So, the kids are at home for that all exciting time of year, Christmas break! Yes, as adults, we’re excited to see them enjoy their break and visit Santa. But, at the same time, we feel pressure to keep them entertained. After all, we can’t send them outside in dismal weather. But, at the same time, he house is filled with delicate ornaments and presents under of the tree – all of which could do without tiny hands poking and fidgeting. What are we to do?
Well, we propose it’s time to get the little ones involved, allowing them to focus on tasks that will add to the magic of the season while preserving mom and dad’s sanity. Home-made ornaments made by the children of the home add a special touch to any Christmas tree. Mom and dad will enjoy Christmas break with their children. Children can feel involved in the festivities, creating memories that will last them a lifetime. And, grandchildren will love to decorate their trees with ornaments their parents made with their own little hands. It’s a win-win for everyone.
But, you don’t have to try to come up with your own ornament crafts. To make your job easier and your holidays a little more magical, we have compiled four of our favorite home-made ornaments you can make as a family.
- Simple (or Fancy) Pinecone Ornaments
This time of year, pinecones abound and can add a rustic magic to any Christmas tree. For pinecone ornaments, it’s best to purchase them from a local store rather than gather them from the yard. This is because, while outdoors, these natural ornaments often harbor a nest of microscopic and not-so-microscopic critters that will likely be unwelcomed guests in your home.
You can purchase scented or non-scented pinecones from many local and virtual stores, including Walmart, Michaels, and even Amazon. And, before leaving the store, purchase some Jute (brown string), some strong glue, whether super-glue or, even better, hot glue. If you’re new to the hot-glue-gun world, here is a tutorial. And, for your older children, here is a safety video on the do’s and don’ts of using a glue gun. And, don’t forget the craft glue, glitter, and small paint brushes just in case your children want to get fancy. Lastly, have your children choose some ribbon they like and will use for the bows on each ornament.
When you get home, have each child choose a pine cone. Cut pieces of jute long enough to comfortably wrap around a tree branch and glue the ends to the top of each pinecone, creating a loop. Next, your children can paint their pinecones with craft glue and glitter. Let dry.
Next, tie ribbons into bows and hot-glue them onto the jute near the top of the pine cone and let dry. If you glue them to the top of the pinecone, they often don’t turn out well. If you don’t have a hot-glue gun available, you can also just tie bows around the jute.
And presto! You’re ready to decorate your tree with rustic home-made pinecone ornaments.
- Ginger Cookie Ornaments
There is nothing more magical at Christmas than making cookies with children. There are so many ways to get them involved, from cutting cookies to decorating them with sprinkles, icing, or….glitter. Yes, glitter. Now, you can make cookies with your little ones that will last for years, creating vivid memories your children can share with their children. Ginger Cookie ornaments are easy and can be made to look rustic or flashy, allowing each child’s style to be represented on the family Christmas tree. You can use a variety of cookie shapes, from the more traditional Ginger Man shape to Christmas trees, candy canes, snowmen, religious symbols, gifts, and more, allowing your children to express what most excites them about the Christmas season. And, with added Cinnamon and essential oils, these ornaments can add a holiday aroma to your tree for extra magic during family Christmas celebrations.
To get started, gather your ingredients:
- 3 Cups all-purpose flower
- 1 cup ground Cinnamon powder
- 1 cup salt
- 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cup salt
- Essential oils (optional)
Recommended decorating materials:
- Peppercorns, cloves, or beads (for snowman, animal, or gingerbread eyes, depending on the shape of your cookie).
- Straws or toothpicks for making holes to hang your ornaments
- Glitter glue
- Ribbon or twine for hanging your ornament
- Cookie cutters of your child(ren)’s choosing
Next, follow TreasureInAnEarthenVessel.blogspot.com’s picture tutorial for making and baking your cookie ornaments.
- Mason Jar Lid Ornaments
Mason jars already have a cozy connotation of moms and grandmothers canning delicious garden foods and home-made jams for their families. You can translate this nostalgia to your Christmas trees and your children will be delighted to help. Mason Jar Lid ornaments are a great way to bring your children’s personalities into the Christmas festivities. They can choose background fabrics and images or symbols to include on their ornaments. Fabrics can include rustic flannel designs or even quilting material for a vintage feel. And, many of the tasks involved in crafting these ornaments are child-safe. You may have to man the glue-gun, though.
To begin, gather these materials:
- Mason jar lids and screw rings. These are sold in packs in the canning section of craft and hardware stores.
- Fabric scraps. Make sure these are large enough to cover the canning ring. Children will love choosing the fabrics for their ornaments from your local crafts store. Or, you can purchase a sampling of quilting squares with a little of everything to choose from. And, if you have a colonial or civil war museum gift shop nearby, you may be able to find some quilting fabric for an authentically vintage feel.
- Glue gun. See the link for the glue gun tutorial and safety video above.
- Scissors. Make sure your scissors are sharp and precise for cutting out small details.
- Image/cutout/sticker to place in the center of the ornament. Symbols can include snowflakes, candy canes, religious symbols, and even vintage trucks – whatever your children will fancy. Or, you can print out small images on card stock of family members to create a family photo-album of Christmas tree ornaments.
And, that’s all you’ll need. Then, follow the directions from CleanAndScentsible.com’s picture tutorial.
- Crafty Colors holiday coloring and craft book.
If you have subscribed to the latest adult-coloring craze to melt your stresses away and bring back the child in you (I have!), you’re in luck. Pennydellpuzzles.com offers a holiday coloring and craft book that the whole family will love. Children (and adults) can enjoy coloring each page. Then, they can cut out the page as described in the instruction page and turn it into a beautiful Christmas ornament. From origami paper-bird ornaments, colored to your child’s taste; to candy-cane sleds with holiday sweets inside, there’s something magical there for everyone. The book costs $6.99 and can be purchased from many local grocery store magazine aisles. And, if you order online, you can receive a 10% discount. Just remember, some of the crafts within require rulers, special glues, and the like so be sure to plan your craft session beforehand by looking at the instruction page of each craft for a short and affordable list of required supplies.
We hope this list will help your holiday be more peaceful and magical for your entire family. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
photo credit: Randy Son Of Robert <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46042146@N00/2137548043″>Wee Westie Christmas 2007</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
photo credit: Theo Crazzolara <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/141324643@N05/31165300161″>Weihnachtslebkuchen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>