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FAMILY FUN

Holiday Crafts

 

I will always remember the year my sister made a simple wooden centerpiece with fresh greenery and a candle with the Brownies. My mother brought out that centerpiece every year afterwards and displayed it on the coffee table with pride. Our Christmas tree had plenty of store-bought ornaments, but the ones that were really cherished were the ones that some child in the family made over the years. Working on making these creations can bring the family together during the holidays, and help bring the focus of the season away from commercialism.

 

Crafts are a great way to get the kids involved in getting ready for the holidays. They can feel proud of having gifts to give, cards to give, or decorations they have made being displayed. Most of the crafts they enjoy are the simpler things that donít require a lot of adult help or a lot of artistic talent. Putting kids, scissors, glue and glitter together is a no-fail way to get everyone in the spirit. Add a little Christmas music in the background and a few cookies, and experience the magic.

One of the simplest, yet most rewarding crafts for kids is make Christmas ornaments. You can start with a pinecone, drizzle some glue around the edges and then sprinkle glitter over. Add a loop made of ribbon for hanging and you have made a lovely addition to any Christmas tree. Felt ornaments are also easy for kids to make. Simply help the kids figure out shapes and colors to cut, and make miniature stockings, Christmas trees, Santa, angels, snowmen or whatever else they can dream up. Glue the felt pieces together and decorate with glitter glue, ribbon or sequins, glue on a ribbon loop and you have a Christmas treasure. Ornaments like these make great family gifts for a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle to cherish. They are also easy to pack away, since they arenít breakable! Every year I pack my cherished ones loosely in the tins and plastic containers with lids that we have received Christmas goodies in.

 

Kids can make festive Christmas wreaths out of a variety of inexpensive materials. You can cut the middle out of a paper plate, turn the resulting ring upside down, glue bowtie or other assorted dry pasta onto it to cover the surface. Let dry, then spray paint and sprinkle with glitter. Glue on a bow and hang with a hook. If you have a lot of pinecones, use two strands of wire or fishing line, make a loop around both ends of each cone, to hold pinecones together in a slightly loose row, facing the same direction. Then connect the two ends to make a circle, with the cones pointing outwards away from the center. Use a wire hanger (straightened out and bent to shape) to stabilize it if necessary. Add a bow or some gold bric-a-brac and hang to make a simple rustic looking wreath. Add glitter, sequins, or other shiny things as desired.

 

Cards are another easy craft that mean a lot to the kids who make them, as well as the recipients. After you make your card list by going through last yearís cards, let the kids cut out pictures from the cards. If you have extra gift tags they can also cut items from some of them. They can glue them onto folded construction paper (make sure you have envelopes that fit first) to make Christmas collages, pictures of Christmas trees, or draw a Christmas picture and use the cutouts as accents on the front of cards. Glitter glue and ribbon make nice additions to jazz up a card. Add a personalized message inside for a card that will bring a smile to whoever receives it.

 

One year I bought wooden ornament kits for the kids. The wood was pre-cut, but needed to be painted and glued and sparkled. This little activity kept them busy for a couple of hours on a rainy Thanksgiving afternoon. The ornaments bear the distinctive artistic stamps of their creators, even though the base was a prepared kit.

Kids can make gifts for special teachers, coaches, troop leaders or other important adults in their lives. For women, make a holiday spice mix, put it a small glass jar, cover the top with a seasonal fabric scrap and tie a ribbon around it. To make the spice mix, save the peels from five oranges, tangerines or clementines. Add
1/4 cup whole cloves, 1/4 cup allspice, 5 broken cinnamon sticks, and 5 crumbled bay leaves. Mix and divide into several small jars. Can be used as is for a fragrant counter accent, or put one or two tablespoons in boiling water to infuse the air with holiday scent. For men, make a sports ornament for their tree. Create a miniature of something that represents their favorite sport, such as a hockey stick. Use cardboard for sticks or bats. If you have more time, you can make papier machť footballs, basketballs, baseballs, or pucks. Use poster paint in their favorite pro team colors. Glue a small holly sprig or other seasonal flourish. Glue or tie a ribbon around the middle, and you have created a very personalized ornament.

 

Whatever holiday crafts or other activities you do with the kids this year, enjoy the holidays with them!

 


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