Holiday Crafts for Cheapskates: Comic Gift Pockets

gift pockets
Bathroom tissue rolls and old comics are all it takes to make easy, inexpensive gift holder. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.

Every holiday season (usually about two weeks before Christmas when school is about to let out for the break), my daughter announces the list of awesome school teachers, coaches, dance instructors, church youth leaders, book club advisors, and a cadre of friends and neighbor kids for whom we have to get a little gift.

Although I’m happy to see so much generosity coming from her (and now her little sister), this adds up in terms of both time and money. As my kids are getting older and more involved in what seems like everything, I’ve learned to find ways to cover as much gift-giving ground with the least expenditure as possible.

Over the next four weeks, I’ll share a few exceptionally inexpensive and easy crafts kids can make (or help make) for that flood of holiday gift giving.

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We’ll start this week with the absolute cheapest and easiest gift to make. Comic gift pockets.packetmaterials

You need:
Bathroom tissue rolls
Old comic books or newspaper comics
Seasonal catalogs

Those little bathroom tissue rolls are pretty versatile little containers and craft starters, plus they are easy to stock up on. You can also make these small rolls by cutting a wrapping paper or tube curvepaper towel roll into smaller pieces.

First, flatten the rolls out, and carefully score a curve at each end with a scissor blade, as pictured. Make sure not to cut all the way through.

Cut out images of your favorite characters and collage them on the rolls. For a faster version, simply glue a portion of a comic page or strip (cut to fit the rolls), around it. Use the catalogs to add a little seasonal flair. Cover with decoupage or puzzle saver to secure them.

Add some seasonal accents to your comic collage by raiding catalog pages.
Add some seasonal accents to your comic collage by raiding catalog pages.

Once dry, cut a light curve at each end of the roll. Carefully push the two scored halves together on one, so they overlap. Fill the open end with goodies, and fold it up as well. Hold the rolls in place by tying a ribbon or string around them lengthwise, and add little handwritten gift tag.

 After curving the tube's end, push down gently along the scored curve to close up the packet.
After curving the tube’s end, push down gently along the scored curve to close up the packet.

Fill these with small foil-wrapped chocolates (we like to use Hersey Kisses or chocolate coins), tea bags, or other little treats. You can also fill these with a piece of fun costume jewelry, or small vintage toys like marbles or jacks. Since these already resemble gift card holders, they are the perfect size to surprise someone special with a gift card or cash.

Kids can easily carry a bag of these to school, and hand them out to everyone on their list. They can also make a few extra, for those they might have overlooked. It happens.

Toilet paper rolls and holiday treats may not seem like they go together, but when the holidays “roll” around, it’s a good idea to have plenty of both on hand.

These little packs can be filled with all kinds of inexpensive or homemade goodies.
These little packs can be filled with all kinds of inexpensive or homemade goodies.

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Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.