Making Christmas decorations can be a great way to bring the family together during the hectic holiday season. Working together may not create fine art, but the treasures you make will be meaningful mementos that you may cherish for years to come. Here are six simple projects that anyone can make.
Personalized Christmas Baubles
Little kids love sparkles, right? Who doesn't? A family favourite, this customized craft involves using white glue to write the name of each family member on a fabric coated Christmas ball. Little ones love to gently sprinkle gold or silver sparkles onto the wet glue and, presto—a personalized ornament! Making one for each member of the family will probably take about an hour.
Loopy Paper Chains
Homemade decorations aren't just about saving cash. Paper chains are made entirely from recycled materials, but lend color and festivity to the home. To make these easy Christmas decorations, cut up a series of strips of paper from magazines or out of coloured construction paper. Make each strip an inch and a half wide by eight inches long. Start by looping one into a ring and gluing it together. Holding the joint firm is a perfect job for tiny kids who can't yet use scissors. Next, loop the second strip of paper through the first and glue it in a loop…and so on, and so on. The house can be quickly covered in long, loopy paper chains to festoon the mantelpiece or dangle from the rafters.
Art You Can Eat
Got older kids? How about taking on a cookie madness party? Choose a recipe that calls for rolled cookies—gingersnaps are great, as is the type of buttery, rolled shortbread suitable for cutting out with cookie cutters. You can develop quite an assembly line in the kitchen if you break up the tasks, and before you know it the family will have come up with enough batter for dozens of cookies. The fun part is rolling them out, and cutting them into shapes. Then, before baking, take a skewer and poke a hole in each cookie about the diameter of a pencil. Be careful to allow at least a quarter inch of dough between your hole and the edge of the cookie. Then bake, and hang from colored thread on your Christmas tree.
Get Ready to Fold: Mandala Snowflakes
A simple but artistic way to create snowflakes! Start with a square piece of white paper and fold it diagonally. Continue to fold along the diagonal until you have a thin wedge. Now, snip away little triangular shapes from the multiply-folded paper. When you unfold the paper, you'll see a beautiful design that looks like a snowflake. Tape your family's homemade snowflakes to a window for that wintry effect.
More Fun With Food: Popcorn Chains
A great way to engage kids and parents alike on movie night is to pop a bucket load of popcorn. Grab a seat on the couch, and hand everyone in the family a threaded needle with about three feet worth thread. Then, as you sit and munch on the couch, pass the needle through one white kernel after another until you have used up all of your thread. Now, take all of your popcorn chains and tie them together into a continuous garland to wrap around the tree or hang from the ceiling fan.
The Snow Globe
What to do with all of those tiny little plastic toys that seem to accumulate underfoot? Save them in a box, and come Christmas, use them for customized snow globes! Gather some glass jars with lids, and then use epoxy to glue your plastic figures onto the inside of the jar lid. Fill the glass portion of the jar with distilled water, add a pinch of glitter, and finish it off with a thimbleful of glycerine. Carefully screw on the lid of the jar, upend it, and give it a shake. Nothing says Santa like a miniature snowy scene.
The joy of these simple family crafts is that they allow for some quality family time. The charm of the wobbly and off-kilter things you make with your kids can outweigh anything store-bought. They might not be art, but these family heirlooms are worth much more for the memories they bring.