I love decorating our home for the holidays. Unfortunately, this year, most of our decor is in boxes 6,000 miles away. When our family made a month-long trip back to the States for a conference, we didn’t know that health issues would keep us here longer, then ultimately relocate us back to our home country.
That’s a whole other story I can share sometime.
All our uprooting meant we could only afford for Kyle to make a trip back from one week in March, to collect as many of our items as we could cram in his allotted luggage space (plus a few more boxes). This meant that non-essentials, like Christmas decor, had to wait.
We hope to retrieve the rest of our belongings when our finances allow, so in the meantime, this means our holiday decor this year is mostly handmade. I refuse to buy more stuff when we have plenty in storage.
This is fine by me, because I honestly love the look of homemade decor. Plus, it’s been a fun way to bond with my kiddos, as we create and craft together.
I thought it would be fun to show you a few of our projects around the house. Here are some simple ways we’ve decorated around our home, handmade-style.
1. String balls
These are exactly what they sound like — balls made of string. Blow up some water balloons (not too much, to keep them small), wrap any form of string around them haphazardly, then cover with a mixture of equal parts white glue and water. Let it get really dry — probably overnight — then when they’re hard, pop the balloon.
Water balloons are best because they tend to be more evenly round and smaller than traditional balloons.
Thin string is best (I used crochet yarn, but you can even use sewing thread), and it’s easiest to dab the glue mixture with a cheap sponge brush.
The kids loved this project, though I wrapped the string around for them. The tighter, the better.
These balls make great ornaments or Christmas light covers, or string a line of them together for bunting.
2. Felted garland
Hooray for free decor!
I felted an old wool sweater of mine (washed on hot and threw it in the dryer).
Then I cut it into pieces, let the kids toss it around for awhile, and then threaded it on dental floss.
3. Paper leaf wreath
The kids wanted to make decor for their rooms, so they made wreaths for their door by using a cardboard circle with the center cut out and scrapbook paper leaves and berries. I joined them and cut out a slightly larger wreath form from a spare piece of cardboard.
Couldn’t be simpler.
4. Jesse Tree au naturel
We’re celebrating the Advent of Christmas with Ann Voskamp’s beautiful A Jesus Advent Celebration. Every year I plan to make felted Jesse Tree ornaments, and every year I run out of time.
But instead of skipping the family tradition, I just flex and have the kids color these printable ornaments. This keeps them involved anyway.
For our tree this year, we gathered some branches with a lot of twig offshoots, “planted” them with rocks in a simple terra cotta pot we already had, and covered the rocks with dollar store moss. I just drizzled white glue on the moss, and this secured it enough. I wrapped the top of the pot with simple ribbon, and voila — a simple Jesse Tree for about $1 (half a package of sheet moss and a few inches of ribbon).
Tate thinks our tree looks like a moose going for a jog — the branches are its antlers, the ribbon is its sweatband, and the pot is its head. Silly girl.
5. Clothespin card holder
To display our received Christmas cards, I hung a piece of ribbon and secure them on with clothespins.
This is really the anti-craft — it took about five minutes.
Finally — a non-craft. We’re huge book readers, so I gather the Christmas and winter-themed picture books and separate them into this wire basket.
It’s kept by our tree for easy-access reading all season long. Plus, the illustrations add instant — and free — decor.
We also may do the typical popcorn string garland, pipe cleaner candy cane ornaments, and the random tree branches here and there. I’d love to make a felted square garland, if time allows. We’ll see — easy is good.
Simple, handmade decor works. It’s frugal, it’s personal, and it’s fun to create together as a family.
This post was sponsored by Oak Meadow, a little company that has offered innovative, creative, and independent learning materials for homeschooling families around the world for 35 years. They’ve got it all, from kindergarten through high school!
What are your favorite handmade ways to decorate for the holidays? Feel free to share links to your favorite crafts or tutorials in the comments section — I love finding new craft ideas!