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We're not big spenders to begin with. The other day on the news they said the average household spends over $900. per christmas season just on gifts. Gee, I can't imagine spending just half that much!

Anywho, I have 3 daughters 7,10, and 14 years of age. I'm thinking of getting them things that they can learn a skill from that might help them out throughout life. One gift I have in mind is a Sewing Machine. A while back they were cutting patterns out and making doll clothes. Just hand sewing them together. So this gave me the ideal of a sewing machine of some type.

Any other suggestions out there?
 

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That sounds like a great idea to me !! Do the girls take Home Ec in school anymore ?? My mother use to make my clothes even when I was in high school and of course, I never learned how to sew or knit from her. Just figured Mom would always be around.. :( Of course, I would also get the girls some gifts besides the machine. Patterns today are easy to make..I can actually make little girl sun dresses..easy, simple. I think they would love it..
 

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Sewing machine is a great idea :) couple of books to go with it about sewing techniques. Or perhaps a class at the local JoAnn Fabrics or maybe school?

Knitting needles and crochet hooks with yarn would be in the same vein. Knowing how to knit a pair of mittens or a warm hat is a GOOD thing :)

Perhaps a bag of sheep's wool or roving and a book on felting. It's great fun, and you can make such really COOL items...purses, hats, slippers, jewelry, toys, bags....the list goes on and on. You can probably find someone in your area with knitting and or felting experience who would be happy to help with teaching.

A telescope and a star map. :D I loved mine as a kid, and it taught me not only about the night sky, but I'd go research the stars, planets, etc.....also taught me to keep detailed notes and drawings. If you have a digital camera, it's possible to mate some cameras with some of the telescopes available.

Since you have internet, a subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online. $70 a year, AND they offer a 7day free trial so you can test it out, and then cancel if the kids (or dad) don't use it! https://safe.britannica.com/registration/freeTrial.do?partnerCode=EBO_DWHEADER

Yes, yes, I know..they can look up stuff with google...BUT Britannica has the subjects there...verified science/history/whatever. no guessing if it's "real" info or just some idiot making it up. AND they have it arranged as a reference..not just a blog. pictures, subject headings, references, similar subjects, etc.

hmm....what else?
 

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If you get a sewing machine, and I much recommend it,especially as they've been hand sewing already, get each girl a sewing kit (not very expensive with the 50% off coupons from most Hancocks or Joanns.... and find the books "i'll teach myself to sew" and I'll teach myself to quilt" It worked well for my little "I'll do it myself" girl when she was around those ages. As a 23 year old medical student, she knits, spins and quilts for stress relief, so this type gift can extend a lifetime.

A musical instrument works well. A set of used 'bells' in a case, once cost me $50 and we all have enjoyed them for years.

A real metal potholder frame, less than $10.

A 'blank' cookbook, so that they can keep 'heirloom' recipes from a young age... available at 'big box' bookstores for about $10, and they're nice.

And not cheap, really, but we bought a real microscope... (and then had to donate, blood and hair, etc for the 'experiments' that went with it). It was an amazing 'tool' and a lot of fun. As the two young adult kids are both 'scientist's now, I'd say that it was worth the investment.

dawn
 

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I was just also thinking of maybe a soap or candle making kit. Your older girls would be able to do this in a safe manner and between them sewing and candle or soap making they might just be learning a skill and go into their own business someday !!
 

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I want to second the idea of a sewing kit for each one. My dd's (they're 10) inherited my old machine when I got a new one last year so my mom bought each one of them a sewing box @ Walmart for about $10 and filled it with all kind of goodies including some inexpensive fabrics for them to practice on and a couple of easy beginner patterns (like an apron). They now make gifts for others with their new sewing capabilities.
 

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Make sure they are really interested in sewing before buying a machine. If you decide to buy a machine, DO NOT buy from Walmart or similar store. Go to a real sewing machine (or fabric) shop and look at their used machines. For doll clothes, as well as quilting, the machine needs to make a good 1/4" seam. Many very fine machines do not make a good 1/4" seam. When you sew a seam, the needle needs to be positioned so that the edge of the fabric is not on the feed dogs. Many modern machines are capable of moving the needle over so that you can get that 1/4" seam without the edge being on the feed dog. Make sure. Stay away from machines that do everything. They won't do anything really well. You need forward and reverse. You'll also get some hem stitches and a buttonhole stitch, but you don't need embroidery stitches. The best embroidery machines are very costly.

I like the microscope myself idea myself. If your oldest doesn't already have a music machine, get her one. If possible, also get a separate tape recorder that they can record themselves on ('course, you might be able to do that with your computer).
 

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Crochet hooks & knitting needles

yarn

personal sewing kits, with a small pair of embroidery scissors, multiple sizes of needles, etc.

"learn to knit", "learn to sew", "learn to crochet" - these books are available at any yarn/fabric store -- or you could compile one yourself if you know how to do any of these things, or even pull instructions off the net and print, bind in a duo-tang folder or binder.

Print easy patterns off the net.

Embroidery silks and a frame, a few plain white pillowcases for them to embroider.

A drop spindle and a bit of roving to learn with.

fabric

simple cookbooks -- and let them use them! So many people buy cookbooks for their children, and then never let them cook!

Simple home-repair and vehicle-repair manuals for the teen/young adult (this is a good gift ESPECIALLY for girls, as men often teach their sons basic repair and car maintenance, but don't think to show their daughters).

Journal books, so that they can keep track of their own ideas and projects.

Multicolored pens and pencils, glitter pens, etc. I had a child's writing teacher once tell me that if kids have things that are VISUALLY appealing to use in the writing process, they tend to write more, and therefore, better.

There are kits now available that are relatively inexpensive, which are geared towards children and young adults, to teach them how to do things like make soap, make candles, etc. Look on Amazon. You might even get the basic idea from one of these commercial kits and then make one up yourself.

My son's favorite gift one year was a jackknife and a box full of wood scraps. He carved for HOURS, and made some really beautiful things. The following Christmas, he carved a beautiful pair of knitting needles for me.

Bead kits. You can assemble this yourself from the craft section at any major department store --- they generally have packets of beads for sale relatively cheap. Girls love bead kits, and beading can be an art form.
 

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I can say that my girls loved their bb guns, a heck of alot better than any of the sewing stuff I purchased for them..LOL

You could find three large picnic baskets (the ones that have lids0 at the junk store..Fill it full of beautifully wrapped (make each item a tiny gift all it's own) sewing supplies: buttons, thread, needles, thimbles, scissors, tapemeasure, sock darner, rulers, markers, chalk, seam rippers, small pcs of really fun fabric. Go to your local newspaper office and ask for the end rolls of unprinted newspaper--I can buy a huge roll for 50cents and I use it to make patterns out of (along with art paper for the grands, wrapping presents, lining shelves, use it for packing materials, for the fireplace, cleaning windows and a 1000's other uses...)

You could build a small easy weaving loom--wood, tacks, yarn and a small shuttle or use one of the large plastic needles.

hand carders, drop spindle, knitting needles.

Cook books for their age group made on the computer of THEIR favorite foods, place all in one of the three ring binders--include aprons, pot holders, chef's hat!

A nature book (I suggest the 'North American Wildlife' book, by Reader's Digest--the 1982 issue ISBN #89577-102-0 can be purchased for very little on Abebooks. My entire family has one of these (gifts from Grannie) and they all agree it's the best book ever), to help id mushrooms,
plants/animals/insects, a hiking stick that you make, a back pack, magnifying glass, cute hat, gloves...vest with lots of pockets for their finds.
 
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