It might only be mid-November, but the shops are already stocked full of trinkets and bobbins for decorating your homes for the Christmas season.
Making Christmas decorations for yourself isn’t just a way to avoid paying some of the extortionate prices for varying quality Christmas decorations, it’s also a way of personalising your decor, having fun trying out a new craft and maybe involving the kids too. Besides, everyone appreciates it when you go the extra mile at Christmas.
Here are a few simple decorations you could try to make at home yourself:
Gingerbread tree decorations
Doubling up tree decorations as edible treats is a great way to add to the Christmas cheer. Gingerbread is really easy to make and, if you add some white royal icing or edible glitter, your delicious decorations can even outshine your normal baubles and ornaments. All you need is the usual gingerbread ingredients and some Christmassy cookie cutters. There are loads of recipes for the perfect gingerbread online too: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/edible-christmas-tree-decorations
Just remember though, if you are going to try and make some gingerbread decorations, bake them as close to Christmas day as possible, to make sure they’re fresh for the big day.
Okay, so it’s probably not going to be snowing on Bondi Beach this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a bit to turn our homes into magical Lapland grottos, ready for Santa’s arrival. Paper snowflakes are so simple to make and they can be great for the kids to learn about symmetry.
All you need to do is cut a circle out of white paper and fold it in half, then in half again, then in half a few more times before neatly cutting out a few shapes and unfolding the paper to see what you’re left with. The more you try the better your snowflakes get. Hang them from doorways, on windows or on your Christmas tree itself to transport yourself to an arctic wonderland, in the middle of summer!
Glitter pine cones
The traditional Christmas look isn’t so much the gaudy gold and silver tinsel we often see in decorated malls and front yards. In fact it’s just the opposite – it’s the natural things associated with the Christmas season. The holly, the pine trees, the mistletoe, the snow and ivy are all staples of the European wintery Christmas, or the Christmas we see on classic American movies. Unfortunately though, they aren’t exactly the sorts of things that are easy to find in the height of summer in Australia!
All is not lost though; there are plenty of natural things we can pick up over the course of the year that, with an added bit of sparkle, can be a perfect and cheap way to personalise your decorations. So, arm your kids with a bit of PVA glue and some glitter, and get them Christmassing-up twigs and pine cones from the garden to make some simple homemade Christmas decorations.
Brightly coloured, hand-sewn felt decorations will really show off your craft abilities this Christmas. And all the materials you need are easily available at your local craft shop. You can either cut up your own Christmas-coloured or themed fabric, or, if you’re feeling brave, stitch in your own messages.
Check out websites that can teach you how to create different designs, from stars to snowmen, from Christmas hearts to Christmas presents. You don’t even have to use stuffing to make all your designs 3D. Simply layering different colours of felt will add thickness and texture. https://www.pinterest.com/graciaadela/felt-christmas-ornaments/
Christmas card recycling
If you don’t feel bold enough to go for the full 3D, hand-sewn baubles, there are always 2D alternatives. All you need to do is cut out Christmassy images from old cards, punch a hole in the top and hang them from your tree with string or ribbon. While this might seem a bit too easy, you can go one step further and incorporate all of this year’s cards too, to turn your Christmas tree into a makeshift cardholder for all of the cards you receive. It’s also a good idea to do exactly the same thing with old family Christmas photos – to turn your tree into a photo album of Christmas past and tell your very own Christmas stories to guests who come over for tea.
Homemade Christmas wrapping paper
If you can afford to get yourself a little set of letter stamps, then you’re already halfway there to personalising a whole host of Christmas things, from cards to friends, to present labels, or place names. Being able to print writing yourself is a perfect and stylish personal touch to Christmas decorating.
You don’t need to have your own printing set to personalise wrapping paper though. If you fancy getting your hands dirty and having a craft day with the kids, Christmas potato printing might be the perfect thing to do. Obviously you need to be very careful when cutting up your potatoes into Christmassy shapes, like stars, Christmas trees or holly. But once you’ve got a set of stamps prepared, you’re ready to get printing with poster paint onto some blank paper. Just make sure you wait for the paint to dry completely before wrapping up your Christmas gifts! http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/knit-free/Christmas-craft-ideas-potato-print-wrapping-paper
Recycling your old bits and bobs into Christmassy baubles
Pinterest is full of perfect decoration ideas, and quite a few cheap alternatives to expensive shop-bought decorations too. One good example is recycling old blown light bulbs into baubles. The solid glass orbs lend themselves perfectly to Christmas tree hangings, and they feel weighty and good quality too. Some people suggest covering the bulbs in glitter and paint, others go for a simpler approach with gold marker pen detail, some just suggest leaving the bare bulb as a classy hanging ornament.
Wrapping old items up in Christmas wrapping paper is also a top tip. Even if you only have presents for one or two under the tree you can bulk it up with some wrapped shoeboxes to make your Christmas arrangements look full to bursting with Christmas cheer. Putting flowers in your tree can be a cheap and classy alternative to tinsel, simple ribbon bows can look just as good as more ornate decorations and small hanging baskets filled with Christmas treats can add that extra bit of holiday magic. Use your imagination, have a look at what you’ve got lying around and try out some new things.