Get ready for the Christmas season with our clever tricks to simplify the holidays. Including crafty Christmas wrapping ideas, must-try ideas for hosting guests, and why-didn't-I-think-of-that Christmas shortcuts, our tips for the holiday season are guaranteed to make your life easier.View Slideshow
Adorn your Christmas tree with beautiful handmade Christmas ornaments made by you and your loved ones. Hang our easy-to-make ornaments on your tree for generations to come, give them as gifts to friends, or use them to amp up your Christmas wrapping ideas.
Your tree, your message. Pick a favorite carol lyric or holiday saying and write it on a chalkboard tag. To make, spray unfished wooden shapes with chalkboard paint, then use a pencil to lightly plan your design. Finish with a chalk pen, jingling bells, and red-and-white hanging loops.
Make the Triangle Tree Ornament:
Trace a triangular tree base onto medium-weight wood veneer paper; cut out. Punch holes in the tree shape using various-size hole punches. Glue the tree shape to a piece of felt; trim felt edges. Punch a hole in the top and thread string through to hang.
Make the Scallop Tree Ornament:
Cut multiple-size triangles from felt and medium-weight wood veneer paper; use scallop-edge scissors to cut along the bottom of each triangle. Glue the scallop-edge triangles to each other, layering from bottom to top. Be sure to alternate between the wood veneer and felt as you go. Use the wood veneer to create a tree base. Punch a hole in the top of the tree and loop thread through for hanging.
Kids will love to help create these easy, 3-D ornaments. Trace a half-bell shape onto a piece of honeycomb paper; cut out. Unfold and glue the two end pieces together to form a bell (use a paper clip to hold the pieces together until the glue dries). Thread embroidery floss through a 3/4-inch diameter wooden bead with a center hole, knotting one end. Thread the other end through the bell center and tie for a hanging loop.
Deck your Christmas tree with a color-happy flurry of snowflakes. To make, use lightweight wood veneer paper cut into strips to form 14-16 loops per snowflake. To add the bright colors to your snowflakes, paint one side of the wood veneer paper before cutting into strips. Glue together using fast-drying crafts glue to form a circle. Glue circles punched from scraps of the wood veneer to the center. Tie thread through a loop to hang.
Delightfully detailed, these snowy-white ornaments take just minutes to make. Simply press air-dry clay onto Christmas cookie molds to imprint natural motifs and seasonal shapes. Trim as needed, and add holes at the top of each before drying. To hang, thread a ribbon or string through each hole.
Need a charming set of coordinating Christmas ornaments -- and need them fast? Look no further than your baking stash! Just wrap cookie cutters with narrow fabric ribbon (try red-and-white gingham for an extra-festive touch), and secure the ribbon ends with tape. Hang your finished ornaments from loops of baker's twine or yarn.
Adorable? Very. Complicated? Not in the least! If you can cut fabric and do a running stitch, you can make this sweet-face frosty fella. Gather some felt fabric scraps and click below for a detailed how-to.
All you need is a fine-tip white paint pen and some jewel-tone ball ornaments to create these striking decorations. Follow the design in the photo, or search online for basic paisley designs to get your creative juices flowing.
Editor's Tip: Draw the overall pattern of loops and branches first, then add embellishments, such as dots and squiggles, after the initial design has dried.
For a simply styled Christmas ornament, our two-tone tree will do the trick. Trace a tree onto stiff felt using a stencil; cut out. Trace an overlay tree onto a contrasting color of felt, cutting it slightly smaller than the foundation tree; glue the two trees together as shown. Finish by gluing on a star topper and hot-gluing a hanging loop to the back of the ornament.
Cozy up your tree with a sweet ornament made from an old sweater.
Why should your tree have all the fun? Bedeck your windows with big, eye-catching statement ornaments -- the better to see from the street! To make, cut oversize ornament shapes from poster board. Decorate the fronts with patterned scrapbooking papers, gluing them in place. Punch a hole at the top and hang ornaments from red cording or yarn taped to the top of the window frame. If you'd like, hang green branches at the top of the display to cover the tape and add an extra layer of color.
Make Christmas cookies last throughout the season by creating a few decorative versions from clay. Soft modeling clay works with your cookie cutters just like dough; use a straw to create a hanging hole and bake according to package directions. We used paint in the place of icing and added cookie-decorating essentials (such as sprinkles) as ornament embellishments.
Editor's Tip: If you use edible items, toss them at the end of the season.
Whip up a batch of these mini Christmas ornaments -- hang some from the tree and give a few as gifts, too. Simply trace a design onto a small piece of brightly colored linen or cotton. Embroider the design, then place in a miniature embroidery hoop (use hot glue to seal the edges).
Kids can help assemble these miniature Christmas ornaments. Choose tinsel pom-poms in assorted sizes. Cover a small plastic-foam wreath with 1/8-inch-wide ribbon; secure ends with short pins. Make a hanging loop with 1/4-inch-wide ribbon. Hot-glue the pom-poms to the ribbon-covered wreath, and fill in gaps with tiny pom-poms.
This adorable character makes a charming addition to your tree or a too-cool present topper. Download the pattern onto felt; cut out. Hand-stitch the facial features to one body piece; add the belly and wings, stitching the inside curves of each wing. Layer the body pieces with wrong sides together; insert the feet between the pieces.
Fold a short length of ribbon in half and insert the ends between the body pieces for a hanging loop. Hand-stitch the body pieces together, catching feet and hanging ribbon as you stitch. Leave a 1-1/2-inch opening in the body; turn and stuff with polyester fiberfill. Stitch the opening closed.
Ribbon stripes add holiday flair to any plain ball ornament. To make the Christmas tree decoration, simply remove the ornament cap and hot-glue strips of similarly colored ribbon to the ornament (beginning at the base). Tuck the ends of the ribbons into the top opening and glue into place. Replace the ornament cap and tie a bow around the hanging loop.
Do you have small ornaments or figurines that you no longer use but want to display? Try creating a still life with an inexpensive clear dome. Use a small chipboard circle cut to the size of the dome's base. Arrange small items onto the chipboard, adhere into place, then add small pieces of tinsel or garland. Glue the dome to the chipboard base.
Add instant sophistication to plain ball ornaments; all you need is ribbon and glue! To make, hot-glue a velvet ribbon around the middle of a ball ornament, overlapping the ribbon ends slightly. Then simply tie a length of ribbon into a bow (using one of the techniques found below!) and hot-glue the finished bow to the ornament where the ribbon ends meet.
Transform silver frames and silhouettes (either of your children or grandchildren, or use online clip art) into one-of-a-kind, antique-inspired Christmas ornaments. Find inexpensive hammered or decorative frames; cover with layers of brown paint and gently wipe to give an aged effect. Print and cut the silhouette to size; attach a ribbon or hanger at the back using hot glue.
It's easy to assemble a whole garland filled with these happy snowman ornaments. Start with small foam balls; cover with air-dry clay, adding an extra-small amount to each to shape into a nose if desired. Wet the clay to attach black beads for eyes; use a toothpick to draw mouths. Paint facial details with orange paint, or add a bit of cosmetic blush for rosy cheeks. Add a hanger using an 1-1/2-inch-long piece of florists wire. Seal with clear gloss gel medium or clear glitter paint.
Display your family's initial with this easy, elegant ornament. Paint a piece of mini artists canvas black. Using stamps and a gold stamp pad, stamp a gold crown or other image and your family's surname initial, let dry, then rub the surface with chalk. Set the canvas on top of a sturdy tree branch or add a hanging loop to the back.
Customize the look of plain glass ornaments for your Christmas tree in a pinch. Remove the top of a glass ornament and swirl around crafts paint diluted with water on the inside of the ornament until it's coated. Let it dry upside down, swirling with another layer of paint if necessary. Replace the top, and add a Christmas message with adhesive scrapbooking letters.
Hang a few of these neatly gift-wrapped box ornaments in addition to the presents sitting underneath your Christmas tree. Die-cut a box shape from heavyweight patterned paper, then fold and assemble to make a cube. Pierce a small hole at the top of the box. Loop baker's twine through the hole and tie a large knot at the end; thread the loop through the hole in the box top. Adhere two pieces of curling ribbon and a bow; dangle a tag from the ribbon.