random pictures--favorite pictures that you have on hand and that simply bring a smile to your face. You can bet they will bring a smile to family members as well.
Kathy says she neglected to do a calendar one year. She kind of thought that her family wasn't all enthusiastic about such things. But you can guess--that year everyone wanted to know where their calendar was.
I left out a theme that Kathy told me about. Sometimes she just does the calendar based on ONE GENERATION. It might just include pictures of her own children. Another year it might have pictures of just the grandkids on each page. There are many ways to do this.
I tried to give you enough time to get this done for Christmas gifts. We're still in November--you can do this. And if you've done it before, please share. I love hearing others' ideas.
I sometimes like to use a familiar quote to close out my blog post. This one is from my grandmother. She loved soap operas, and if you were ever at her house on a weekday afternoon, this is what you heard:
Like sands through the hourglass--these are the
DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
Thanksgiving is next week! Make plans this year to finally ask those questions of loved ones that perhaps you've never had the chance to ask. I've already done some research for you and found some fairly good questions to get you started.
It's just that I've heard people say time and time again (and I've said it myself), I wish I had asked Aunt Sophie; or I'm sorry I never asked Uncle Roy about.... Don't let another family reunion pass without doing exactly that.
My blog is usually directed at grandparents, but this is one I hope my younger friends read--the generation that still has children at home, and still has their parents and plenty of aunts and uncles. You should interview them while you can.
While you're working over your hot rolls and letting them rise, think of some of those questions you've never asked. Keep those in mind. Maybe it's something you'd like to ask your aunt about growing up with your mother; perhaps you want to ask your uncle things about the war. Whatever. Go down the list in your mind and be prepared to ask those questions.
And get your little kids, grandkids or great grandkids involved.
I've found some questions that the little guys can ask grandparents or great aunts and uncles:
Press upon the teenagers to ask some questions too:
Random questions anyone can ask:
Seriously, there are so many important reasons for doing this. First and foremost, we should all know these stories and our family history. Our little guys need to learn how to converse with their elders. It's important for older family members to reminisce. For goodness sakes, we ALL love to reflect on days past. It's just another layer of bonding that can occur within a family. You'll hear people saying things like. . . I never knew that about Uncle Jackson. Heartwarming comments like that. Just do it--it just adds another dimension to your Thanksgiving time together.
Websites where you can get additional questions:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And how wonderful to be thankful for ALL our family! And especially for those who can share with us the days gone by. What a blessing! Take advantage of that.
One more item:
Check out this link. If you have older kids/grandkids, they might want to record their interview for StoryCorps~
Thanksgiving will soon be here! Are you getting out the beloved family recipes? Hoping family members will bring their customary favorites to the feast?
Maybe it's time you put those cherished recipes in a book!
Just another idea that I did not come up with. My sister-in-law made a book of family recipe favorites for both her married daughters. My sister made a scrapbook of basic, cook-friendly recipes for her granddaughters when they married. She filled it with basic recipes as well as family favorites. I just took both of their ideas, and came up with a book of family Thanksgiving recipes. How cool would that be?
My sister simply printed her recipes out and asked various family members for their recipes they would like to submit to the book. Then she got a 3-ring binder to put the recipes in and VIOLA! She had books to present to each granddaughter. It was just that simple and what a treasure for those girls.
My sister-in-law used a website that had ideas for creating a recipe book. It had the appropriate graphics and clipart that she wanted to use. Some of the recipes she scanned, or took a picture with her phone. That way she got some recipes in the cook's own hand. Others she simply retyped for the book. Here, let's take a look inside Donna's book for her daughters:
Add family photos, personal anecdotes, advice from the cook/s, and even interviews with the person who submitted the recipe. I love that Donna put personal stories and family photos in her book--what a treasure!
Donna interviewed Gram for her fried chicken recipe--all Southern cooks know that recipes for fried chicken are not written down--you just get in the kitchen and DO IT! Also I love the way Donna included her mother's added comment, "If you can keep Thomas and the kids out of it long enough, you can serve with..." She also included a REALLY OLD picture of a family picnic.
There are several ways to go about creating a book of Thanksgiving recipes. You might have everyone bring their covered dish for the feast and tell them to be sure to include their recipe. Collect all the recipes and make copies for everyone in the family. Next you have a few options:
And that's it!
I think they would make great Christmas gifts. So that would be a gift you could check off early if you decide to do this. Even if you just made it for yourself, what a treasure for you. And if you wanted, you could tell others what you are doing, and ask if they want a copy. Just lots of ways to go about this and I think all involved would have a treasure for life, and one they could pass down. And as I always say, just have fun with it!
“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
"Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life. Each year has grown better than the last." Lawrence Welk
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. This blog is for and about grandparents and grandchildren. If you have created a family Thanksgiving book, please share with me. Just use my contact page. And I promise to share with my readers. Until next week!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!