handmade holiday decorations scattered on table

Get in the Spirit with These 7 DIY Holiday Decorations for Kids

Published November 1, 2023

The festive season is nearly upon us, and we’re already starting to see all sorts of holiday decorations in store aisles and shop windows. There’s so much fun stuff out there, but on top of all the other holiday expenses, decorating may not make it into the budget. So why not make them yourself? It’s a great excuse to get the creativity flowing and spend some quality time with the family.

The Benefits of Crafting for Kids

Not only does making holiday decorations create lasting memories for you and your kids, but it also helps their brains develop. According to Scholastic, arts and crafts can improve your child’s self-esteem, patience, and critical thinking. Crafting can also teach them about resilience, when they learn to overcome the challenges that will inevitably arise from doing something new.

Crafting can also come with some academic benefits. According to the Department of Education, “learning in one context assists learning in a different context.” So, any stimulation of the brain is worthwhile. And the Public School Review takes it a step further, explaining that kids involved in the arts tend to perform better in math, reading, and writing. So, when you help them make decorations, you’re also helping them in the classroom.

DIY Holiday Decorations

1. A Festive “Fruit” Bowl

This is an easy one for kids of all ages. Get some plain, undecorated ornament bulbs—they can be all one color or different colors, depending on how you want your finished “fruit” bowl to look. You might want to look for plastic ones, so they’re not as breakable. And then you can decorate those bulbs however you’d like! Break out the glue and glitter, puff paints, or metallic markers. Let your imagination run wild! Then you just place the ornaments in a fruit bowl and showcase it on a table or one of your counters.

2. A Holiday Tree Made of Family Pictures

Put on some holiday sweaters, hit the town, and pose for a few pictures in front of your favorite local landmarks. Make sure you take lots of photos and really have some fun with it. Then all you need to do is print out the pictures (places like Walgreens and CVS can usually do this fairly quickly and cheaply) and tape them up on your wall in the shape of a tree. Click here for an example, but feel free to go wild with it. Decorate your tree with ribbons or garland, or tape small ornaments between the photos.

3. A Candy Cane Wreath

If you don’t already have a wreath, you can make one out of candy canes. It’s as simple as getting a package of candy canes and tying and glueing them together to create a circle. Click here for instructions. And be sure to leave the wrappers on the candy canes so you can eat them after the holidays!

4. A Seasonal Table Runner

Head over to the discount store and buy a few rolls of wrapping paper. Then you wrap up your entire kitchen table like it’s a gift. And that’s it! This is a really fun way to make every meal feel festive, do an activity together, and get the most out of every moment. Feel free to mix the wrapping papers and let your kids make some creative choices.

5. Homemade Holiday Countdown Calendar

When the holiday season hits, most kids are already counting down the days. Whether that’s to the end of the school semester, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, or any other special days or events, you can help make it even more exciting for them with a homemade countdown calendar. All you have to do is get some coin envelopes, write a different number on each one, let you kids decorate them however they’d like, and tape them onto the wall. Then you put a little piece of candy or toy inside of each one, open a different envelope each night, and count down the days to a holiday of your choice. Click here to see an example.

6. Popcorn Garland

One of the most traditional holiday decorations out there, you can’t go wrong with a popcorn garland! Start by popping some popcorn without any butter or salt, then leaving it out to dry for two days. Once it dries, you can run a needle and a long piece of thread through the center of each piece until the entire thread is decorated. Have your kids brainstorm other things they can include on the garland with the popcorn—cranberries, beads, bows, etc. Hang the finished garlands on a tree, a wreath, a mantle, or the wall. Be sure to do a little handle holding so that your kids don’t poke themselves with the needle. Click here for more in-depth instructions and advice.

7. Make Your Own Holiday Stocking

Stockings can be the star of the holiday season, especially if you don’t have room for a tree. And the best part is, you can make these stockings yourself. Grab some felt from the fabric store and cut it into two pieces in the shape of a stocking. Then you just glue the pieces together, decorate the outside with glue and glitter or puffy fabric paints, and fill them up with tiny gifts or treats. Click here for a tutorial.

Get Creative!

Feel free to click around, find something else that you like, or make it all up as you go. You might even want to ask your kids if they have any ideas. After all, the entire point is to get them involved. And they’ll probably be a lot more invested if they get to pick the project.

The holiday season is all about spending time with your family, and an easy way to do that is by making holiday decorations with your kids. DIY projects can be a great way for them to develop self-esteem, grit, and creativity, and they might even help them out in the classroom. So, block off some time, engage your kids, and ring in the holiday season with a little DIY magic.