During the winter holiday season, our attention turns more towards charity and the thought of giving than ever before. Many charities are hard pressed to serve their communities, especially so during the Christmas season. While many of us hurry about in the hustle and bustle of the holiday atmosphere, giving little thought to the plight of the less fortunate, perhaps donating a canned food item or two for a charity offering holiday meals, there are many other ways we can contribute to the spirit of Christmas besides canned food donations or money gifts.
Many charities seek to lighten the hearts of the needy with a holiday gift. While not everyone has the extra money to go out and buy a new wardrobe or passel full of toys for the less fortunate, many homemade crafts are just as generous and desirable as well as easy to make. Making crafts for your local charity can be rewarding and helpful to the community. Many local charities give gifts as well as food donations to needy families. Why not help them out with some homemade gifts to make the season bright for all? Here are just a few ideas that you can use to help your local charities spread the spirit of Christmas during this joyous time of the year.
1. Homemade toys. While not at the top of the commercial industry list, homemade presents are a timeless gift for children whose parents may not be able to afford expensive presents, and will be cherished for years to come. A homemade rag doll is simple enough to do that anyone can make, takes little monetary effort and minimal leisure time that would be well spent. Homemade doll accessories are a must have for any little girl on a budget.
Homemade baby doll blankets, doll clothing, and other accessories are just as desirable as the store bought fake food boxes. For those who are a little handier at wooden crafts, homemade cars, trains, wooden blocks and other wooden toys are also a great gift for youngsters and have been a favorite for generations. There are a plethora of internet sites with how to information on these precious items and the gift will help the charity to spend money on more needed items for the family like food and sundries or financial assistance making their efforts go further towards helping them.
2. Crochet. Even a novice at the art of crochet can help out during the season to create wonderful clothing items that are not only a lovely gift but much needed by those receiving them. Hats, scarf’s, gloves or mittens are all easy to make and don’t have to be sized to fit one particular person. These can be made in a one size fits all style for children and adults alike. Christmas stockings, baby blankets and sweaters, homemade décor like tissue box covers, pot holders, or bottle warmers are also great ideas. The material for these items cost little and the benefit of the gifts is well worth the time spent making them.
3. Refurbish clothing. Anyone handy with fabric paints can create some wonderful holiday clothing items out of plain old t-shirts and sweatshirts for local charities. Not only are the clothing items going to needy persons, but the holiday spirit is assured with these decorative gifts of Christmas cheer. Refurbishing need not be limited to just T-shirts either. Got an old jacket that doesn’t quite fit anymore? Give it a new sparkle with some fabric paint, sequins or glitter jewels. Fashionable items like this are all the rage among teens and young adults and can help make the season brighter for a needy young person with a new look for the holidays.
4. Quilting. While this tradition has gone quite underground in recent years, a homemade quilt is a gift that will be cherished for generations. If there isn’t enough time in the day to make full sized quilts, baby blankets or even baby doll quilts can be just as much a loving gift as a full sized item. Many local libraries have whole sections dedicated to this art as well as hundreds of sites on the internet with tips and tricks for making unique and functional quilts. The material cost is minimal, and old linens and clothing items can be used to make the pattern squares for those short on cash for fabrics.
5. Homemade Christmas ornaments. Spread the spirit of the holidays by helping a local charity decorate for the holiday season. These gifts are easy to make and much appreciated by many charities. Not only can they use them to decorate their base of operations, but they can also give them to needy families to use in their homes as well. Store bought ornaments can be expensive for people on a tight budget and homemade holiday decorations not only brighten up a home, but are appreciated more than one would think.
For information on how to make homemade ornaments, check with a local library or on the internet for a wealth of information in this department. To go all out, contact a local family charity and offer to give a class to let participants make their own ornaments. Providing the materials may be a little more expensive, though some charities may be able to buy the materials.
This is a good idea for places like family missions or domestic violence shelters where families have a real need to relax from their troubles and just enjoy the spirit of the season. Plus its a great way for needy children to be able to give gifts to their loved ones which they would otherwise not be able to do and give them a sense of accomplishment by crafting their own works of art.
6. Pottery and clay works. While this is a little more specialized craft, lets not leave it out. Local pottery shops and crafting stores have a million ways to create wonderful home decor works of art for the holiday season. Any local pottery store or hobby shop can point a beginner in the right direction. Create any number of items from cookie jars and salt and pepper shakers to nativity scenes to give to local charities as gifts for them to give to families in need or to use in their own base of operations for decoration. Not only do these items make great gifts but they are greatly appreciated.
7. Leather working. Create innumerable gifts to give local charities during the holiday season. Something as small as creating fancy collars for pets at a local pet shelter to making leather clothing items, leather projects are limitless. Leather pouches, wallets or even belts make great gift items and are useful items for the recipients. For how to do this great craft, there are many books on this topic that can be found at the local library as well as numerous internet sites on the subject. Some areas even have whole guilds devoted to the craft.
8. Gift jars, baskets and bags. What a wonderful way to present gifts in a homemade gift basket or gift jar. Turn ordinary canning jars into great gifts by decorating them with ribbons, bows and glue on items like felt snowmen or Santas. Why not fill them with candies, cookies or other items? They make a great addition to any gift box and are enjoyed by all. The same with baskets. Buy pre made baskets for charities to give food items or other things in and decorate them with bows, garland or other items. For those interested in the art of basket weaving, create unique baskets and donate them to local charities.
To go all out, create entire gift baskets, filled with small sundry items or dry food goods and wrap them with clear cellophane topped with a bow for local charities to give to needy persons. The gift will be greatly appreciated and will go far in helping local charities spread the cheer of the season. Gift bags are easy to make as well. Decorate an ordinary shopping bag, a travel bag or fannie pack with fabric paint, glue on decorations and tinsel.
To go all out, fill the bag with other items of use to needy persons. Decorated travel bags or fanny packs filled with small hygiene items are great gifts for homeless shelters or missions and are genuinely appreciated. Fill a small gift bag with homemade items like a hat and scarf, a gift jar of Christmas cookies and other homemade items to make this gift truly from the heart. It may not seem like a lot, but little gifts like these are sincerely appreciated by the recipients and give a feeling of gratification to the makers.
9. Paper crafts. These items are too numerous to count. Create Christmas ornaments, cards, gift labels or wrapping paper just to name a few. These types of items help a charity to save money by not having to buy them to add to gifts and they can use the money to buy other more needed items for the persons they are helping. Buying these types of items at even an outlet store can cost hundreds of dollars for a charity helping many people during the holiday season.
Create beautiful paper ornaments, cards and labels and give them to charities to help decorate the gifts they give during the holiday season. The effort will be greatly appreciated and the items are easy to make. For how to information, there are hundreds of internet sites on the topic as well as many books at local libraries on the subject.
Other paper items can include: homemade wrapping paper, decorative book covers for needy students, homemade coloring books for youngsters, decorative napkins and tablecloths for parties at local charities, hanging decorations, decorative paper and cardboard picture frames (for pictures with Santa etc.), classroom decorations for local low income day cares or head start centers and many more items.
This is truly an imagination is the limit craft. Contact local charity centers to make personalized gifts for needy youngsters and find out what types of paper crafts would best suit their needs. To really get into the spirit of giving, contact a local low income day care, head start or other such center and offer to have an “art” class with them to let children create their own Christmas decorations and other paper works of art.
This might cost a little more to supply the materials but to do this on a large scale, local churches and other charities may help flip the bill on buying the necessary materials. The time and effort spent will be rewarded with the smile on a child’s face when they create their own masterpieces for the Christmas season.
10. Sewing and embroidery work. These types of items are limitless. For even beginners, there are many, many projects for sewing and embroidery work that can be given as gifts for the holidays. Create clothing items, Christmas bags, Christmas stockings, and more. Embroidery work can be done on any type of fabric item. Create Christmas towels for the kitchen, small throw pillows, embroidered bags or other items.
Contact a local mission and offer to help program participants by sewing patches on clothing items or worn out satchels and sleeping bags. For sewing experts, contact a local family shelter and get the sizes of youngsters to create clothing items like dresses and tshirts for a Christmas gift. Smaller items like purses, satchels, hand muffs, and scarves are also appreciated. Embroidery experts might choose to create a number of decorative items like wall hangings, embroidered blankets or towels, pillows, shams and more.
For information on sewing and embroidering, designs and patterns there are a number of places to look including local libraries, internet sites, the sewing department of a local department store and craft and sewing shops.
11. Handcrafted jewelry. These items make excellent gifts for charities to give, and in the process gives a chance for the creater to show off their wares. Handmade beaded jewelry is an all time favorite gift as well as other types of jewelry. These items cost little to make and are an excellent hobby. For information on hand made jewelry, check with the local library, on the internet, or local craft shops. Local craft fairs also offer an good way to gain information from vendors and others interested in this art.
Crafting for charity doesn’t have to be limited to creating gifts for them to give. Offering to hold a class at a local charity center on how to create a special craft is also a wonderful way to give time to the less fortunate. Other ideas include donating portions of earnings from craft fairs to a local charity. Organizing craft fairs for this purpose is a great way to give the gift of giving as well as spread the knowledge of crafting in local communities. Contact local charities to find out what crafts would best suit their needs and donate time and items to help them with these special projects.
Create an individual brand of charity by offering to help a needy family decorate their home for the hoidays with homemade crafting items. Contact a local hospital to get ideas on how to create gifts and decorations to cheer up the local childrens wards and help families with loved ones in the hospital. Contact a local elderly or disabled persons home to find out how homemade crafts can help them and their residents. Contact a local shelter or mission for ideas on what kinds of crafts would be useful to people they help.
Getting family and community involved in the craft making process is also a great way to spread the holiday spirit and help many organizations. There are limitless ways to help local charities spread the spirit of the season through homemade crafts. Money and canned food aren’t the only things that charities appreciate. Time, effort and thoughtfulness are also needed year round by charities and organizations that help the needy. Just contact a local charity for more great crafting ideas that can help suit their special needs. All it takes to craft for local charities is the willingness to give time to a worthy cause.