Sometimes it seems that the meaning of Christmas gets lost in the glitz and glamour of it all. Trees and their ornaments get bigger and more expensive every year. It needn't cost a fortune to trim a tree and make it look fabulous, nor to decorate the house in a festive way. A bit of time, a few basic supplies, and a touch of artistic flare can produce quality homemade Christmas decorations for both young and old alike to enjoy.
Discarded Christmas cards are useful when it comes to making both decorations and other paper crafts. Other greeting cards might also come in handy. All it takes is some time, and some basic tools. Simply use a punch cutter to punch a large shape out of the greeting card, use a hole-punch tool to make a neat hole at the top through which string can be inserted, and hang. For a double sided ornament, glue two pieces together, back to back. For a three dimensional ornament, cut a slit half way across two of the back-to-back circles, and slot them together.
Charming wreaths can be made using a coat hanger and approximately twenty old ties. The ties should be of similar size, and in bright colors. Thrift stores and resale shops are an excellent place to obtain ties inexpensively if more are needed. Lay one tie aside, and cut the rest into fifteen inch lengths. Starting with the narrow end of the tie, wrap it around the coat hanger, leaving the point facing outwards. Secure this into place with a pin. Repeat until all the ties are covering the hanger and the pattern is pleasing, and then sew the ties so that they are fixed. Finally, make a decorative bow with the last tie, and affix it to the wreath to make unusual and interesting homemade Christmas decorations.
An adorable wreath can also be made with colorful old knee-socks. Either use discarded ones, or purchase some inexpensive ones specifically for this project. A foam wreath form is needed for this one. Carefully slice the wreath form so that things can be slid onto it. Cut the toe out of the socks; for a neater wreath the heel can also be removed, leaving each sock in two pieces, the foot and the part above the ankle. Simply slide the socks onto the wreath, letting them bunch up in natural gathers. When the desired effect has been reached, carefully glue the wreath form back together, and tie a bow onto it to complete the project. Smaller ankle socks can be used for this, too, simply by removing the toe and heel and just using the foot part. The sleeves of old sweaters can also be used in this manner (save the body of the sweaters to make interesting pillows).
For those who like the steampunk look, cute ornaments can be made using nuts and bolts. Tie them together with gold or silver colored string into interesting shapes, or interlock them together into unusual designs. With a bit of imagination, they can even be turned into figures such as angels, or soldiers.
Quilters and others who enjoy sewing might like to try covering old CD's with interesting fabrics. A favorite quilt pattern can be made into a circle, and glued onto an old CD. Once both sides have been covered, add some ornamental braiding or piping around the edge to make an interesting decoration. Even the scraps can be used; using a knife, poke them by the edges into a Styrofoam ball to cover it with an interesting scrap pattern.
It doesn't take a lot to be really inventive with recycling and repurposing things. In these days of frugal living and environmental awareness, there's a real 'feel good' factor in knowing that something both interesting and seasonal has been made with little or no cost, from things that other people have discarded. Many holiday decorating ideas have been born from things that have been cast aside, especially when it comes to something whimsical to be used as homemade Christmas decorations.
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