By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Columnist, B&R
For many families, the Christmas season is the busiest time of the year. In addition to the numerous activities, there is the shopping and wrapping of presents. What should be a time to honor the birth of Christ the Savior is turned into a most stressful time.
This year, help your child make handmade gifts for parents, grandparents, teachers, friends and siblings. You’ll be teaching “it is more blessed to give, than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
The following ideas are for parents and children to create together.
• Cut crosswise slices of oranges and lemons and dry in a 250 degree oven for one hour. Hang in strings and use these ornaments to decorate a Christmas tree.
• Stuff a sock with a washcloth, fasten the end with a string to make a welcome pull toy for Fido.
• Attach a string and a feather to a wooden dowel for a gift for kitty.
• Design a collection box by covering a sturdy cardboard box with a collage of cards. Use an adhesive material.
• Collect smooth stones and paint bright colors. Allow to dry and add a butterfly, insect, or a Bible thought: “Jesus said, Love one another” (John 15:17). Use these as paperweights on a desk.
• Cut an 8 x 10 inch piece of canvas cloth. Using markers, help young children make drawings showing a fun activity they’ve enjoyed with the person. Insert canvas in a picture frame.
•Purchase a chef’s apron and help children dip hands or feet in craft paint and make prints on the apron. Reference the Bible thought: “We are helpers” (II Corinthians 1:24).
• Decoupage unusual-shaped glass bottles or jars with tissue paper. Tear or cut colorful paper into 1-inch squares. Use an adhesive. Allow to dry and place in front of a sunny window to catch the sun’s rays. Say: God made the sun.
• Encourage young readers to give the gift of time. Plan ahead and go with your child to an assisted living center. Read poems of Christmas or a holiday story to a person who is sight-impaired.
• Make Christmas cookies to distribute to neighbors. You can help your child read a simple recipe or purchase rolls of dough to slice and bake.
• Share the spirit of the holidays by planning a family caroling night. Are there lonely neighbors nearby? Are there senior adults who would welcome a carol at their front door?
God’s plan for families is for Christian parents to teach their child in the ways of the Lord. These are only a few ways to encourage children to give the gift of self this Christmas. B&R — Tomlin, of Jackson, writes for the Christian magazine and newspaper market.