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Posted in You | December 2013

Deck your halls with homemade treasures

holiday decorations
There is absolutely nothing wrong with store-bought tinsel, tree toppers and wreaths, but there is definitely something magical about a few festive handmade touches scattered around your home during the holidays. The hand-knit Santa Claus ornament, the menorah you made yourself or Kwanzaa unity cup you decorated at a pottery studio may become an heirloom your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will treasure for years to come.

What makes handcrafting decorations even more special is when you involve family and friends. Consider turning holiday crafting into memory making by hosting an ornament decoration party! You supply all the necessary materials and instructions, and your guests supply the companionship and laughs—and maybe a few holiday treats! Everyone takes home a beautiful handcrafted holiday decoration and some very happy memories.

Choose a simple, inexpensive craft that you can make together in just a few hours:

  • Music lovers will adore this charming Christmas carol ornament, one of 48 simple Christmas ornaments featured on Favecrafts.
  • Adorable almond birds and magical pinecone gnomes are just two of the 32 easy handmade ornaments on the Better Homes and Gardens website.
  • This personalized angel ornament is sweet and simple enough for younger guests to tackle. Make sure to remind your fellow crafters to bring a few photos along if you choose this project.
  • Star-punched candle wraps are an inexpensive and elegant way to add some sparkle to your Hanukkah celebrations. These are so fast and easy your guests can make more than one! You might ask them to bring the hurricane vases or votive candleholders so all you have to supply is the paper and patterns.
  • These simple dreidel gift boxes can be filled with all kinds of little treats for Hanukkah!
  • Have all your guests pitch in and help make a unique Kwanzaa banner to hang in your home, or buy enough supplies for everyone to make their own smaller version.
  • A perfect craft for guests young and old, this Kwanzaa family history book will help your friends and family stay connected to their rich past.

If your crafting afternoon yields an abundance of Christmas tree decorations, you’ll need a tree upon which to hang your treasures! We’ve compiled a few tips for choosing the perfect tree for your home:

  • Plan where you’re putting your tree in advance. That way you’ll know how tall your tree can be, and if it needs to be pretty and presentable on all sides.
  • Choose the right size. Always remember to account for your tree topper and the extra height that your tree stand adds. Be aware of the width as well as height—a full, bushy tree looks beautiful, but not if it’s jammed up against furniture, walls and windows.
  • Choose a healthy tree. According to Pick Your Own Christmas Tree, a healthy tree should have resilient needles that aren’t brittle, and only a few needles should fall from the outside of the tree when you bump the bottom of the trunk lightly on the ground.
  • Drive safely! Make sure you bring rope or bungee cords to securely fasten your tree to your car.

Wondering if an artificial tree is actually better for the environment than cutting down a real one? While there are environmental pros and cons for each option, some experts suggest that the best way to go is to buy a living, potted tree.1 It’s not feasible for everyone, but if you’re able to bring a potted tree into your home for a week or so, it’s a great way to enjoy the look and scent of real tree that can continue to live on long after Christmas is over. If you don’t have space to plant the tree after Christmas, consider donating it to a local park or a neighbor who is in need of a little extra green in his or her yard.

For more information on choosing a live Christmas tree, visit The National Christmas Tree Association.

Happy crafting and happy holidays!



410464 CAN/US (04/15)


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