For me, one of the best ways to stay grounded and find meaning around the holidays is through making Christmas crafts and decorations. I especially like decorations and ornaments that are made from simple or natural materials — a wreath made from fresh cuttings, a dried orange garland, a felt ornament with hand embroidery. If the materials have the added element of a delicious scent — orange, clove, pine, cinnamon, cedar— even better!
Homemade crafts and decorations have so much more personality than anything that’s mass-produced, and if they’re made by you or someone you love, they become family heirlooms and treasures. Most of these are simple enough for children to make, especially with a little adult support.
I’ve gathered together some of my favorite crafts for homemade Christmas decorations, some mine, some from others. I will be adding more ideas to this post, so be sure to check back. Let me know in the comments if you try making any of these, or add links to your favorite Christmas crafts.
Watercolor Paper Lanterns
This is one of those projects where the end creation is so much more than the elements that go into it, especially when you see them lit up in the dark. I created this Paper Lantern Video Tutorial using watercolor paintings made by my daughter and mother-in-law, and they made their own video showing how to do the paintings.
Christmas Gnome Ornaments
You can keep the Christmas gnome ornaments simple and clean, or embellish them with beads, bells, metallic thread, hand-dyed felt, or more elaborate embroidery. Whatever makes you feel good. You do you, sistah.
This a craft that captures the spirit of the season for me — gathering materials from nature allows you to really stop and notice, to look closely at things that you would otherwise glance past, to slow down. And then you add candlelight, which feels even more elemental at this time of year with the long, dark cold days. We have made these every year since our kids were wee cuties.
Dried Orange Garlands
This is one of those decorations that is timeless — like evergreen wreaths and gingerbread, oranges as a winter or holiday decoration are universal. For me it harkens back to a time when things like oranges were special and only around at a certain time of year. If you hang your garland where the light can shine through it, then the slices look like little stained glass windows.
Mini Yarn Wreath Ornaments
I find these mini wreath ornaments from A Pretty Life in the suburbs to be completely charming, and so quick and easy to pull off. They’d be so cute as a gift topper as well. I certainly have plenty of yarn in my stash to make a few.
All you need are the rings (I think this size seems about right), yarn, anything you want to embellish them with, and craft glue.
Fresh Evergreen Wreath
A fresh evergreen wreath may be the most simple and traditional christmas decoration there is. If you follow my tutorial and make a wreath jig, you can build a beautiful wreath in no time, and why limit yourself to the holidays? Make wreaths year round!
Felt Christmas Tree Ornament
I love when crafts show off the qualities of the materials they are made from, and this Felt Christmas Tree Ornament from hello, Wonderful really does that for me. Something about the stacking of all those pieces of fuzzy felt. I do recommend using real wool felt and not the synthetic stuff. You can find it on Etsy here.
This Origami Wreath Tutorial from Paperiaarre (which thankfully also includes a video) is an excellent craft because the look could go in a lot of directions, depending on the paper you choose, and even the size of the squares. I love the herringbone she used — it mimics the texture of evergreen needles — and the gray with the red is subtle but still festive.
You could of course use origami paper to make the wreath, but I was thinking about trying nice wrapping paper, like the kind you see draped over racks in art stores. So many options. I have some vintage graph paper that’s green that I think will look great.
Of course, you don’t have to add the eyelet, but it does add a level of detail and finish that’s nice, especially if you wanted to give these as gifts. Why are eyelets so cute? They just are. This is a great eyelet kit if you want to have a lot of color choices.
Retro Diorama Ornaments
This craft comes from one of my favorite online craft stores, Smile Mercantile. They sell many of the supplies you need to make these, except for the diorama balls themselves, which you can find here.
Needle-Felted Woodland Ornaments
These adorable fuzzy friends come courtesy of Martha Stewart (or at least her minions). I love the combination of the two textures of wool with the pressed felt sheets and the wool roving. They recommend buying your felt from A Child’s Dream, and I completely agree, since they are another of my favorite independent online craft stores. I started shopping with them years ago when my kids were in Waldorf school, and they have a beautiful selection of materials.
I hope you have the opportunity this holiday season to make something by hand. Please share this post with all your crafty contacts, pin it on Pinterest, and share it on Facebook.