Handmade Christmas Tree Decorations

Kids love to help decorate the tree at Christmas time, and chances are they’ll love it even more if they made some of the decorations themselves. Give them a chance to express themselves with some of these easy craft ideas for handmade ornaments:

Gift Box Ornaments

Ages 3 to 10
Skill level: Easy to medium
Materials needed: Small boxes such as those from bandages, baking soda, or jewelry; wrapping paper, scissors, tape, colorful ribbon, silver elastic cord.

Take each box and wrap it up with wrapping paper. Tie the “package” with colorful ribbon. Cut a short length of the silver cord and loop it through the ribbon; tie it in a small knot. Hang the packages from the tree by the silver cord. Optional: Add gift tags with a family member’s name on each one.

“Green” Recycled Card Ornaments

Ages 3 to 10
Skill level: Easy to medium
Materials needed: Empty cereal boxes, old holiday cards, pencil, scissors, glue, hole punch, brightly colored ribbon.

Cut the cereal boxes and lie them flat, cardboard side up. Draw a variety of shapes on the cardboard (star, bell, stocking, candy cane, Christmas tree, etc.). Cut out the shapes. Using each shape as a pattern, trace it over the colorful portion of a used Christmas card. Repeat by tracing the reverse image of the shape on another Christmas card. Glue the Christmas card shapes onto the cardboard, one on front and one on back. Wait for the glue to dry, then trim the edges so that the sides line up cleanly. Punch a hole in the top part of the ornament, lace the ribbon through, and tie a knot for it to hang from the tree.

Beaded Wreath Ornaments

Ages 3 to 10
Skill level: Easy
Materials needed: Silver or green pipe cleaners, clear and/or brightly colored beads; festive ribbon.

Bend the pipe cleaner into a circle. Thread the beads onto the pipe cleaner so they fit entirely around the circle. Take the two ends of the pipe cleaner and twist them together into a neatly knotted shape at the top of the circle. Cut a short length of ribbon, slide it under the knot, and tie it into a bow on top so that the wreath can hang from the tree by the ribbon.

Sparkling Photo Frame Ornaments

Ages 4 to 10
Skill level: Easy to medium
Materials needed: Posterboard, scissors, glue, glitter, hole puncher, festive ribbon, glitter pen (optional)

Trace a 4-inch-tall oval onto the posterboard, cut out the oval, and then cut out an oval shape from the inside, to create a 3/4-inch-wide oval-shaped “frame.” Cover the frame completely with glue, then sprinkle glitter over the glue. Allow plenty of time for the glue to dry, then gently tap off the excess glitter. Glue a photo to the back of the frame so that the picture shows through the glitter oval. After the glue has dried, glue another 4-inch oval behind the picture and trim the edges if needed. Punch a hole through the top of the frame and string the ribbon through the hole, then tie a bow so it can be hung from the tree. Optional: Write the year on the back of the photo frame with the glitter pen.

Popcorn Garland

Ages 3 to 10
Skill level: Easy
Materials needed: Dental floss, air-popped popcorn, dried cranberries, thin sewing needle

Cut a four-foot length of floss and tie a knot at one end. Thread the needle with the floss, then put the needle through a piece of popcorn and slide the popcorn all the way down to the end of the floss at the knot (making sure the knot is big enough to hold the popcorn in place). Repeat with a pattern of cranberries and popcorn (three pieces of popcorn, one cranberry; or any similar variation) until the floss is nearly full. Tie a knot at the other end and cut off any extra floss. Make more garlands as needed to wrap around your tree. Once Christmas is over, you can hang the garland outside to feed the birds.

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