The Ideal Christmas Gifts for Kids Share This One Characteristic

Are there any kids on your gift list who are between the ages of 6 and 18? If so, I have a suggestion: Instead of giving them toys or candy, give them gifts that will teach them truly useful skills — skills that will engage them, keep them busy and provide them with a lifetime’s worth of benefits.


Why do I make this suggestion?


Lots of reasons.


As a freelance writer, one of the topics I covered most frequently in 2019 was the opioid crisis in the United States (which is on its way to becoming a global crisis). It’s tragic.


What I discovered in the course of my research about this crisis: The reasons for the crisis are numerous and complex. But, surprisingly, one of the things that most frequently drives people to abuse drugs is boredom.


Boredom!


And how do you prevent children and teenagers from becoming bored? That isn’t easy, is it?


Well, I can’t speak for everyone. But, as a teenager, I was not ever bored. Not ever!


Why not?


I wasn’t ever bored because there were lots of things I liked to spend time on. I enjoyed crochet, knitting, crafts, reading, journaling, writing stories, cheerleading, watching movies, playing with my pets, spending time with my family and friends, going out with my boyfriend and working as a waitress at a local restaurant. There simply wasn’t any reason for me to be bored.


When I felt like maybe boredom could be coming on, the first thing I would do was reach for my crochet hooks and yarn. Using drugs was something that never even occurred to me as a possibility. Sure, I knew people who used drugs. And there were people who offered me drugs. I had no reason to accept the offers. I led a full life without drugs.


Ultimately, the gift of a full life is the gift that we need to give to our children if we hope to see an end to the opioid crisis.


We need to spend quality time with our children. We also need to encourage them to seek deep, meaningful friendships with others. We need to empower them to choose friends who will encourage them to be their best selves.


We need to teach them to read for pleasure.


We need to teach them useful skills that will engage them and give them ways to express their creativity. For me, crochet and knitting were the two that did the trick — and they’re two that I highly recommend teaching your kids (because they’re easy, popular, the barriers to entry are low, and there are easily accessible supplies available in an abundance of places ranging from your local Walmart to the internet to local craft stores if you happen to have them). But there are zillions of other possibilities: gardening, cooking, painting, drawing, computer programming, playing a musical instrument, martial arts, team sports — the list is really endless.


Since this is a knitting and crochet site, and since knitting and crochet were such an integral part of my own engagement in childhood, I’ll finish up this post by making some recommendations for fantastic gifts that can point a child in the right direction of these specific skills. But, really, I think the most important thing is to empower your children to learn at least one useful life skill that is of interest to them. It doesn’t have to be knitting or crocheting.

Finger Knitting for Kids: Super Cute & Easy Things to Make

Finger Knitting for Kids book by Eriko Teranishi, published by Tuttle Publishing
Finger Knitting for Kids Book: Super Cute & Easy Things to Make by Eriko Teranishi, published by Tuttle Publishing

This is a truly adorable book filled with useful, easy-to-understand information aimed at kids. The book includes tutorials for finger knitting plus instructions for making bunches of super cute projects including scarves, hair accessories, home decor items and more. The projects are all appealing ones that I think could be good motivators for kids — particularly girls, but there are a few boy-friendly items too — to want to learn how to do finger knitting.


Learn More About This Book:

Amigurumi Adorable Collection

Amigurumi, an Adorable Collection: Heroes, Animals and Monsters to Crochet, published by Leisure Arts
Amigurumi, an Adorable Collection: Heroes, Animals and Monsters to Crochet, published by Leisure Arts

Amigurumi patterns are good motivators for younger kids to learn how to crochet — because what child wouldn’t want to have such fun toys to play with after they’re finished crocheting? And many of the patterns are easy ones, requiring only chains, single crochet, and slip stitch plus some shaping and finishing skills.


The book you see pictured here, Amigurumi Adorable Collection, gets my vote as being one of 2019’s best value crochet pattern books. There are bunches of fun, playful, adorable patterns packed into this book at a super affordable price. The patterns in this book are suitable for boys and girls, both. I think any child who’s old enough to crochet would be excited to have a copy of this book.


Learn More About This Book:

Crochet for Girls

Crochet for Girls book by Zess, published by Stackpole Books
Crochet for Girls book by Zess, published by Stackpole Books

If you’re shopping for Christmas gifts for one or more girls, I think Crochet for Girls by Zess is an excellent book to consider. This book will empower your girl(s) to crochet some fun, stylish new wardrobe pieces like sweaters, dresses, skirts, hats, leg warmers and purses. They’ll be able to enjoy all the satisfaction that comes from choosing suitable yarns and colors and then making their own garments and accessories.


The majority of the patterns in this book are for girls’ sizes 4,6,8 and 10. I think the ideal age for starting to crochet is usually around age 6; and you couldn’t expect a girl much younger than 6 to be able to read this book anyway. So if you’re going to give this book as a gift to a girl, I’d recommend giving it to a girl between the ages of 6 and 10. It’s also possible that there may be some mature 5-year-olds who could enjoy success with crochet, although they would need major help with actually making a project.


This book would also make a great gift for a mom who wants to crochet clothing or accessories for her daughters between the ages of 4-10.


This book is simply delightful, and I think girls will really enjoy crocheting from this book. They’re also likely to enjoy wearing and using the projects they make from it. I wish someone would make a comparable book on Crochet for Boys…

Crochet Hooks

Any crochet hook or crochet hook set could be a good gift for a new crocheter who doesn’t already have the tools and supplies needed for crochet. If you’re totally, completely dead broke, a single aluminum crochet hook only costs about $3 and would be sufficient to help a new crocheter get started. Boye and Susan Bates are 2 of the most popular brands of aluminum crochet hooks. Either of these brands are great for beginners; both make sturdy enough hooks for beginners to succeed with. In general, a size H hook would be a good choice for a first crochet hook — or a size G, if your crocheter will be focusing mostly on making amigurumi crochet projects.


But, ideally, if you have the resources, it would be ideal to give your aspiring crocheter a set of multiple crochet hooks so s/he has the tools to crochet a broad variety of projects. A no-frills set of aluminum crochet hooks is still a budget-friendly gift. If you have a bigger budget for this particular gift, a set of sturdy ergonomic hooks, like Clover Soft Touch crochet hooks, would be an improvement over the simple aluminum ones. But any crochet hook that gets your gift recipient started is a good choice. S/he can always upgrade later.

Knitting Needles for Beginners

I think the finger knitting book I mentioned above is an excellent choice for beginners to knitting for a number of reasons. One is that it entirely eliminates all the stress around learning how to hold knitting needles and figuring out which knitting needles to buy (never mind the expense of knitting needles. In general, needles are pretty affordable, but the expenses add up if you end up buying new needles frequently.)


But if you want to buy knitting needles as a gift for a new knitter, there are 2 resources I recommend consulting. The first is our beginner’s guide to knitting needles; and the other is whichever pattern your beginning knitter will start with. If there’s a pattern s/he wants to make, the ideal knitting needles are the size and style of needles recommended in the knitting pattern.

The Best Yarn for Beginners to Crochet and Knitting

Cascade 220 Worsted Weight Wool Yarn
Cascade 220 Yarn

In general, the best yarn for new knitters and crocheters is smooth and either light or bright colored. If there’s a pattern s/he wants to work, buy the yarn recommended in the pattern.


Otherwise, if you have absolutely no idea which yarn to buy for a beginning crocheter or knitter, I recommend Cascade 220 as being one of the top choices you’d want to consider. This yarn is sturdy, affordable, virtually flaw-free and easy to work with. It stands up to insane amounts of abuse. It comes in a huge color palette, so you’ll be able to find the colors you need. It’s easy to fix mistakes made with this yarn. In short, it’s everything a beginner could possibly want in a yarn.


So there you have it: Those are my thoughts on the ideal Christmas gifts for kids. I welcome your comments, particularly if you have other actionable suggestions for how to empower kids to lead happy and fulfilled lives — or other suggestions for gifts that will help them do so.

Crocheted and Knitted Mittens Make Fantastic Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy making Christmas gifts for your loved ones? If so, you still have some time between now and Christmas to finish some wonderful handmade gifts for them.


There are zillions of possibilities for nice things you could make for your family and friends. But if you live in an area where December is a cold month, mittens make lovely, practical gifts that the recipient will be able to use right away.

The Following Books Offer You Fantastic, Gift-Worthy Mitten Patterns to Knit and Crochet:

Maja’s Swedish Mittens

Maja's Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Maja’s Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books

Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens

Jorid Linvik's Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns

Winter Knits From Scandinavia

Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family

Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie's Crochet
Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie’s Crochet

These books would all be excellent choices if you want to crochet or knit mittens for your inner circle for Christmas 2019 — or any time.


Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season this year.

See Also: Christmas Crochet and Knitting; Christmas Crafts

Who’s Knitting or Crocheting Christmas Gifts This Year?

Kitchen Gift Set to Crochet for Christmas or Any Time
Kitchen Gift Set to Crochet for Christmas or Any Time

Are you in need of patterns for knitting or crocheting Christmas gifts for your loved ones, friends and colleagues? If so, our website is a great place to find project ideas, free patterns and recommendations for pay-for patterns that are truly worth the money.


Pictured above is a set that includes 2 crocheted potholders and one dishcloth. This set makes use of both Tunisian crochet and traditional crochet techniques for an interesting project that is as much fun to make as it is to give. I made my project samples in red, yellow and blue — but wouldn’t this set be adorable if you were to crochet it in red, white and green for Christmas? Or, you could re-color it into just about any 3 colors to match bakeware, dinnerware, kitchen decor, etc. If you have friends or relatives who like to bake Christmas cookies every year, this set would be a charming gift to give each of them.


If you aren’t yet familiar with Tunisian crochet, don’t worry; we’ve posted a free afghan stitch tutorial that will teach you the easy, basic stitch you need to know for crocheting these projects.


The patterns for making this set are free here on our website:

If you like this idea, but the set you see pictured above isn’t quite what you had in mind, I invite you to browse through our potholder patterns and dishcloth patterns to find more ideas. I’ve posted patterns for numerous other potholders and dishcloths that you might enjoy making — some of which are more “Christmas-y” than this set is. Here are a few highlights:


Christmas Crochet Potholder Patterns



Wonderful Knitting Patterns for Christmas and Other Occasions


Arne & Carlos Favorites includes Holiday patterns for Christmas, Halloween and Easter, plus everyday patterns too.
Arne & Carlos Favorites includes Holiday patterns for Christmas, Halloween and Easter, plus everyday patterns too.

Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs: This is an AMAZING book filled with gift-worthy patterns for Christmas ornaments, knitted birds, toys, dolls, crochet blankets, knitted slippers, Scandinavian-style sweaters and bunches of other super cool projects. If you’re a proficient knitter, and you want to buy one craft pattern book that could give you patterns to use for making gifts for basically everyone on your gift list, this would be my suggestion for the book to buy. Most of the patterns are for knitters, with a few crochet and embroidery projects included as well.

If you need more Christmas gift ideas, I invite you to check out the following pages on our website:

I hope you and yours will have a blessed holiday season this year!

Knit or Crochet a Shawl for Fall

You can use fall colors to knit or crochet yourself a splendid shawl using any of these gorgeous shawl and wrap patterns. There are some lovely knit and crochet shawl instructions available for you to use. Check ’em out!


Beaded Crescent Shawl Knitting Pattern by Anniken Ellis; This Knitting Pattern Is Included in Vogue Knitting Shawls & Wraps 2, Published by Sixth & Spring Books. The Shawl Is Knitted in an Interesting Cashmere/Possum/Silk Blend Yarn Called Zealana Air.
Beaded Crescent Shawl Knitting Pattern by Anniken Ellis; This Knitting Pattern Is Included in Vogue Knitting Shawls & Wraps 2, Published by Sixth & Spring Books. The Shawl Is Knitted in an Interesting Cashmere/Possum/Silk Blend Yarn Called Zealana Air.

If you’d rather work from a pattern book, you have lots of options for that as well. Check out the following books to find spectacular shawl patterns:

Other Fall Knitting and Crochet Projects:

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