Sarah Lyons, contributing writer 

Two Beautiful Sisters making Christmas cardsThere is nothing more heartwarming than a gift made by a child. Handmade gifts are affordable, fun to make and can be given to parents, grandparents, teachers and siblings. Here are some gifts that are sure to make someone special smile this holiday season.

Prints: All you need is a child’s cooperation, some paint and a little creativity to make a gift that will be cherished for years. Handprints, fingerprints and even footprints can be used to make a variety of crafts and art. Websites like Pinterest are full of ideas of how to make a handprint into a picture of Santa, a Christmas tree, reindeer or snowman. There are literally hundreds of possibilities. Try putting your child’s prints on an apron, ornament, tea towel, oven mitt or T-shirt to give to a special someone. Follow the directions on the paint to ensure that the design lasts for years. As a bonus, your kids will love getting messy during the process.

Tasty treats: Kids love to help out in the kitchen, so why not put together some tasty treats for some sweet people in your life? Get the kids involved in the holiday baking and put together a plate of cookies the kids can help deliver to a neighbor or friend. Putting a homemade cookie mix into a mason jar also makes an easy gift that kids can help with. Finish the jar with a bow and instructions, and it’s ready to be delivered.

Frame it: Photos make a favorite gift for any proud aunt, uncle, parent or grandparent. Get kids involved in picking out their favorite photos from last year, and putting them into a collage with handmade drawings or a poem. Try making a scrapbook page that can be framed for a special gift. Picture frames can be made with decorated popsicle sticks, clay or an existing frame can be painted or decorated with mosaic tiles, buttons or other craft supplies. Affordable frames can be found at local thrift stores or the dollar store.

Personalized gifts: Nothing is more thoughtful than a gift made to fit the recipient’s personal tastes. Talk to your child about the their favorite hobbies and tailor the gift to their interests. For example, use permanent markers to decorate golf balls for the golf lover in your life, decorate a plain coffee mug for the coffee lover in the family, have your child create a special bookmark for the bookworm you know or use fingerprints to decorate wooden utensils for your favorite chef. Kids can also use scrapbook paper, stickers, craft supplies and cardstock to make custom stationery. Making personalized gifts also helps teach kids to be observant of other’s interests that may be outside their own.

Utilize beads: Beads are an affordable and versatile craft item that can be used for a variety of gifts. Small children can string beads on a pipe cleaner to make a candy cane ornament. Older children can make personalized jewelry or key chains for loved ones. Pony beads can be melted to make into a suncatcher, mobile or a bowl. With beads, you can give your child some ideas and let their creativity lead them.

Spa at home: Do you know of someone who needs some time to relax? Try mixing equal parts white or brown sugar and olive oil for an easy sugar scrub that is a great gift for anyone who deserves a day at the spa. There are many recipes for homemade soaps, sugar scrubs and bath salts available online. Many varieties you’ll find can be mixed together in just minutes and cost very little to make. This luxurious gift may be quick and affordable, but it is sure to make your recipients feel loved and appreciated.

There is great value in teaching kids to give gifts to others and find ways to serve their peers. They learn to be generous, thoughtful and experience the joy of giving.