I finally settled on beaded key chains-- they are useful and my kids had a blast making them. They get a little thrill each time they see one of their beloved aunts, uncles, parents or grandparents pick their keys up off the counter. (Admittedly, I do too!)
What do you need? Pipe cleaners, key chain findings, beads, and a little patience.
I had trouble finding pony beads at my local craft store. You can find a big selection of pony beads as well as key rings for cheap on Amazon!
Although older kids could do this whole craft on their own, I prepared the keychains by wrapping the pipe cleaner around the key ring...
And that's it! My kids made dozens of these over our 'winter break' to give to friend and family. We had so many that some people even got 2! Do you all have any suggestions for next year?