7 tips for DIY Christmas decorations
Giving your Christmas decorations a personal touch is a great idea, and making your own is also an excellent way to keep kids busy when they're bored at home during the holidays! Making Christmas decorations is actually not difficult, it can be really fun, and most of the materials are inexpensive. Of course, young children should be given plenty of guidance and supervision, because some of the tools and materials can be dangerous if misused.
1. Try giving Christmas an Australian twist
Most Christmas decorations are not made with Australia in mind. They show wintery scenes, complete with reindeers and snowmen. It's actually quite bizarre to be hanging snowflakes on our Aussie Christmas trees.
Strange as it may seem, these winter icons (including the beloved Christmas tree) don't have much to do with the real Christmas at all. They're actually pagan symbology of the ancient European festival of Yule, which paid homage to the Gods of Winter.
When the early Catholics were trying to convert Pagan Europeans to Christianity, they usurped their festivals of Yule and Oester, replacing them with Christmas and Easter, respectively. The Christmas tree, with its decorative balls, sprigs of holly, and lashings of tinsel are all symbolic of old Norse, Celtic, Gothic, and Germanic worship. Nothing at all to do with a chap who was born in the middle of a stinking hot desert in early Autumn, thousands of miles from Europe and a good three months before the onset of winter.
So as to make Christmas more realistic, why not reject that European symbolism and replace it with something more Australian? Here's an example of a commercial Aussie Christmas decoration. It's certainly worth buying, however the design is so simple, it could inspire you to make many other designs like kangaroos, boomerangs, koalas, etc. You could make them from clay, construction paper, cardboard, or foam. Make a hole at the top, thread a bit of string through it, and you have an easy and inexpensive Christmas decoration, ready to hang on the tree.
2. Some cool suggestions from Smart Parenting
Smart Parenting is a Filipino website dedicated to providing tips for parents. Like Australia, the Philippines is a primarily Christian country which doesn't see a single flake of snowfall at Christmas (or indeed any other time of year).
Even so, they couldn't resist using the traditional Christmas symbology in their craft ideas which, even with that glaring flaw, are still really excellent projects to try. We especially liked the ‘sock snowmen’ because they're super cute and really easy to make. You can also easily see the potential for adapting the beaded tree ornaments into Australian shapes, as mentioned in the previous tip. Be careful working with beads, however. Young children can easily swallow them, and they could be a choking hazard.
3. Decorating with pine cones
If you live in an area that is naturally abundant in the supply of pine cones, these interesting decorative tips from feelitcool.com are well worth an attempt. The pine cone penguins are the most relevant to our hemisphere.
4. More advanced things to try
As you'd expect from a site called The Crafting Nook, the suggestions on offer are pretty… well… crafty! However, they would take quite a bit more effort than a typical DIY Christmas decoration, and they're definitely not projects for kids. Still, the results could be worth the effort, and we especially like the "rustic stocking holders". The site is skimpy on instructions, but you can see from the pictures how everything is supposed to fit together.
5. A huge collection of craft ideas from Woman's Day
The popular Woman's Day magazine has put together a web page with over 50 innovative suggestions for Christmas craft ideas. The reindeer finger puppets would be an easy and fun thing to make with the kids, and with a little imagination, other designs could emerge. Santa? Space aliens? Dinosaurs? There's nothing stopping you. Also, space aliens are way more likely to invade your Christmas Dinner than a snowman would be.
6. Photo snow globes from parenting magazine
These ‘snow globes’ are a really neat idea, and because you can put your own photos in them it means they're really personal and have a shelf life that extends far beyond Christmas. They are not at all difficult to make, and they're also an environmentally-friendly decoration idea because you'll be recycling jars that would otherwise be thrown out.
7. Personalised photo gift tags
This one requires some computer skills, and could be a little difficult to set up, but the tags look really awesome, so we'd recommend giving this project a go. The idea comes from Fire Flies and Jelly Beans, and with a name like that, you know you can expect something a bit out of the ordinary. These tags don't disappoint.
DIY Christmas decorations for the whole family
Making your own fun Christmas decorations may initially seem daunting, but if you find you're struggling, just get your kids to teach you. The main barrier to accomplishment is insufficient application of imagination. If you've gotten rusty in the imagination department, it's best to turn the most difficult part of the job over to those who have imaginations that are still running at full speed.