As the holidays quickly approach, does the thought of gift buying leave you uninspired? Would you like to make your holiday more meaningful with your family? Consider making presents with your children, for family and friends.
Before you accuse me of falling of my rocker, let me just say that these crafts are doable even for the un-crafty sort ( like me). Sherry Osborn’s article, “100 Homemade Gift Ideas, at the “About Home” website, offers many ideas that appeal to different sensibilities. They are sweet and often upcycled from common household items-buttons, pens, and even old cabinet doors. They make especially cute gifts for teachers, family, and friends who may have everything else already.
If crafting isn’t your thing, perhaps baking or cooking gifts for others is more appealing. The article “Exceptional Homemade Edible Gifts,” by Carroll Pellegrinelli, at the “About Food,” website, lists some mouth watering delicious treat ideas for edible gift giving. Let’s just say chocolate figures into many of the recipes that are listed. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Whether homemade crafts or homemade treats for gifts, homemade anything shows a lot of heart. Anyone can purchase a necktie, calendar, or gift card for a loved one. But these ideas and their finished product possess that lovely and special quality that the standard mall gift does not.
With working together on these projects and giving from the heart, it may just lead you back to what’s essential about the holiday season. And that is definitely another win-win!
Teaching your child to cook is a valuable life skill to pass on and a great family fun activity. Gingerbread people are a holiday tradition that helps your student to learn to bake, measure and follow written instructions while giving them the opportunity to exercise their creative side. Gingerbread people also make great gifts from young students to friends and family members.
When children follow recipes, they get invaluable practice that will stand them in good stead in the lab. Scientific experiments are very much like recipes. Students learn to read the instructions through from start to finish first. Then follow each step. They also learn to measure and add ingredients one at a time, just like they would in a scientific experiment.
Children also learn how to follow a recipe and basic baking terms like stirring, folding, sifting etc.
Here is a basic gingerbread recipe:
• 5 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 cup unsulfured molasses
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy. Add the egg and beat for another 30 seconds. Add molasses and beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.
Take one cup of dry ingredients at a time and add them to the butter mixture. Every time you add a cup of dry ingredients, stir until well mixed. When you have added all the dry mixture, stir until you have a stiff dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into a big ball. Press down with your palm onto the dough to flatten it. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour your countertop and your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your gingerbread people. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
Take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool completely. Now decorate with icing and candy.
You can use the same recipe to make gingerbread houses. Put the dough on floured parchment paper and then roll it out. Cut out squares or rectangles that are the same size for the four walls and two sides of the roof. Bake in the same way and leave to cool. Use icing sugar to secure the four walls to each other and then put the roof on. Decorate with candy and icing sugar.
Note: Originally published 11/26/2012 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog