South Shore Breaker

DIY festive and fun Christmas ornaments

- GINA BELL eastcoastm­ @Saltwirene­twork Gina Bell is a mother of three and can be found online at www.eastcoastm­

To me, Christmas ornaments are like little time capsules.

Every year, I dig out my boxes of tree decoration­s and I am flooded with memories. I love the ornaments I purchased on family holidays, the ones my family received as gifts and those that my children and I made together. Each ornament hanging on my tree is a unique and special treasure.

One of my holiday highlights is crafting and sharing tree ornaments. I make handstitch­ed felt ornaments for friends and family every year and pop them in my Christmas cards. It’s a tradition I have been enjoying for many years, and it warms my heart when I see my gifts displayed on trees in my loved ones’ homes.

This year, I am creating

adorable owl ornaments. I’m stitching felt pieces together, adding eyes with fabric paint, and attaching a red heart button.

I’m also adding a red and white twine hanger and including a note that says: “OWL be home for Christmas.” The key to gifting handmade ornaments is to keep the designs simple and start making them early.

Plastic ball ornaments are wonderful to customize.

You can fill them with sentimenta­l items like graduation tassels, newborn baby hats or sea glass from a special vacation. Another option is to stuff them with fun things like candy and pom poms. When my boys were little, we filled ornaments with Skittles and added tags that said: “May your days be Merry and BRIGHT!”

Young kids love making ornaments for family and friends, and crafting is a fantastic family activity to enjoy together this time of year. Turn on Christmas carols, serve festive snacks and grab a bunch of dollar store craft supplies — paper, popsicle sticks, stickers, buttons and photos are great.

Green popsicle sticks can be glued together to make a tree shape and a trunk and star made of cardstock can be added with glue. Then, a yarn hanger can be tied to the top, and the tree can be decorated with glittery stickers.

Alternativ­ely, cookie cutters can be used as templates to cut out Christmas shapes, crayons and markers can be used to decorate, while a hole-punch can create a spot for a yarn hanger.

For an extra special ornament, cut a circle from a piece of card stock, glue on a picture of a child’s face, draw on antlers and add a red sticker on top of the child’s nose. A personaliz­ed reindeer ornament is a perfect gift for a child to give to family and friends.

Older children and adults will enjoy creating tree ornaments with more sophistica­ted materials, such as beads, wood and textiles. Pinterest has tons of inspiratio­n, and I have wonderful tutorials on my blog: www. Eastcoastm­ If you enjoy sewing, cookie cutters provide perfect shapes for making felt ornaments. If you prefer painting, blank wooden dollar store ornaments make wonderful canvases.

I recommend making my yarn hat ornaments. You can find the step-by-step instructio­ns on my blog, and they are fun to make as a group.

I hope I’ve inspired you to DIY a few Christmas ornaments this year. They are fun to make, look lovely on your tree and are perfect for giftgiving.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Plastic ball ornaments are easy to customize by adding sentimenta­l items such as baby hats.
CONTRIBUTE­D Plastic ball ornaments are easy to customize by adding sentimenta­l items such as baby hats.
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