DS was 3 last Christmas and decorated photo frames for the grandparents (he has 3 lots confusingly). I bought cheap wooden frames from IKEA then he went at them with poster paint/PVA mix and lots of glitter. I took a nice photo of him and his baby sister messing about with tinsel and put that in the frames. V popular.
I have made saltdough fridge magnets, you can buy the magnets from ebay, make some saltdough (I used green food colouring and red glitter), stamp thick shapes out of it,, glue magnet on the back. We also glued photos of the dc on the front as well.
Or make something to eat, DD's (3 and 4) make mishapen peppermint creams, or christmas biscotti, that's just stirring.
Get some glass jars and coloured tissue paper and tea lights.Tear up tissue paper coat jar in PVA glue and cover in tissue paper.Tie a ribbon around the rim and pop on a tea light and you have a pretty lantern
Oh my goodness. Have just been googling plaster and moulds, and found all sorts of things that the three-year-old would think were hilarious but I should definitely not use to make Christmas decorations for great aunties. 'Tiny chocolate willy moulds' anyone?
Handprint tea-towels if you can cope with a 3 year old with their hand covered in dye!! tea-towels I did them with my 2 year old once and it was fine. Make sure there is 2 of you and set up a mini production line - one of you paints the hands and keeps hold of them whilst printing (and in between!!) whilst the other person takes charge of the tea towels hanging on an airer or clothes line to dry. I did a couple of spares and kept as keepsakes. You could also buy the fabric pens and let your little one loose drawing a picture - maybe not as messy?
Teatowels is fantastic idea - and have just found a slightly cheaper price and all sort of other things to paint (shopping bags, drawstring bags, aprons) here, so have ordered a whole batch and will get going this weekend! Thanks for all the ideas - v useful indeed.
ds made his grandparents a tiny hedgehog from air clay and matchsticks for spines - they've really treasured it. He also made a lovely bunch of tissue paper flowers on green garden cane stems - nice as they were, I assumed they'd be binned within weeks, but they're still proudly displayed years later
Or you could go for a calander. Make a nice picture, paint something or stick stuff on in a collage type design, or even do hand prints (buttefly or xmas tree etc). Stick it to a nice coloured piece of card and add one of these www.yellowmoon.org.uk/product-Calendar-Pads-D1161. htm I think you can get them at WHSmiths and places like that too.