Christmas in the UK happens to you whether you like it or not. Here in NZ, it’s up to you. On your own shoulders. Sure, you might see the odd surfing Santa in the corner of shop somewhere, but mostly you just think “Where are his reindeers?” not “Woo! Christmas!”
If you want to feel festive you have to step it up.
Which perhaps explains why for the last week or so I have been playing Christmas carols and crafting up decorations in every spare moment, while my kiwi husband bashes his head on the baubles and mutters about having to bash his head on baubles for a whole twelfth of a year.
(To be fair, I didn’t mean it to be forehead-height. I think my bauble garland drooped a little.)
One of my most festive childhood memories is of getting out the plaster of paris and pouring it into the nativity scene moulds and then dying them with tea bags to creative a beautiful antique style decoration. Why we made them so often, I’ll never know – did we break them, every single Christmas? Or did my mum just revel in this one crafty thing she did every year? Did we have boxes and boxes of plaster of paris Marys and Josephs hiding away in the corners of our house?
Who knows, but the legacy is that I love making Christmas decorations. Some have lasted years already and others disappear altogether… sometimes discovered in the Toy Chest a few months later. Halos askew.
(Toy Chest is a grand name for that huge basket into which I shovel everything that looks messy when I hear a car pulling up. I always leave the bright kids xylophone on the top as a disguise. Now you know my secrets.)
Christmas decorations tend to be hugely expensive (unless you buy them in the January sales, which is a winner of an idea, but GOOD LUCK finding them again once the next Christmas comes round!!) which is a huge motivator for us thrifty peeps to get the glue gun out.
But sometimes it isn’t quite as easy as Pinterest makes it look. Hey, we’ve all cried at the Pinterest Fails Buzzfeed, and some of us have even made it on there. *blushes*
One of my most popular Pinterest boards is my “Handmade Christmas” one – featuring hundreds of ideas for handmade presents and decorations, with a huge focus on upcycling or thrifty materials. I’ve been through my board this week and have chosen what I think are the best Christmas Decorations to make.
Gold Dipped Nature
Nature is so in folks, truly. Christmas 2015 looks like it is being done by fairy folk in the local woods. And why not, I say? Mega cheapo, isn’t it, pulling in the twigs and leaves and things? Hehehe.
Dipping leaves, shells, bark, anything you can find and then threading it through with cotton must be the easiest natural Christmas decoration you can make.
The Owl and the Accordion here show how to do Christmas in a bright, modern way with not a bit of gold or maroon in sight! I love the simple idea of decorating a branch with beads and thread and then hanging homemade paper shapes on them. Serious inspo.
Homemade Clay Birds
I first dabbled with homemade china-like clay several years ago, and it continues to be one of my most favourite homemade substances to work with. It can be left plain, because it has such a delicate, beautiful look, or it can be decoupaged using old books or pretty paper. See the How To here.
DIY Arrow Christmas Decorations
If I had to pick my number one favourite christmas decoration from Pinterest it would be these arrows, originally from the lovely Thoughts From Alice but featured on the equally delish blog Yellow Bliss Road. Our yurt is pretty much going to be Arrow Central this Christmas, no doubt about it. Head over to yellow Bliss road for the How to.
Christmas Paper Cuts
I looooove the look of paper cuts and love HPMQ’s super simple tealight paper house. She shows off some other paper cut inspo too – like this mega winter scene.
Christmas Stained Glass Biscuits
I was so inspired by Actually Mummy’s stained glass window biscuits. Such an incredible idea – they look amazing and can double up as Christmas eats or Christmas gifts. A triple whammy of homemade goodness! See her how to and recipe here. Alternatively you can keep them unwrapped, like this picture, but HAVE A GREAT TIME MAKING THEM LAST MORE THAN AN HOUR harrhahahaha.
Christmas Sun Catcher
I love how magical this Christmas sun catcher would be for children to create and watch. Such a simple idea with loads of potential.
Paper Christmas Tree
I made a couple of these hand made Christmas trees last year, using old sexist books I had bought with this specific craft in mind. (Yes, I am clearly making sure you don’t tell me off for crafting with a book!) There is a super detailed (and funny) how to here on Wills Casa.
Here Mummy Barrow pulls it off with just a simple mag AND managed to get a star on top? It is the perfect, quick, recycled craft.
Cinnamon Sticks Christmas Decoration
These Cinnamon Sticks tree decs are, like, basically the easiest thing to make – but they look so effective and make Christmas happen through your nostrils.
Plus, when made into a table decoration it becomes my most pinned image from my Handmade Christmas Decorations to Make board….
Gosh, if you think you have understood the potential of a Christmas Wreath in your life so far, you have not typed in homemade Christmas Wreath into Pinterest. By Golly.
So here’s your super awesome traditional Christmas Wreath, with dried orange slices. It’s a beauty. Simple and lush.
But then, hello? What’s this? A rag rug version from Missie Lizzie – feel like Ramona could really get behind the concept.
And this? A Christmas wreath made out of old books? What in the blazes? Christmas is really here folks. (Do check out Betty’s lovely blog, from whence this photo cameth.)
Or a heart style one, made of TWIGS. Oh yeah! Now we’re cooking with gas!
And a, a, a CROCHET ONE? Yeah! I said it! A Crochet Christmas Wreath. It’s legendary. I can’t even crochet but I’m so excited.
And then, just to get back to practical, because I’m clearly dreaming about ever being able to make a crochet wreath, here is a really excellent tutorial here using an official Christmas Wreath frame thingy (no wrangling with coathangers here. I’ve only just got my eyes still in my head as a result of my own dodgy DIY wreath making…
Speaking of which…. here is my own wreath – made of clay hearts stamped with a doily. Um. And a very vicious coat hanger.
Peg Doll Nativity
I spied this Peg Doll Nativity Christmas Decoration on Pinterest and was super inspired by it. I love the simplicity of it. This photo is from an Etsy maker, but I also loved the child focused peg doll nativity from my friend Becky and her little girl – read how they went about it here.
Homemade Dough Christmas Decorations
Love these salt dough decorations from Joy – it is a real pleasure when a child can make something from scratch, without the parent feeling the need to step in constantly to make sure it looks Pinterest worthy, harhahahaha.
I made a cinnamon version a couple of years ago and, sweet Star of Bethlehem, they were the business. I used my handy bird cookie stamper and made a garland. But it is the smell, rather than the look, which makes them Last Level.
Nature is also easily turned into Christmas characters! Hark! A walnut reindeer decoration! Red Ted Art is such a genius at making things out of nuts and stuff like that.
Gold Dipped Twig Stars
As a little extra bonus here is a video of my latest simple Christmas Craft for Channel Mum – featuring Ramona and Juno obvs, because they are glitter ADDICTS I tell you.
That’s it for now. It is, after all, only the 4th of December! I wouldn’t want to go overboard with Christmas or anything…
*wanders off in a glitter coma*
PS- Check out more sustainable Christmas decorations to make on my Pinterest Board.