Deck the Halls: 4 Cute Holiday Decorations You Can Make With Your Kids

A reindeer centerpiece is a great, easy table centerpiece you can make with your kids for Christmas decorations.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

‘Tis the season for all things crafty.

Whether it’s making homemade ornaments or baking sweet treats for Santa, the holidays are the perfect time to embrace your creative side.

But who needs to buy pricy Christmas decor when you can create your own?

If you have kids in your life — nieces, nephews and godchildren count, too! — even better: This time of year is so magical for them, so share in their joy by creating one of these kid-friendly crafts together.

Wintery Luminary

A wintery candle is an easy, inexpensive DIY Christmas decoration you can make with your children.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

This candleholder provides an icy but elegant appearance and is so easy to make, even for the littlest crafters.

What you’ll need:

  • Glass jar (a clean jelly jar or baby food jar will work fine)
  • Epsom salt (my local Dollar Tree had a 16 oz. bag for $1)
  • Glue (I bought a 2-ounce bottle of Mod Podge at Dollar Tree for $1)
  • Votive or tea light candle (another great Dollar Tree find)

Two blog posts inspired me to make this craft. Addicted to Decorating lays it out simply (which is the route I took), but if you want to add a touch of color to your luminary, check out this post from Crafts by Amanda.  

The latter post also advises using a glossy sealant spray, but you can skip that part — just don’t have everyone touching the finished product, and it should hold up fine.

Crafts by Amanda also warns the epsom salt will dry out within a few weeks, changing the candleholder’s appearance. So you might want to make these closer to Christmas if that’s when you want to show them off.

Painted Pinecone Trees

Pinecones, green paint and salt dough are the only things you'll need to make miniature Christmas trees with your little ones for Christmas decorations
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

The kids will have a blast customizing these miniature Christmas trees you could use to grace the table at your big holiday dinner.

What you’ll need:

The blog smART Class has an awesome post on making this craft, so check it out.

The kids can take part in all aspects of this activity, from picking out the pinecones to painting them to decorating the mini trees.

The instructions from smART Class said to use Plaster of Paris for the “snow” to stick the trees in, but I went with salt dough, because there’s nothing easier than flour, salt and water.

The dough will dry out and harden on its own, so ignore the part of the recipe that says to bake in a 325 F oven.

Let the kids tap into their creativity to decorate the trees. Instead of glitter and beads from old necklaces, as suggested in the smART Class post, I made decorations out of extra salt dough — which I painted after they dried.

I also pulled cotton balls apart to create a little bit of faux snow.

Santa Wreath

A santa wreath is an easy, inexpensive DIY Christmas decoration you can make with your children.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Switch out the traditional wreath for a version that favors Old Saint Nick.

What you’ll need:

  • Small plain wreath (I picked one up from Dollar Tree for $1)
  • Santa hat (another $1 find from Dollar Tree)
  • White tissue paper or tulle
  • White ribbon

Though the tots will be excited to see the daily reminder on their front door that Santa’s coming soon, this craft is more suitable for older children to make.

I took inspiration from Baby Rabies’ Santa tulle wreath tutorial but switched things up a bit.

Being the Penny Hoarder that I am, I tried to use items I had at home instead of buying new craft supplies. So I swapped out the tulle for tissue paper, using ribbon to tie my strips together.

I didn’t have a glue gun to secure the Santa hat to the top of my wreath, but luckily the hat I used fit very snuggly onto my wreath.

I also nixed the instructions to sew the hanging ribbon onto the Santa hat. Instead I cut two small slits — about two inches apart — in the back of the hat, looped the ribbon through the hat and around the top of the wreath and tightly tied the two ends of the ribbon together.

Reindeer Centerpiece

A reindeer centerpiece is a great, easy table centerpiece you can make with your kids for Christmas decorations.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Make Rudolph the center of attention on your dinner table or mantle.

What you’ll need:

  • Cylinder vase (I had one at home, but Dollar Tree sells them for $1)
  • Brown parcel paper or a brown paper bag
  • Glue or tape
  • Red jingle bell (Dollar Tree sells bags of them for $1)
  • Two small branches

For this craft, I got inspiration from Everyday Dishes’ post on creating a reindeer centerpiece but put my own spin on things.

I skipped out on covering the reindeer antlers in LED lights. (Adding glitter to your branches is an inexpensive sparkly alternative.) I also passed on using a floral foam brick or clay to secure the branches.

Instead of using artificial snow inside the vase, I decided to wrap the outside of my vase in brown parcel paper, gluing the edges together. I used a thin, folded-up strip of parcel paper to attach the jingle bell to the front of the vase, in lieu of the jute cord recommended in the Everyday Dishes post.

Use a hard plastic vase instead of glass if you’re concerned the kiddos might break it. Or you could wrap the vase yourself, then task the children with finding the best “antler” branches and attaching the red nose.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys writing about parenting and money.

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