Making your own Christmas decorations is a satisfying way to get in the holiday spirit, get exactly the look you want, and even make some easy gifts to give to friends or tuck in your family's stockings. With just a few supplies, most of which you can get at a craft store or lumber yard, you can make an assortment of decorations that will bring back memories for years to come. If you have young kids or grandkids, you can even start a Christmas decoration collection for them out of your homemade items. They can take these with them to their own first homes and have a ready-made set of decorations to get them started.
For an attractive tabletop or mantle idea, make sets of blocks with words stenciled on them. With just a few blocks, you can spell Noel, Jesus, Love, Hope, Light, and any number of other Christmas related words. Buy a 2 by 2 at the lumber yard and cut it into 1 1/2 inch squares. (A 2 by 2 is actually 1 1/2 inches on each side.) Sand the edges and corners of the blocks to make them look used and paint the blocks with acrylic paints in country colors. When the paint is dry, stencil words on each of the six sides of the blocks with an off-white or light-colored paint. Just make sure you keep all the blocks facing the same way up as you do this. If you do this right, you can have two sides showing words at the same time. Think Happy on top with Noel facing out, or come up with combinations of your own. Your kids or grandkids will love trying to find all the word combinations. Don't tell them what to look for, let them figure it out themselves and a decoration becomes a puzzle as well.
You can make simple ornaments, and the kids can help, with felt squares and Christmas cookie cutters. Trace around the cookie cutters with a pencil or fabric marking pencil, cut the shapes out, and decorate with felt designs, glitter, puff paints, or whatever else comes to mind. These ornaments are lightweight so won't bow the branches of your tree. If you want an ornament that is a bit firmer, but still not heavy, stitch two base shapes together with contrasting embroidery thread using the blanket stitch. This is an easy stitch for children to use as well. Then decorate as desired. You can add small mirrors to the felt shapes as well using the blanket stitch.
For a fun garland, cut out five inch circles of cotton fabrics in your favorite holiday colors. Use a variety of prints or colors. Using a doubled thread, sew around the edges of each circle, turning the edges in about 1/4 inch. Use a running stitch. When you get all the way around, cinch it up tight to make a fabric yo-yo, and secure with a knot. Add fun buttons, Christmas charms, or little mirrors to the center of each yo-yo. Stitch the yo-yos together with a few tack stitches at the sides. Hang from the mantle, drape on a banister, or put it on the tree for a country-quilted look.