I'm not going to pursue the gift card bag idea. Again, I'm really grateful for your feedback. You had lots of good ideas about how to improve them, but for the following reasons, I'm not going ahead:
1. The question of what to make the bags out of is a big one. The white felt I used didn't look that great. I think it looks better in person than in the pictures, but not different enough to go ahead. If I had some quality wool felt, that would be a major improvement. It would have a nicer texture and appearance and it also wouldn't be such a stark white. The appeal of using felt is that the edges don't need to be finished. No seam finishing, lining, etc, and it is substantial enough to support embellishment.
2. My thought was to make them and give them to the school to sell. They are not a big ticket item and I can't reasonably make piles of them, so they wouldn't really bring in that much money. Not enough to make it worth my time. There would be more time and money spent on improving them and then all the time in production. I'd rather just donate some of the other money I've made from sewing and be on my merry sewing way.
3. The question of what one would do with it after receiving it is significant. It could be re-gifted or used as an ornament or as a gift bag for some other small item, but none of those things are really necessary and I really think we need fewer unneccesary things, not more. Christmas involves enough waste as it is, I don't need to increase that. Interestingly, the felt that I did use was made from recycled plastic bottles. I thought that was cool. Too bad it doesn't look nicer.
I'll likely use the three bags I made without shame, but won't be making more. I like sewing better than crafting. These were definitely crafting.
But, sometimes it is fun to make something other than clothes. Like this little ball that I made yesterday with my son:
The free pattern is available here (lower right sidebar). He picked out the colors and helped me with the pins (taking them off and putting them on the magnetic holder) but enjoyed the stuffing part the most. That was fascinating for him. It's good to have a small, soft ball that can be tossed around inside the house.
Next up: More work on the jeans.