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Easy holiday decorations to make with kids

Yes, I know it’s not even December but I can tell it’s going to be one of those years. Holiday fever. I love Christmas and everything about it. The music. The food. Shopping (which of course backfires into the “one for Aunt Sally, one for me” mode). Coming up the perfect gift for someone (or not and getting a slew of gift cards on December 24 but sometimes that happens).

And the decorations. I love decorations, inside and out. My husband took over – completely – the outdoor decorations in recent years while I was busy with three kids all 20 months apart. I had to step in last year as I emerged from baby fog and took a look at the outside of my house. It was hard to miss as he had put up every light available at Rite Aid, with no rhyme or reason, no sense of balance. It made Clark Griswold’s house look tasteful. We had candles in the windows. We had these horrendous tube lights wrapped around a tree. We had icicle lights hanging from the porch. And hundreds of strands of lights wrapped around columns and banisters. All at once. If nothing else, the street was well lit for the month of December. He didn’t understand my request for JUST candles in the windows and a few lights on the porch. But he acquiesced, as I was quite heated and I think brought in outside parties to weigh in (our neighbors). His enthusiasm was impressive and I hated to squash it, but it was necessary.

As usual, I digress. Another thing I love about Christmas is seeing how much my kids enjoy making things for others and for our house. Seeing as I can’t get enough of Christmas decorations, we are always game for making some more. Here are some easy and fun ideas for you and your kids – no glue guns or trips to the craft store required. I have a glue gun, but never really mastered it and don’t know where it is – wish I did!

Popcorn/cranberry strands

Pop a bunch of plain popcorn, grab a sewing needle and some thread and string away. There is something very relaxing about this – I always feel very Little Women-ish. You can also alternate with cranberries (fresh in the bag – you can find them in the produce section of your grocery store) or do alternating strands of popcorn and cranberry. These look really pretty on your tree. If your kids aren’t old enough to man the needle, they can set everything up, pull the popcorn down the thread once you get the needle through, etc. Also, not the best project for households with pets!

Paper chains

I remember making paper chains for days on end when I was little and they would fill the house. Cut equal size strips (about 8 inches long and 1 or so inches wide – or whatever works for you) of red or green paper or whatever festive color you like, tape together at the ends to make a circle. Take the next strip and tape the paper so it is a like a chain link to the first and proceed. These look pretty hanging in a door way or even on your tree. Good cutting and taping practice for the kids (hooray for fine motor skills) and you can even make 25 links and take one off each day to count down to Christmas.


Who doesn’t love cutting out snowflakes? Try with different color paper and put in your windows or tie to string or ribbon and hang at different lengths from the ceiling or doorway.

Use your holiday cards as decorations

My mother in law has been doing this for years and as soon as I saw it I copied it at my house. Take the pile of cards you get in the mail and instead of lining them up on your mantle, take some ribbon (it needs to be pretty wide to work well – 1 1/2 – 2 inches) and cut pieces from the top of the door way to a foot or so from the floor. Tape the ribbon flat on either side of a door way (facing in) and tape the cards to the ribbon, evenly spaced, facing outward. My kids love to hand me the cards, picking which ones go where. My daughters are also obsessed with tape so this is a great activity for them. It looks really pretty and visitors enjoy checking out everyone’s cards.

Pine cone decorations

Pine cones are really pretty in their natural state in a glass bowl. You can also get fancy and spray paint the edges or the whole pine cone with silver or gold spray paint. If you don’t have pine cones where you live, they do have them at the (dreaded) craft store. I have even collected some on vacation and stuffed in my suitcase. They are also pretty lined up on a mantle or book shelf. Plus they keep from year to year.

Bowls of ornaments

Another easy decoration is to take the cheap glass ball ornaments (you probably have some extra) and fill up some glass bowls and use as centerpieces. I like to use all silver or all red, etc. It surprising looks really nice.

Let your kids decorate their rooms

My kids always end up pilfering some decorations and putting them in their bedrooms. It’s fun to start a tradition of letting your kids pick one or two things they get to use in their room every year and use some of the decorations you make together.

What are some of your favorite holiday decorations to make with kids?

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