Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adventures in Christmas Ornaments

Pipe Cleaner Candy Cane

Every year I find them--those ornaments that I can't quite part with, but that don't make the cut to hang on the Christmas tree.  Some of them are in need of repair.  Others were handmade when I was young.  My lack of skill makes these ornaments particularly homely (maybe even hideous). However, the fact that I made the "craft" at family parties over the years has greatly influenced my current Christmas tree decor.  We have a tradition of handmade Christmas ornaments, with a surprising preponderance of snowmen and Santas.

Clothespin Soldier

Some of our ornaments come from kits, and others were made from scratch with materials easily found at a craft store.  Our Christmas tree sports an odd mixture of the old and the new, the handmade and the store-bought.  But it has personality...ours!  Following a pattern to make a quality Christmas ornament is a great thing, but deviating from the pattern yields unique results.

Jingle Bell Snowman

This snowman made from a jingle bell, pom poms, and a pipe cleaner, is a straightforward replica of the original pattern.  However, turn the same materials over to my husband and kids, and you get a different result.

Jingle Snowman with a Creative Face

Diet Coke Can Santa

Recycled materials can be used effectively in ornaments as well.  My son was thrilled to return his smashed-Coke can Santa to our tree this year.  We have also made egg-carton snowmen.

Egg Carton Snowman

Pipe Cleaner Santa

Pipe cleaner Santa was a bit challenging, but it is fun to see five of them on the tree.  We have also been given homemade ornaments by family.  We received our yarn Santa set from my youngest brother-in-law early in our marriage.  Having a set of ornaments ties the tree together, and gives it a more cohesive feel.

Yarn Santa from a homemade set

One year we made reindeer from a mail-order kit.  The pattern was fairly straightforward, and the reindeer was assembled from corks.  We used a cork for the body, put on four cork feet, attached a cork head...well, you get the idea.  However, in the hands of my sons, the reindeer quickly took on a different look.

Rocket Reindeer

One reindeer flies into space on our Christmas tree, complete with a felt flame tail.  My space enthusiast is particularly fond of this ornament.  But my biggest chuckle decorating the tree this year came when my older son opened his box of Christmas ornaments and exclaimed "Tripod the Intrepid!"  I drew a complete blank.  What ornament was that?  It seems when we made our cork reindeer, the kit my son received was missing a leg.  So, his reindeer only has three legs, and now sports the title, "Tripod the Intrepid."  

Tripod the Intrepid - our three-legged reindeer

Popsicle Stick Nativity

When my children leave home they will take their box of handmade ornaments with them.  Their first Christmas trees will have a built-in nostalgia, and hopefully they will pass on a creative ornament tradition to their own families.

Jingle Bell Santa

Someday I may choose to decorate a Christmas tree with a beautiful color-scheme or an interesting theme.  But while I still have my children to decorate the tree, our homemade ornaments and all the memories attached to them will be an integral part of our Christmas.  Our tree may be eclectic, but it is all ours!

Pom Pom Reindeer



  1. Tripod and Rocket Reindeer are my favorites!

  2. these are all so great....good imagination and great recycling ideas too if you don't mind me adding that....wish I had known these tricks when my children were younger...maybe someday with grandchildren I use these ideas on them...!!!