Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making Ornaments with the Kids

Yesterday, was our annual trek for the perfect Christmas tree. Every year we head to the nearest tree farm, and hike through their fields until the perfect tree has been located. It is always a fun family day. Yesterday was no exception, despite the cool wet weather, but the best part comes after we get the tree home.

With our oldest child's first Christmas a tradition began. A new ornament was added to the tree for that child each year. Of course, many years there are several ornaments because other family members give ornaments as gifts, and ornaments are made with various groups we participate in. Now, three more kids and eleven years later, our tree is full of ornaments for the kids. Bringing out those ornaments each year brings lots of memories, discussions, and warm hearts.

Many of the ornaments are purchased, and they are beautiful, but my favorites are the hand made ones. They are not always the most beautiful ornaments on the tree, but they do have the most beautiful memories associated with them. These usually are the ornaments the kids remember best, and the ones that I cherish most.

Here are a few of the homemade ornaments on our tree this year. Some are old. Some are new. Some we made as a family, and some the kids made elsewhere. All of them hold a special place in our hearts.

Easy Photo Ornaments.
These are so incredibly simple. Fold a piece of construction paper or card stock in half. Cut out a ball ornament, keeping the fold in tact at the little rectangle on top or the ornament. Decorate the outside front with glitter, coloring or other decorations. Cut a photo of the child in the same shape as the ornament and glue it inside. Use a ribbon to hang the ornament.

Recycled Christmas Card Ornament
This is a wonderful way to use last year's Christmas cards, and create and easy ornament with the kids. Simply cut out the main image from a Christmas card. Glue ribbon or other embellishments around the edges. Punch a hole in the top corner, and use ribbon to create a hanger for the ornament.

Painted Glass Bulbs
Buy clear or colored glass bulbs. Paint with glass paint, or use glue and glitter to decorate the bulbs. Confetti, glitter or other items can also be put into the inside of the bulb for a decorative effect.

Dough Ornaments
See Heather's instructions for making the dough in 5 Simple Christmas Crafts for Kids. My favorite dough ornaments were made long ago when my eleven year old's hand fit into that mold. *sigh* We made a foot print ornament for his then baby sister.

Beaded Candy Canes
Simply take a piece of pipe cleaner. Thread red and white beads onto it and fold the pipe cleaner around each end. Bend into a cane shape.

Pottery Ornaments
Though a little more expensive, it is a fun family time to take the kids to a make and take pottery place. Our local one is called the Pottery Place. Simply go and pick out a ready made pottery ornament. Then paint it how you like. They fire it, and you can pick up when it is done.

Our tree is full of children's ornaments. Some are purchased, and some are homemade. Every year a new one (or two or three) is added for each child. Every year we label the new ornaments with the child's initials, and the year. Pulling them out each year to decorate the tree is one of my favorite family times. They are all special, but the homemade ones are the best!


  1. These are fun! Thanks for sharing. I am hoping to squeeze in time to make at least one of these with my niece (she's 5).


  2. This is so sweet. Until now, my husband and I have -- get this -- about 20 disco ball tree ornaments and that is ALL! Most years we haven't even put up a tree. I think this will be a great tradition to start now that we have 3 kids this year!

  3. Oh so cute! I'd like to try the hand print ones with my little ones.


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