How to Make Traditional Christmas Decorations

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Kids loved to get involved with Christmas preparations, and long before the days of cheap imported decorations from the dollar stores, this was a regular tradition in schools and at home.

When I was small, the weeks before Christmas were industriously spent making paper chains, paper lanterns and clothes peg reindeer to decorate the tree.

Why not revive this lovely tradition this Christmas with your children? Here are simple instructions to make the most popular old fashioned Christmas decorations.

Paper Chains

You need several rolls of crepe paper or bright Christmas wrapping paper in contrasting colors. (This is a good way to use up old wrapping paper, if you are economizing). Red and green are the most popular, of course, but you can also choose colors or designs to tone with your Christmas theme. Try red and gold or blue and silver.

All you need to do is cut strips roughly the same length and width from the paper. Strips of 8x2 inches make nice fat chains but you can make yours larger or smaller as you wish. Star by making a ring of one of the strips, gluing the ends over each other. Now slip a strip of paper into that ring and glue the end to form another ring. Keep doing this and Voila! a colorful paper chain that children can easily make as long as they wish.

Paper Lanterns

Gorgeous little paper lanterns look wonderful on the tree, or strung doors, windows or the garden fence. They are very addictive to make as well, and your children will be producing paper lanterns faster than you can think of places to put them.

Gold or silver paper is perfect for these decorations, but don’t limit your imagination – beautiful Asian wrapping paper makes lanterns perfect for New Year!

The size of the paper will give you a smaller or larger lantern. For small neat lanterns suitable for decorating a Christmas tree, cut the paper into 8x6 rectangles. Cut one inch of paper off the rectangle to use as a handle. Now fold the rest of the rectangle in half with the plain side out (if you are using patterned paper. Turn the folded edge toward you and mark a line across the widest part of the paper about one inch from the two cut edges.

From this line down to the fold, draw several lines one inch apart. Using scissors, cut along those lines as far as the first line.

Open the piece of paper and fold back across the fold line so that the patterned side faces out and the pencil marks are hidden. Glue the sides of the paper lantern together so that the cut strips point outward into a lantern shape. Glue the strip for the handle in place at the top of the lantern so you can hang it from the tree.

Clothes Peg Reindeer

You will need three old fashioned dolly type clothes pegs, a large wooden bead, some scraps of red felt, red beads, black paint and a small brush. You will also need craft glue that will hold wooden pieces together.

Have two of the clothes pegs pointing down and glue the wooden bead between them. This is the body and legs.

The third peg points up and is glued to the front of the body to form the head and antlers. Leave the glue to set and then the reindeer can be decorated with red beads for red noses, scraps of red felt for blankets and a dot of black paint for eyes. Bits of tinsel or glittery ribbon can be wound around the antlers and tied to form a loop for hanging.