Holiday Craft Projects: Get in the spirit of the season

Winter Holiday CraftsThe year-end holidays are all about family togetherness. Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa are among the best times of the year to celebrate the joys of home and hearth.

Having our homes reflect holiday themes and colors is certainly heartwarming, but we really stoke up the spirit of the season when we make decorating a family affair.

So grab the kids, roll up your sleeves, and get into your design groove. The following holiday craft projects will provide family fun … and some nice decorations for your home:

Christmas Holiday Craft:

Homemade holiday crafts are practically a Christmas staple. From humble clothespin reindeer ornaments to elaborate wreathes and fanciful stockings, the Christmas holiday is a crafter’s dream. If you’re looking for a simple project to do with young children, consider pine cone “Christmas trees” – that combine a bit of nature with some seasonal color.

Materials you’ll need include:
•    Individual pinecones (from your yard or from a craft store),
•    Small felt or other beads in green and red,
•    White paint,
•    Silver glitter,
•    And glue.

Dab the tips of the pinecone “branches” with white paint and then sprinkle with glitter for a snow-like effect. Isn’t your pinecone already starting to look like a little tree in winter? Next, glue the small beads under the branches of the pinecones to create the look of ornaments. Use green or red beads on individual pinecones, or mix the beads for a multicolor tree. Arrange your decorated pinecones along a mantel or display them in a bowl. You can make a hanging ornament by wrapping a short piece of floral wire around the top of a cone and then adding a hook.

Chanukah Holiday Craft:

The symbols of Chanukah can be the starting point for crafts you do with the kids. The menorah – the candelabrum that is lit on each night of the Chanukah observance – can be used as a design on pillows, wall hangings, garlands and the like. You can help little ones to make a non-flammable menorah from paper cups and tiny wooden “ice-cream” spoons.

You’ll need:
•    14 nine-ounce, dark blue paper cups,
•    Yellow or orange paint,
•    And eight small wooden spoons (you can buy them from at a craft store).

First, have the kids paint both the front and the back of the wide end of the wooden spoons in yellow or orange so they look like flames. While they are doing that, you can take a penknife and cut three-quarter-inch slits in the bottoms of nine of the paper cups. Cut the bottoms out of the remaining five cups and then stack those cups rims down. Line up the other nine cups in a row, placing the middle cup on top of the stack of five so that it rises above the rest. Your child can “light” the menorah by inserting the bottoms of the wooden spoons in the slits in the cups, with the painted “flame” tops showing. Best of all, this holiday craft can be saved and displayed again next year.

Kwanzaa Holiday Craft:

Celebrate Kwanzaa with a craft project that kids will love – making an African mask using construction paper and decorations.

For each mask you’ll need:
•    Construction paper,
•    Two sticks,
•    Scissors,
•    Tape,
•    Glue,
•    And assorted decoration material.

For your part, draw a template for an oval-shaped mask, roughly the size of your child’s face. Or print a facemask template from the Internet. Using the template, cut the mask out of colorful construction paper, or if your child is ready to handle scissors, have him or her do this step. Next tape two craft sticks together. Attach the top half of the sticks to the middle of the mask, with the lower part of the sticks descending below the mask, to hold the mask. Cut eyeholes to look through. Have your child decorate the mask with feathers, glitter, sequins or stickers. Or, help your young one to draw on the mask some Kwanzaa symbols, such as candles, drums, corn or fruits.

What is your family’s favorite holiday craft to make together? Share it with us on Facebook.

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