Gifts are supposed to be a way to show the receiver that you value them and wanted to give them a token to show your appreciation and affection. Homemade gifts are supposed to be personal and meaningful. Giving something you made should say, “I care so much about you that I took the time to make something from scratch for you.”
Gifts can also sometimes be an obligation. This is especially true for those “hallmark holidays” when the people in your life end up with built up expectations for receiving gifts. I try to make “hallmark holidays” into “homemade holidays” so I can try to prioritize the spirit of the holiday rather than the commercialization.
This week, it turns out is the perfect storm of “hallmark holiday” expectation. It turns out that this week is “Teacher Appreciation Week”—a time when kids are supposed to bring gifts, cards and flowers to their teachers and parents are supposed to show their appreciation for the school. And, this weekend is that pinnacle of “hallmark holidays”: Mother’s Day!
As you might imagine, we’ve been busy around here trying to make meaningful but affordable homemade gifts. Despite only learning of Teacher Appreciation Week three weeks ago, I magnanimously agreed to provide a small gift to ALL of the teachers and staff in my daughter’s school (50!). Small potted plants were already taken, so was chapstick with “You’re the balm!”
After much thinking about what would be affordable, doable and actually worthy of keeping, I decided that the kids and I would make magnetic bookmarks… mass produced by us. They worked out so well that we might even include them with the homemade Mother’s Day cards we have yet to get in the mail (They are coming, mom & mil!).
Materials needed for magnetic bookmarks:
light card stock in various colors (we chose the school colors)
sheets of thin magnets to cut into small pieces.
I used a paper cutter to cut everything quickly and neatly: Cut cardstock into a 6″ x 2″ rectangle. Fold in half to create a 3″ x 2″ bookmark. Cut rectangles of 2 1/2″ x 1 3/4″.
Stamp the small rectangle with a “thank you” stamp, apply stickers, or use a shaped hole punch to decorate the small rectangle. Center and glue (we used glue sticks) the rectangle to the front of the bookmark.
Take two sheets of magnets and place magnetic sides together (sticky sides out but keep paper on). Cut into small pieces of approximately 1″ squares. Remove paper lining from one side and stick to the inside of the bookmark. Remove lining from other side and stick to other side. This technique will help to make sure your magnets line up.
Now you have a bookmark that holds firmly to your page. These can be personalized endlessly and I’m hoping will be a big hit with those teachers. You know they have some books to read! (Cheap too. Only cost about $10 to make 50 of these bookmarks.)
I know I previously promised to show the final craft from Big Girl’s birthday party. I promise to write that post soon… though it turns out that it is really more about the tension between kids’ longing for structure and need for open ended activity. Sorry for the delay on that… we ended up spending almost all of our time last week taking care of a sick chicken (who died middle of last week) and setting things up for new ones.
Look too for a post on saying goodbye in these final days of the semester…