Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top 5 kids' Christmas craft books

List by Tosca

"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."
- Erma Bombeck in her memoir 'I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression'

My mum used to love it when my siblings and I would make the Christmas gifts and decorations ourselves. Whatever we made she loved: badly strung (and hung) popcorn chains, drunken-looking bows, partially-baked biscuits, wreaths with bits and bobs that randomly fell off, oddly shaped gel candles (that were heated too long before being poured or not heated long enough) and potpourri balls that shed dried flowers everywhere (to name a few). She never complained, though, and I think it was because she always felt that it all had so much more meaning when everything you wrapped, or hung on the tree, was something you'd put a little bit of effort and a lot of heart into. Mum was even more touched if your craft was ecofriendly. Over the years we've kinda stopped doing that. These days our creativity tends to find its outlet in other ways. For example, a couple of years ago we decided that for the adults we'd do Secret Santa and nobody was allowed to spend more than $10. The trick of it was to buy the recipient something they'd always desired. My baby brother (can you be a baby at 6"3?) ended up with a 1964 Ford Mustang a toy car :) I do miss those days just a little and so this post is for my mum who taught me that 'homemade with love' is sometimes the icing on the cake. Or, you know, the star on the Christmas tree :)

Note: Wondering how I chose these particular titles? I only considered those published in the last 10 years and that also included the ages the activities would be appropriate for.

Honourable mention
* The Usborne book of Christmas art ideas by Fiona Watt - Provides step-by-step instructions for making Christmas decorations and cards, as well as wrapping paper, gift tags and gift boxes. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.

Christmas things to stitch and sew / Fiona Watt
This title contains 15 activities that use a selection of simple stitching techniques, including a reindeer collage, Christmas stockings, hanging star decorations and a fabric holly wreath. Appropriate for ages 9+

123 Christmas / words and recipes by Jocelyn Miller
Decorations, gifts, greetings cards, thank you notes...Whether you like to snip or stick or stitch or stir, this book is a cornucopia of quick and clever things to make at Christmas. Each of these 16 crafts can be achieved in just 1 2 3 steps, with each step explained in easy-to-follow diagrams. Crafts include: Christmas angels, jolly holly vases, cards to keep, brilliant bags, surprise cracker gifts, simple stockings, Christmas pudding truffles, pyramid boxes, snowball cakes, a note of thanks and peppermint creams. Appropriate for ages 8+

The merry Christmas activity book : 50 things to make and do for a fun Christmas / Jane Bull
Creative projects for children on the theme of Christmas, with step - by - step photography and simple text. bull; Count down to a magical Christmas - and do something new every day bull; Have fun creating festive food bull; Design your own special Christmas cards bull; Make fun gifts for your family - and wrap them up in style bull; Your step - by - step guide to turning your home into a winter wonderland! Appropriate for ages 7+

The good green Christmas / words and crafts by Christina Goodings
"Make your Christmas good and green with this fantastic craft book. Use natural materials, leftover materials, recyclable materials - and simply fewer materials - to make cards, gifts, wrapping, and decorations that give a fresh eco-makeover to the best of Christmas traditions. Joy to the world - and peace to planet earth!" -- Back cover. Appropriate for ages 9+

Big fun Christmas crafts & activities : over 200 quick & easy activities for holiday fun! / by Judy Press
For ages 3-7. Little hands will flourish as the author shows that creative expression, learning fun and respect for others can be the themes of engaging Christmas activities. Acts of Kindness encourage kids to do what comes naturally -- giving, caring and thinking of others at this special time of year. Quick and Easy sections provide simpler yet similar activities and crafts for younger children to do in shorter timer periods. Other sections include Waiting Games, Activities and Games Range, Light up the Night. Appropriate for ages 3-7

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