Paper chains and snowflakes might be classic holiday decorations, but given the popularity of do-it-yourself resources like Pinterest, there are plenty of other inexpensive ways to decorate the house and keep kids busy for a while. These activities are kid-friendly, but the use of scissors and other potentially sharp objects is involved, so parental guidance is advised.

Newspaper wreath

Wreaths make good décor because they can essentially be made out of anything. Recycle old issues of the RN&R by making a newspaper wreath. And hey, our logo is red, so it’ll match the rest of your Christmas decorations.

What you’ll need:


Hanging wire



How to make it:

• Measure out a piece of hanging wire, depending on how large you want the wreath to be. A 12-inch piece will make a 6-inch wreath.

• Mold the wire into the shape of a U.

• Cut out 4-by-4 inch squares of newspaper.

• Using one end of the wire U, puncture a hole in the middle of a newspaper square and slide the newspaper onto the wire, similar to stringing beads on a necklace.

• Continue to do so until newspaper covers the entire hoop. Leave an inch of the two end pieces of the wire uncovered.

• Twist the end pieces of the wire together and pull the U into an O shape.

• Wrap ribbon around the exposed wire and tie into a bow. This will be the bottom of the wreath. The wreath can then be mounted using a hook or a nail.

Papier-mache ornaments

Papier-maché is often used to make masks or pinatas, but using water balloons, it’s also a way to make sturdy ornaments with custom designs.

What you’ll need:

Water balloons

Tissue paper

Liquid glue, like Elmer’s

Ornament hooks

Paint brush

Cup of water

Safety pin or sewing needle

Acrylic paints (optional)

How to make it:

• Blow up several water balloons—with air, not water—and tie them off.

• Loop an ornament hook through the tie. This will be used to hang the ornament. Puncture only the loose end of the tie so as to not pop the balloon.

• In a cup or bowl, pour several tablespoons of liquid glue. Mix in water until the glue is watery.

• Cut tissue paper into 2-by-2 inch strips.

• Put a piece of tissue paper against the balloon, and paint over the tissue paper with the glue and water mix. Continue to do so until the balloon is covered completely with tissue paper. Make sure the hook is not covered by tissue paper.

• Let the ornament dry. This takes about a day. The ornament should not be handled while the tissue paper is drying.

• Once the ornament is completely dry, pop the balloon by poking it with a safety pin or sewing needle. The tie of the balloon will still be intact, and will be glued to the rest of the tissue paper mold.

• The ornament is now ready to hang, but it can be painted with acrylic paints to add additional colors and designs.

Yarn-wrapped candle holder

The best decorations are ones that can be used for several holidays. These candle holders can be brought out for several holidays, depending on which colors you use, or you can leave them out year round. These make nice gifts, too.

What you’ll need:

Mason jars


Non-flammable spray paint

How to make it:

• Wrap a clean mason jar with a string of yarn. Wrap the yarn so that it creates a criss-cross design on the jar, allowing the glass to peek through.

• In a well-ventilated space—preferably outside—spray the outside of the glass with the non-flammable spray paint. It helps to leave the lid on the jar so paint does not get on the inside.

• Once the jar is dry, remove the yarn carefully. The jar will be left with exposed glass in the design in which the yarn was wrapped. Place a tea candle inside the jar and light it.

Snow globe

Instead of buying a tacky snow globe on your next vacation, make a personalized one using objects from around the house.

What you’ll need:

Mason jars

Tiny figurines of your choice (mini-Christmas trees, snowmen, etc. can be found at craft stores)


Hot glue and glue gun


Baby oil (optional)

How to make it:

• Unscrew the lid of the mason jar and place it on the table, inside up.

• Hot glue the bottom of the figurine to the inside of the mason jar lid. Set it aside to dry.

• Fill the mason jar with water, about 5/6 full.

• Add several teaspoons of glitter to the water. If you have baby oil available, add in a few teaspoons as well. The baby oil helps the glitter fall more slowly in the water.

• Slide the glued-on figurine into the water and glitter mix and screw on the lid.

• Ensure the lid is on tightly. Electrical tape or hot glue can be put around the lid to protect from leakage.

• Turn the jar over so the lid is on the bottom. Shake it up a bit and watch the glitter fall around the figurine.

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