5 sweet, simple holiday gifts to craft with your kids

The silver lining to money being tight? Remembering what's really important. A thoughtful, homemade gift for grandma or teacher will mean a heck of a lot more than another gift card. Round up the kids and haul out the craft supplies to make these sweet, simple holiday gifts.

Relaxing, Fizzy Bath Salts
A perfect gift for mom, teacher, sister, and just about any woman who likes to slip into the tub at the end of trying day. Mix together 2 cups Epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda. Add 20 drops of lavender essential oil and mix well again. Your kids might have fun adding color. To make purple, add four drops of blue food coloring and 6 drops of red. Decant into a shatter-proof jar and tie with ribbon.

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Grocery Tote
Everyone's eschewing plastic bags at the grocery store; get your kids working to make Karl Lagerfeld-worthy couture grocery totes. Buy large, inexpensive canvas tote bags at a craft store. Have kids personalize them as they see fit, either with iron-on letters that spell, "market," "groceries," or "dinner in here" (depending on the age of your kids, you might need to do the ironing yourself). Or have them kick it free hand with fabric paint and fabric markers.

Snow Globes
Fun to make and charming to receive, a snow globe would be a pretty delightful way to weigh down a stack of bills. Wash and clean empty glass jars from peanut butter, baby food, or jam. Attach a bit of florist clay to the inside of the jar lid and affix a figurine to it (Eiffel tower, Santa, seashell). Add any other scene-setting items to the florist clay. Fill jar with water within 1/2 inch of the top. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon glitter. Screw on lid, and let stand overnight with lid side up. Use a hot glue gun to keep the lid watertight, and decorate the lid with ribbon or paint, if you wish.

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Chocolate Spoons
Why stir your coffee with any old spoon when you could stir it with a chocolate-covered spoon? Now that's a holiday treat. Over a double boiler, melt white and milk chocolate separately. Dip half of the spoons (use heavy plastic or pretty vintage) in white chocolate up to their base, the other half in milk chocolate. Lay on waxed paper and let set completely. For a pretty effect, dip the white chocolate spoons halfway into melted milk chocolate, the milk chocolate halfway into the white chocolate. Let set, then wrap in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon.

Family Recipe Book

This ones good for family, especially if they're far-flung. Compile family favorite recipes--your turkey soup, Aunt Gladys' cheddar coins, Uncle Jed's rum balls, Grandma's goulash. Type up the recipes and print. Have your kids do what they love best--color an illustration for each recipe. Make a cover--have them illustrate that, too--and take to the copy shop to have it copied and bound for a one-of-a-kind, delicious keepsake.


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