It’s now nearing the end of November, and that means it’s that time again – time to dig out the dusty boxes of tangled lights and smushed decor and make your home a magical place for the holiday season. Sometimes, it seems like a daunting task to get all of that stuff out of the basement and up to deck the halls. Other years, it’s a joyous process that seems like tons of fun! Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you would have to agree that most holiday festivities are meant to be shared by friends and family, to show goodwill to others, and to celebrate a long year with lots of food and drinks. This is exactly why I wanted to do a post before the hectic month of December that invites family participation, and brings a little simplicity back into holiday decor. By using a little time, some inexpensive supplies, and maybe a few helping hands, you can easily make some cute decorations for your own home and have some fun while doing it!
My first little project for this post was to make some gingerbread men for my new Kitchen tree. These aren’t edible gingerbread (although, you could do that too), but a long-lasting variety that you can use year after year. I found the recipe for these little guys on Pinterest from this site.
Basically (see the link for full instructions), you pre-heat your oven to 200°F, mix together 1 cup of ground cinnamon and 1 cup of applesauce into a dough, and then roll the dough out (using more cinnamon to prevent sticking) and cut out your cookies. Punch a hole in the cookies for hanging, place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for 90-120 minutes. After they are done, let them cool and then hang them up! You can use these little cinnamon figures as ornaments, or maybe even make a bunch to use as a garland!
You can always decorate your gingerbread men (or whatever figures you decide to use) with paint, which may be a fun project for your little (or big!) home artist. You may also want to put some clear drying glue or decoupage medium on top of the ornaments to preserve them even further before you hang them up. I paired my homemade ornaments with some cute snowflakes from Canadian Tire (purchased this weekend), and a handmade garland I created using burlap bunting flags from Michaels (which I purchased a while back for some unknown project) and some twine. If you want to further your Kitchen/Cooking theme, you can also dry fruit using your oven (see here) to make into ornaments/garland, or even hang up some cookie cutters. Check out my finished tree below, simple but sweet!
While I was waiting for my cinnamon gingerbread men to cook, I also broke out some printer paper and scissors to make a sweet paper snowflake garland. These can also be made into a wreath, or just taped up in a window to make your own snowstorm. This is a great activity for kids (depending on age – of course), and I fondly remember cutting tons of paper snowflakes out as a kid myself. If you have never completed this craft before, you can check out Martha Stewart’s tutorial here. After cutting out a handful of snowflakes, I simply strung them onto a piece of twine and hung them up in some windows. The result may not be glamourous, but I think it adds some whimsy, and its certainly a cost-effective craft. If you only have printer paper, simply measure and trim the paper as necessary to create squares, and then fold as desired. You may also want to try some wrapping paper, or decorative origami/scrapbooking paper for a more colourful effect.
There is the result of my snowflake making. You can use your imagination to ignore the green grass and dirty vehicles outside of my window! 🙂
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little crafty afternoon adventure, and I hope you take the time this holiday season to enjoy some homemade fun yourself. Sometimes, the simple things, and the quiet afternoons spent at home are the most pleasurable and most memorable of all. As always, share with me if you try any of these ideas in your own home, or if you have any great ideas of your own you’d like to share. Have a great Sunday, and enjoy the rest of a (hopefully) quiet November!