holiday gifts from the garden

As a parent, I always like to acknowledge my appreciation for teachers and other special mentors in my children’s lives with little gifts from the garden at the holidays. As a coordinator of volunteers, I also like to find time to provide a thank you to the volunteers I work with too for all the time that they selflessly give throughout the year (and to hopefully provide some inspiration to volunteer in the spring). The number of names on this list seems to grow each year which is a blessing of course, but I also find myself trying to figure out what I can accomplish in the budget I have available.

So I thought today I would share a few craft ideas we have on KidsGardening that can be used to create special homemade, garden-related holiday gifts. Whether I will have enough time this season to get these created is still to be determined, but we still have one weekend before school goes on break so fingers crossed.

Here are a few of my favorite gift-worthy, garden-related crafts:

Pressed Flowers and Leaves - It always amazes me how well some flowers and leaves can be preserved through pressing. Old phones books work the best for this, but since they are in short supply now a days, any book that is not your favorite will do (my college yearbooks are my go to for this activity). Please note that when you press flowers, the moisture has to go some where which is why you want to place them inside of tissues to absorb that water and hopefully keep your book safe (but also why you don’t want to use your favorite books for this activity). Once you have them pressed, you can use them on cards, bookmarks, craft boxes, the list is endless… get some decoupage glue and go. Unfortunately however, this is a craft that takes some prep time and needs to be done while you still have flowers and leaves to harvest. You can also find pressed flowers for purchase, but they do tend to be on the pricy side. So I am going to have to put a pin in this one and hold on to the idea for next year.

Homemade Botanical Paper – This is one you still have time to do for this year. Use old paper scraps to create new paper treasures like cards, bookmarks and ornaments. For a garden twist, add in a few seeds and folks can plant them when the weather warms.

Wild Bird Holiday Decorations – A present for your special friends and the birds in your community, this is another fairly quick craft you can do at the last minute. We offer instructions for 3 different types of bird feeding ornaments in this activity (cranberry millet spray garlands, suet cutouts, and seed encrusted pine cones), but you can also make bird feeders out of repurposed materials like old juice or milk cartons. This is a great present for those people on your list with a special love of nature or a great picture window to watch birds from.

Plant People – Making little homemade “chia” pets from panty hose, soil and grass seed is a great little present for young gardeners (or young at heart gardeners) and also a much enjoyed activity for those making them too. Hands down, of all the things we did in our garden program this year, this was everyone’s favorite. They are easy, inexpensive and a lot of fun. My kids would make these every day if they could.

Those are probably my top contenders for last minute gifts this holiday season. A couple of additional ideas you want to check out include:

The nice thing about all of these crafts is that the process of making them provides the givers with as much joy as receiving them provides the the recipients.  Happy holidays everyone!


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