As parents, we've come to realize that the joy of Christmas is most prevalent when we give. We've discovered one of the best ways to pass on this truism to our own children is to have them experience it firsthand - with a gift they have chosen and made themselves.
* Silhouette. Materials: Scissors, glue, utility-clamp lamp or other bright light, pencil, two large sheets of poster board (one black, one white). Procedure: Darken the room and use light to make child's face shadow on wall. While child sits still, trace silhouette on white sheet, then cut out. Mount silhouette with glue on black poster. Cut black poster into oval shape for a professional touch. If child is old enough, have him print the following poem to accompany the silhouette:
You can see my silhouette, the outline of my face.
My ears, my nose, eyes and mouth are perfectly in place.
I'm growing faster every day and someday I'll be tall.
But this will remind you of when I was (child's age).
Never again will I be this small!
* Holiday cards. Materials: Construction paper, paper punch, old holiday cards, glue, and crayons. Procedure: Fold 41/2-by-6-inch construction paper in half, draw on front the outline of a Christmas tree, bell, or candy cane. Punch out colorful dots from old cards and fill in outline with them by using a speck of glue for each. Inside card, children can decorate more with crayons and write ''Happy Holidays!''
* Handprint calendar. Materials: One sheet of white poster board or construction paper, plate, poster paint, small calendar for new year (can be found in most office supply stores), stapler or glue. Procedure: Spread poster paint on plate and have child carefully put hand in paint and then make handprint on top half of paper. Allow to dry. Staple or glue small calendar of new year on bottom of sheet. Children can decorate or write their own special message and sign name before giving.
* Pin cushion. Materials: Small canning lid metal screw band, SOS-type pad, 3-by-3-inch colorful material, glue, cardboard, pen. Procedure: Place material over SOS pad, then secure metal ring on top of both. Trim off excess material at bottom of lid, then glue cardboard cut to ring size to bottom. Allow to dry, then write ''Happy Holidays - 1984'' and child's name on bottom.
* Handmade flowers. Materials: Construction paper or assorted material scraps , glue, scissors, pipe cleaners. Procedure: Draw and cut flower petals and center from paper or fabric. Glue rim of petals and shape pipe cleaners to trim edges of all petals. This makes petals not only firmer, but more pliable to resemble real flowers. Glue petals to flower center and then secure to another pipe cleaner with glue or a knot on end of pipe cleaner poked through flower center.
* Holiday plant. Materials: Cup or mug, raw peanuts (can be found in most produce departments), cotton ball, potting soil, colorful ribbon. Procedure: Crack open peanut shell and set one or two peanuts with skin on cotton ball inside of mug. Keep cotton slightly wet for several days and watch plant sprout. When plant is about two inches tall, remove, fill mug with soil, and transplant peanut plant in soil. Tie colorful ribbon around mug and attach holiday greetings. Note: This project should be started in the first half of December.
* Holiday stitchery. Materials: Large sewing needle, square burlap or felt, yarn, Magic Marker. Procedure: With marker, outline large Christmas tree or bell or candy cane on material. After threading needle with yarn and knotting, show child how to sew over and under on the outlined pattern. A border can be made with masking tape or can also be sewn by child.