This November, somewhere along the line, in all my crazy, I decided that we would try to decorate our entire Christmas tree only with homemade ornaments. It started with me looking on Pinterest for some fun Christmas activities/crafts to do with the kids, but eventually the pins started to accumulate to the point where I figured we could make this happen. It did take a bit of forward thinking (this is not something we could have pulled off the weekend before getting our tree), and prep work since the kids are in school full time now. However, I was already trying to stay on top of the Christmas fun in November since I knew I would be away from home the first part of December.
We started by getting a big pack of Sculpey clay and pulled out our Christmas cookie cutters and stamps. We rolled out the clay and stamped trees, stars, holiday greetings and snowflakes all over the clay. We then cut them out with the cookie cutters and put a hole in the clay (to put on our tie for hanging). Once the clay was baked, the ornaments hardened up, and then we tied on a variety of ribbons and twins to hang them in our tree. We got a ton of ornaments this way, and the kids really loved making them. It was fairly mess-free and they were able to do a lot of it themselves, with the acceptation of me rolling out the dough and the baking.
Another decoration we did was a homemade garland. The garland was part of a kit I purchased, but I thought it would work perfectly with the aesthetic of the other ornaments we had made and still have that “homemade” feel. I purchased a few of these kits and I assembled them with the kids. I figured out a pattern that would work well with the beads and tassels that were in the kits, and then had the kids help string them all on.
Cayden didn’t show interest in helping until I got to the third (and final) strand, but Averianna enjoyed helping or at least watching with all three. I love how these turned out and I’m tempted to get a couple more sets to hang on our stair railings or in the kitchen next year for Christmas.
We dried orange slices this year, which was really easy and the end result looks great! I just thinly sliced the oranges with a knife, and we put them in the oven at 200F for approximately 4-5 hours. I had to keep flipping them and rotating them though, so it was a bit of a process.
I really loved the wood slice photos I found on pinterest, so off I sent Erik with a chainsaw to cut some slices! haha! I couldn’t find pre-made ones in any craft stores, but these worked just fine. I printed off a bunch of photos with the kids in them, and we used Mod Podge to attach the images to the slices. These also became Grandparent gifts.
Averianna and I gathered a bunch of pinecones from some of the trees we have on our property. I baked them at low heat in our oven for a good 45 minutes to an hour. This just helps dry them out and also takes care of all the little bugs that tend to live inside of the pinecones during the colder months. Once they were dried, I waited for a nice weather day and spray painted them gold outside.
We also collected sticks and twigs and used Christmas coloured yarn and twine to wrap around them into snow flakes, stars, and Cayden made one into a Christmas tree. This was fairly easy for them to do, once I prepped their twigs and hot-glued them into place.
Above you can see how a bunch of it came together. It really was such a special Christmas tree this year. I will definitely be doing this again with the kids because I feel like they took a lot of pride in seeing all their ornaments on display as well. I’ll be on the hunt for some new ideas and I’m sure they will “grow into” some of the more challenging crafts for next year’s Christmas tree!