Yesterday, I updated my right-hand sidebar with some of the Christmas gifts my kids have made for each other. I also thought it might be nice to re-share our sibling gift tradition, in case any new readers are curious.

Since I have an artsy-craftsy bunch at my house, in 2006 we decided to come up with gifts my kids could make for each other. Things like sculpey bead bracelets and recycled crayons. It was adorable! And they loved the whole process: brainstorming the ideas, sneakily making the gifts, and watching their siblings open the surprise. So we’ve continued the tradition ever since.

We try to come up with toys or items that will really be used (like the monogrammed mugs pictured), versus drawings or items that are purely decorative. But we definitely make exceptions. When we come up with a tradition like this, I try not to think of it as a hard and fast rule. This year, the 3 oldest kids have some money saved and are thinking about buying some gifts and making others. That’s absolutely fine with me. I’ve tried to keep the spirit of flexibility I started with. : )

DIY monogram mug

My favorite parts of the tradition:
– Getting to spend one-on-one creative time with each of my kids.
– Seeing them learn a new art skill and coming up with ideas on how to apply it.
– Hearing them talk about how much their siblings are going to like what they make.
– Watching their faces as their siblings see what they created on Christmas morning.
– Have them feel really connected to the gifts they’re giving.

The challenging parts:
– December is generally packed, so fitting in more projects can be tricky.
– If you want to keep things a surprise, you have to get creative to keep the family occupied while one child at a time makes their gifts.
– Sometimes, making a gift turns out to be more expensive than buying it pre-made. That’s what happened with our jumpropes. : )

I’ve posted some of our most popular projects in the sidebar, and you can find more links here. How about you? Do your kids give gifts to their siblings? Do they pick names or give to everybody? Do they prefer to make or buy?

P.S. — I’ve got more posts about gifting coming throughout the week. How we handle Santa gifts. Gift-giving for little ones. And tomorrow, a post filled with my best tips for doing creative projects with your children.