With Christmas around the corner, and budgets being stretched farther than ever before, I’ve been looking for ways to include homemade gifts a part of our giving this year. The trouble with homemade gifts though, is that I definitely don’t want to give a gift more worthy of the dumpster than the family mantle.

I was totally inspired by a family tree I saw in a magazine a couple months ago. This particular tree was to be given to a child and showed their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. But I am in desperate need of the complete opposite; a gift that centers on the grandparents!

By the time someone reaches retirement, Christmas gifts become harder and harder to think of. You can only buy grandma and grandpa so many sweatshirts, mugs, and throws emblazoned with their gorgeous grandchildren.

This craft is actually super simple. It’s just the names of their children and grandchildren printed on coordinating colored paper and framed. I suppose you could get all fancy and include photos for each child, but I am not that energetic, and I doubt you are either.

So here’s where I started.

Picking out paper. If you haven’t been down the aisles of your local craft store recently, you may not be aware of the trillions of paper options. But don’t be afraid, not only is God with you, but he also inspired some creative people to put together coordinating paper into bundles!

I decided that I would have one color for grandma and grandpa, two colors for children and their spouses (one for men, one for women), and then for the grandchildren I decided to keep the same colors for each family so that the colors will be symmetrical in the frame.

Once you’ve got your color scheme picked out it’s time to start blocking. It’s probably a good idea to block out how you want the names to lay out before you buy a frame. I did not do this, and kind of wish I had. I am now stuck with an oblong frame and have to block in the names to fit the space rather than finding a frame to fit the names.

I thought it would be easiest and most appealing to start in the center and move outwards. This will hopefully give a more symmetrical look and be the easiest to understand when looking at it. I’m also going to make the size of the pieces larger according to placement: grandma and grandpa will be larger, children will be smaller, and grandchildren the smaller yet.

Once I’ve figured out who is going where and what color they will be, I printed their names onto the paper. Give yourself plenty of space so that you can make cutting adjustments if needed.

Once you’ve got all the pieces printed and cut, you can start laying them out. I used a stiffer neutral backing paper to affix the pieces on. You can buy special paper crafting tape, but plain double-sided tape works just fine. Start in the center and work your way out, following the blocking plan you created.

Once all the pieces are in place put the frame back together, stand back and appreciate your masterpiece! You will no doubt be the envy of all the other siblings at your next family Christmas gathering.