Each year, I make one special ornament (or group of ornaments) with my daughters. I love this tradition for both the memories we make crafting together, and our growing collection of nostalgic, messy ornaments.
There are a zillion different ways to decorate a perfect Christmas tree, but is there anything more nostalgic, warm, and cozy than children’s crafts? No way.
Related: DIY Salt Dough Ornaments
First, let’s discuss air dry clay. I like model magic and I keep it on hand at all times for spur of the moment kids crafts.
It’s an easier and less messy alternative to salt dough. Last weekend, I made these Santa ornaments (so cute— the design was inspired @ashchaber on Instagram).
Here’s another example of a model magic ornament from Nova’s first Christmas with our family. We made one of these for each our girls for their first Christmas. Here’s the process used:
- Roll the clay out into an oval shape (a little larger than their hand).
- Press their hand into the clay (it helps to press the entire hand in and then ALSO press each individual finger and palm while the hand is still in the original placement).
- Poke a hole in the top. Let the clay dry; it takes a few days (I flip it once a day to dry both sides evenly).
- After the clay is dry, you can repeat the handprint with paint if you want a more dramatic one to show.
For the Santa ornament, the process is almost the same except I trimmed the outer edges of clay away (with scissors) after the handprint was on.
I used rubber stamps to add their initials and the year to each ornament. Then, I painted it myself after it was completely dry.
We found these paintable frames at a craft store (similar here). I like to collect supplies like this that are holiday- specific. I’ve found that you can use them year after year, so if you don’t use all your supplies, just save them for next year.
These are one of the first ornaments I made with Nova when she was 3 years old. She was old enough to paint the frames herself. After they dried, I did the stamping for her, and then we added the pom pom balls together.
That year we made a bunch of extras, and they made great gifts for family.
For more kids activities and printables check out Childhood Magic!
This photo was taken just days after we arrived home from adopting Nova. We adopted her in early December, so her first Christmas with us was immediately after we returned home.
These unfinished ceramic ornaments are perfect for painting with little kids who are just learning to hold a brush. On the back we painted “Nova’s first Christmas.”
Another fun idea is unfinished wood animals. She painted these, and then we added pom poms when they were dry.
Other easy holiday craft ideas:
- Unpainted Christmas trees are fun to paint and blend in well with bottle brush trees and other decor. You can see it displayed in our holiday home tour here.
- Make a paper chain with red and green paper. A classic!
- Cut snowflakes (my 6-year-old can do this for hours).
- Let your kids paint your gift wrap. I like to do this with craft paper packages that are already wrapped.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season! xx- Elsie
P.S. Check out our Baby Footprints For All Seasons post to make keepsakes with your newborn and use this Waterproof Table Cover DIY to protect your surfaces around the home!
Oh the handprint Santa beard is so precious. Love it.
My daughter and I made air dry clay ornaments a few days ago. We used our Christmas cookie cutters to make Christmas trees, stars, snowflakes and gingerbread men. She is only 3 but she loved making them and painting them.
Elsie, thank you so much for these ideas! I hate Pinterest (I know I know but there it is-I said it), and I have kids who LOVE making and crafting. This is such a *realistic* and thoughtful compilation. I really want to do the hand prints this year! Here’s hoping I can convince my 10 year old to join in so I can get prints from all four for our tree.
Haha! It definitely can be easy and simple!
The little hand print almost made me cry. My youngest is 14 and I miss the days when Christmas was magic. So precious