Photo Credit: D. King/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
This is the time of year when we always try to do too much. I like to send personalized Christmas cards to all of our friends, I want to bake all of my favorite Christmas treats and I want to add more decorations to our house each year.
Adding all of these special things on top of my already-busy schedule means that something has to give. I have to cut back somewhere to make this all work. I could cut back on sleep, I suppose, but then I'd be so cranky that Santa would put my name on the "naughty list." The one thing I really don't want to cut back on is time with my daughter. So, what I try to do is combine some of my holiday preparations with my mommy-daughter activities. Over the years, I have come up with several good craft ideas that my young daughter enjoys helping with.
Sponge-Painted Wrapping Paper
Last year's favorite craft idea was making our own wrapping paper. Here's how we did it.
- Roll of brown or white craft paper
- Washable paints in holiday colors
- Compressed sponges: Flat pieces of sponge, about the thickness of construction paper, that cut very easily. After cutting, you expand them in water. Available at most craft stores.
- Empty 35mm film canisters
- Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
- Small holiday cookie cutters
- Cut holiday shapes like trees, angels, bells and stars from compressed sponges (or regular kitchen sponges, if you like). If you don't feel comfortable drawing shapes, trace around small cookie cutters.
- Expand the sponges in water.
- Help the kids dip the dampened sponges into washable paint, then press onto sheets of craft paper. You can hot-glue an empty film canister to the top of the sponge for a handle to keep little hands cleaner.
- String a clothesline in your garage to hang your creations to dry.
After your paper dries, wrap up your packages. Tie with coordinating colors of curling ribbon or raffia. You can add squiggles of color with markers for any blank spots on your package. This technique also works on solid-colored gift bags. I like to make my wrapping paper out of brown craft paper, tie it up with raffia and top it with a homemade felt gingerbread person.