This post is a part of the Fantabulous Christmas Favorites blog chain put together by a great group of bloggers. The theme this week is Favorite Christmas DIY Ideas. Be sure to check out all the great ideas shared at the end of this post!
Christmas can be a little stressful and very expensive time of year.
Yet it is such a wonderful time when we can reflect how that God gave His Son as a present to this earth.
That thought naturally lends itself to giving gifts, and if you are like me, you like to express your thankfulness to those who are special to you and your family by giving them a gift.
So for our household, that means:
- A gift for the children’s school teachers (3 gifts)
- A gift for their Sunday School teachers (at least 10 gifts)
- A gift for their Wednesday night children’s program teachers (at least 3 gifts)
- A gift for their music teachers (3), P. E. teacher (1), piano teacher (1)
- And the list could go on!
So you get the idea! Besides their classroom teachers and their piano teacher (to whom we give a bigger present), we have at least 17 presents to give! Well, that is out of our price range at even $5 a person. That would be $85! So we have started giving much simpler gifts. They may not be worth much monetarily, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
What we do is make an ornament with the child’s photo (of a photo of all the children for the children’s pastor or the P. E. teacher), and we attach it to a couple of chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
Here’s what we do:
First, for the pretzel rod:
- I melt the chocolate according the package directions. I used red and green Wiltons melting chocolates that you can find at crafting stores and maybe Walmart, and I used white almond bark that I bought at Aldi’s. The white almond bark is the perfect consistency. I found the red and green chocolate to be too thick and so I added a little shortening (like Crisco) to get it thinner. DO NOT add water to the chocolate. Many years, I only use the white and milk chocolate almond bark, but I wanted to show you the pretty Christmas colors!
- Place a strip of waxed paper on the counter and place the melted chocolate next to it. I normally only melt one color of chocolate at a time.
- Cover the pretzel rods. I hold the pretzel over the bowl that has the melted chocolate. I take a spoon and pour spoonfuls of chocolate over the pretzel, turning it until the whole pretzel except the bottom is covered. I gently shake the pretzel to get excess chocolate to drip off the pretzel into the bowl, and then I place the chocolate covered pretzel on the waxed paper.
- If you want to put sugar crystals on the pretzels, do it while the chocolate is still wet. If you want to drizzle a different color of chocolate over the top of the pretzels, wait until the first chocolate hardens.
- The pretzels all are done! I take 2 pretzels and wrap them in plastic wrap.
For the ornament:
I used to buy one of those foam kits and have the kids help decorate the ornaments. They turned out cute, but I found I had to hot glue or tacky clue most of them together myself. Then I had the problem of getting the right size pictures to fit perfectly. So since they weren’t quite as easy as I thought they would be, I thought maybe I should try my hand at making my own printables to put the pictures on. Again, these ornaments are not glass-blown ornaments: they are to be simple presents to say thank-you to adults who have mentored/taught my children.
- So I made the printables below. I printed them on light green cardstock. If you would like to print them out, just click on them and it will take you to my google documents where you will see the print icon in the upper left hand corner.
- I then had the kids decorate the outside of the printable–making sure they did not get glitter on the non-decorated space where I was going to stick the picture. Since I have developed a great friendship with tacky glue, and I wanted to make sure the decorations did not come off, tacky glue was used! So we put some drops of glue where the confetti was and the kids used Q-tips to spread the glue out. We then sprinkled glitter on those spots. They also put more glue on and put on pom poms or glass rhinestones or sequins. This decoration does not have to be done, but I wanted the kids to have a part in doing the ornaments for their teachers.
- You could cut out a rectangle and place the picture under the hole that you cut out so that it is a frame–but that was way too time consuming for me. So I just used my scrapbooking stickers on the back of the photos and stuck it on top of the printable. The kids can help do the sticker part as well. I used photos I had done at JCPenney’s, but you could use photos you have taken.
- Lastly, I punched a hole in the top, put a paper hole reinforcement on the back of the ornament, and then put a ribbon through the hole to hang the ornament from.
The pretzels were already wrapped, so I just take curling ribbon, and starting at the bottom, I criss-cross the ribbon around the pretzels up to the top of the pretzels where I tie a knot. Then I put the ornament on the curling ribbon, hanging by the ribbon that had been tied on the top of the ornament. I then tie a bow with the curling ribbon so that the ornament won’t fall off of the pretzels, and i curl the leftover ribboon.