Ask Design Mom: Making Gifts

September 22, 2010

Hi Gabrielle. I’ve seen your sibling gift ideas and am thinking about trying it with my own kids this year. Have you already thought of what your kids will make this Christmas? — Steph

Hi Steph! Thanks for this question. Making sibling gifts is one of our favorite traditions and honestly, I scope out ideas all year long. Whenever I come across a project that I think might work for my kids, I bookmark it or make a note of it. When December hits, I go through the ideas with my kids and we a) use them, or b) take inspiration from them and come up with a new idea.

The other day, I received the book Simply Sublime Gifts and it’s full of great ideas. The author, Jodi Kahn, does a lot of fun things with fabric image transfers (like the Hello My Name is Onesie she sent for June). I’ve marked a bunch of the projects as possibilities for this year.

What about you, Crafty Readers? Will your kids be making gifts for each other this year? Any great ideas you’ve spotted lately?

P.S. — You can find links to the gifts my kids have made here.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tabitha (From Single to Married) September 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

My kid won’t (since he’s only seven months old :) ) But I will be! I’m trying to use my new found skill at watercolor painting to create some card sets to give as gifts. I hope they turn out!


2 pamela September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

i haven’t figured out all of the logistics yet, but since all of the little cousins in our family live far from each other, i am planning on making each of them a memory game with photos and names of all the their family members. maybe laminated and backed on cardboard with a cool design on the non-photos side? memory was my favorite game growing up. :)


3 Anna Lewis September 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

What a creative plan! You could mix up the designs on the backs and then it could be used ‘face up’ or ‘face down’. Just another idea!


4 Alberta September 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I did something similar for my dd last year only with fabric. It turned out very cute and durable (she’s note quite 2). Here’s the link to the project:


5 Emily Ballard October 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I have been meaning to do something similar for my nieces and nephews. . . except instead of Memory, you make add their pictures to a Guess Who game. I think this is the year I am finally going to do it.


6 Jessica September 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Last year we made:
Tu-tu’s for little girl cousins
A cape for a little boy cousin
A soccer goal for the back yard (little brother made for big brother with dad)
Wood Sword and Shield (big brother made for little brother)
A set of marbles from Fimo clay (made for the littlest brother by the 2 big ones!)

Searching for ideas for this year….


7 Amy Carter September 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I just put a copy of that book on hold at my local bookstore! Thanks so much for sharing it!! I always try to make all my Christmas gifts and I just learned how to sew, so it will help a lot!


8 Amy September 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Will baby June participate this year? I have a 2 year old and an infant. We do homemade gifts for our children, but we have not had them start giving gifts yet…..maybe this is the year to start….what do you think?


9 Clean Mama September 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

My daughter and I have been sewing (her watching, me sewing – she’s 4) mini sleeping bags and pillows for dolls for the girl cousins this Christmas. We’re making them from fleece – lots of fun!


10 Cara September 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Our family, all three generations (16 people currently ages 10-75), have been making Christmas gifts for each other for years. We draw names each Christmas Day, for the next year’s gifts. Everyone of all ages is included, and it has always been a winner not only with our family, but various friends who want to hear the report of who got what each year. The only draw back? Most of the time it is the mother’s who are poking and prodding our kids to finish their gifts before the 25th!

Some of the gifts have included: my 10 year old nephew sewed (yes, sewed) me three pair of pajama pants…my brother drew my Dad a landscape (my Dad framed it and it is still in my parents home prominently displayed)…my Dad made my son a wooden truck, my Mom canned things from the garden and made a basket of local foods, my niece made my brother in law a travel mug and homemade cookies…and the list goes on.

Our family has always wanted to teach our kids the importance of the holiday, rather than the gift getting. We take pictures of each giver and recipient and document each year.

This year our theme is food. We’ve decided to change things up and the gift needs to be food themed.


11 Alea September 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm

My hubby’s fam decided to do homemade gifts and we picked names – I GOT MY FATHER-IN-LAW! Who is wonderful – but can make anything and isn’t big into yummy food becuase his wife can make anything. I’m at a total loss!


12 sarah September 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

You inspired us to start this tradition last year. Our biggest hit was the pillowcase my 8 year old made for our 5 year old. It is space themed and adorable. Plus, when we use it (all the time) I get to see his cute handwriting and art skills on display. Thanks for the inspiration!


13 Jodi September 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Thanks SO much for mentioning the book! I love your photos, and I just hope the Onesie fits June! I love reading everyone’s great family and sibling gift ideas. I’m inspired!!!
Thanks again :)


14 Bettijo @ Paging Supermom September 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Looks like a fun book! Wonder if my library has it yet — have to go see!


15 Emily McKhann September 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I LOVE Jodi’s book!!!!!! My girls have been paging through it trying to decide what to make for presents this year. Last year we made photo magnets and a framed, fabric covered magnet board to go with them. This year, we’re using Simply Sublime Gifts and deciding between pillow case totes (page 47), fabric nesting bowls (page 107) and the heart-felt gloves (page 96)! They’re all just so adorable, and look very doable!!!!


16 jen September 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Seriously I was just here the other day looking for sib gift ideas! We’ve already gotten started on several of ours this year, but we still need an idea or two. Here’s some of the things we’re making this year:
-scarf, on the round knitter (I believe one of your kids did this a couple years ago)
-a wooden horse
-a decorated pillowcase
-a decorated shirt
-a decoupaged box (it’ll be where our youngest can store his spending money)
-pair of pj pants (good to have a sewing daughter!)
. . . and more that I can’t remember.


17 emily September 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

My girls have always made gifts for each other. They are 13, 12, and 4. I’m excited to pick up a copy of the book you suggest and try some new things this year! Thanks for the reccomendation.


18 the mrs September 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I lost most of my crafting/sewing mojo back in the 1990s, but I just bought the book as a gift for my blossoming crafty/sewy daughter for Christmas. Does that count as an answer to your question :)?-

(PS-thanks, Mrs. Blair, you made my Amazon order go right where it needed to be to get free shipping, too.)


19 Torrie @ a place to share... September 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I just added this book to my wish list! It’d be a perfect gift for my sister-in-law (who knows how to sew). I don’t, but maybe I can borrow hers for the super remedial projects.

I LOVE this idea of sibling gifts! I have never done this, but do bookmark homemade and handmade gift ideas throughout the year (truly one of my favorite things to do during the holidays) and we always make homemade Christmas cards- no matter how big the list gets!


20 Heidi September 23, 2010 at 2:14 am

Oh, fab!


21 Rebecca Grace September 23, 2010 at 6:45 am

I am IN LOVE with the Hello My Name Is onesie! That’s the cutest infant apparel item I’ve seen in a long time. Genius! Does she tell how she did that in her book?


22 sibylle September 23, 2010 at 6:51 am

Last year, the kids baked cookies and made napkin holders out of toilet paper rolls! They actually sewed fabric around them and glued diamonds on them. Also we bought a bunch of wine glasses and painted them with glass colors.
this year, i have not given any thoughts yet, but every year my parents receive a picture book which i design with the nicest pictures of the year, since they live in germany and cant be part of our daily life.


23 Lori September 23, 2010 at 7:31 am

We have recently made homemade bath salts, bath scrub and hot chocolate for my daughters friends (she is 13). Anyone have ideas for what the younger (ages 5 and 7) two can make the 13 year old?


24 breanne September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I have 14 nieces and nephews. Last year I made each family a “car activity box.” Each box had things like small sketchpads, crayons, a set of cards, dry-erase markers to draw on the car windows, and a set of cards with car game ideas.


25 jody September 25, 2010 at 4:31 am

Your sibling Christmas gifts are one of MY favorite things to watch for on Design Mom!! This year, for my daughter and 3 nieces (all between ages 2 and 5) I am making “dress-up-trunks” using old luggage, and filling with all sorts of costumes, accessories, scarves hats etc. I’ve had fun gathering random pieces for over a year now. I hope the girls love them, it should be lots of fun!


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