World Market has in stock some really charming cloth animal ornaments with jointed limbs that are priced just under $4 each. The facial features are made with thread -- no choking hazard beads to worry about -- and I can see small children having fun posing the legs. I can also picture these creatures on a Christmas tree inspired by Deyrolle, the natural-history emporium in Paris.
If you're buying gifts for any godchildren this year, another option would be to use one of these animals in combination with Joelle Jolivet's Zoologique. Wrap the oversized book in kraft paper and tie a lion, elephant, kangaroo, or zebra to the present to hint at the contents.
A book that will appeal to grown-ups who appreciate cut-paper arts is Emma Rutherford's Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow. This volume is featured in Elle Decor's beautiful holiday issue.
Art historian Rutherford deals in-depth with the social history of the paper craft, looking back at it's beginnings in the 18th-century, but also discusses Kara Walker's edgier use of the traditional form in her contemporary art.
Click here and here for related past posts about cut-paper arts.