This has been our first Christmas in the UK and we celebrated it in style! With our new found love and energy to create beautiful things at home, this Christmas involved a lot of craft! :-) Yes, most decorations on the tree were self-created between my girl and me. We had a lot of fun making them and we made full use of the 3 weeks of winter term break that we had from school!
So here goes our list of beauties!
1. Christmas buntings -
Simple and sweet... decoration with coloured papers! All we did was write out the letters in different coloured card paper and stick them on to contrasting coloured paper and cut them out to make them double-coloured. We strung them through a satin ribbon and hung them up with blu-tac!
For this, we cut different coloured papers in long strips and made circular bands while interconnecting them. I could have left them plain as they were colourful and pretty by themselves but since I wanted my girl to actively participate, I gave the strips to her to draw/colour/shade them as she pleased. If you looked closely, you will see smileys, cycles, gardens, flowers, snowmen, moons and stars and even people on them! :-) She soon got bored though, and so I connected the rest of them just plain.
2. Cardpaper Christmas trees -
The first type is pretty simple - cut out a tree shape on green cardpaper and let your child drawout her favourite fruit/flowers on them. When done, insert the tree shape into 2 tiny slits on opposite corners of the topside of a tissue roll.
For the second type of tree, which I picked up from http://www.outnumbered.be/craft-creativity/paper-christmas-tree/, my girl tried some folding which did not quite come out right so she ended up just sticking on the stars to the tree. All you need is a medium sized green cardpaper sheet, tissue roll cut in two with tiny slits on the sides and some glitter glue n stars or anything else that you might want to spruce them up with. Fold up the card paper sheet into small folds, join them at the top with strong glue and stick the fan end of the tree into the 2 slits on the tissue roll. Voila! Your christmas tree is ready! Simple and beautiful, isn't it?
3. Hand print wreath -
This was again a very simple activity... A Christmas wreath - which people put up on doors to welcome visitors and offer goodwill, their circular shape representing a symbol of eternal life. Traditonal wreaths are made up of fir twigs and tiny branches, wild holly, pine cones, satin ribbons, what not! This is also a popular craft activity with loads of ideas on the internet. I picked one up with handprints on green cardpaper arranged in a wreath shape. I twisted the idea a little bit and sat down to make handprints of all the 3 of us on different coloured paper. Again, my girl was allowed to show her artistry on the cut-outs, before I connected them to form this beautiful wreath. I created the holly and the bows with foam pieces leftover after some other craft. Don't you like it too? :-)
4. Painted pine cones -
This seems to be a very easy job, but boy oh boy! This is a tiresome job! My girl played truant - she picked up a loadful of these pinecones from the garden and came home to colour. She didn't even finish a single one! I had to do them all by myself and had to actually sit up late one night. I used acrylic and metallic finish paint on them.The beautiful and romantic outcome at the end of it was what made the effort worthwhile! :-) You can hang them on your tree like decorations by sticking on a ribbon sling on top, though I also used most of them to decorate around my Nativity set (photo below).
5. Assorted traditional Christmas decorations -
These were my first experiments with felt, foam and..... sewing! Now again, I am not the kind of person who can sit in one place and do something that involves concentration and precision. Thats why sewing, knitting, crochet (I still know very little about the difference between knitting and crochet!) are not activities that I thought I will ever get close to doing! But there I was, sewing up stars, snowmen and X-mas trees, candy sticks and baubles! Though, I'll admit that there is very little sewing involved, and that too the kind with a decently big needle and yarn involved, which is relatively easy. And I was pleased with the results too!
There wasn't much for my bundle of excess energy to do, so all I could let her do was to decorate the creations with buttons, embellishments and glitter glue. I just left her alone with the supplies and this is what they ended up looking like :-)
6. Farm animals with felt -
This was my most enterprising work! Farm animals with felt! I even learnt a new sewing style, called.. ohh.. what was it called?! Ohh yes.. Blanket stitch! (at this point, I can actually visualise my mom's I-cant-believe-it shocked face! LoL). This idea was picked up from http://www.freekidscrafts.com/felt_farm_animals-e1943.html I hope you can make out the animals / birds in these! :-)
7. Lady bug with Air Drying clay -
I have put this up separately earlier on this blog here.
And this is how our lovely tree looked! :-)
It was completed with a reading every evening of the Nativity story and a reiteration of the wish-list from Santa :-) He even visited us in our dreams!! So, we decided to put up the Nativity set as well that we purchased only last year.
There are my pine cones making up part of the outside of the stable!
Our Christmas was perfect when we met Father Christmas for the first time ever at nursery. A was so speechless, she could not answer Santa's questions! The previous night she had woken up dreaming about Santa and when he was right there beckoning her to come near and take her gift, she was totally tongue-tied! :-) She finally found her voice and asked him to bring for her a kitchen set. Speechless A, Part 2 came around again when she saw the shiny new kitchen set waiting for her on Christmas morning! :-) It is so so beautiful to be a child at Christmas!!
And let me tell you what else is beautiful. It is beautiful to be a parent who gets to see the delighted face of his/her child, first thing on Christmas day, to want to believe that magic does exist in the world.
I do not think Santa Claus comes down the chimney - he comes in through the hearts of beautiful innocent children.