12 Days of Christmas: Decorating Tips & Inspiration Part 1

Guest post by Lynda Redding 

Lynda Redding, Licensed Real Estate Agent, Designer and Professional Home Stager

When decorating for Christmas, I love to mix in homemade items and antique ornaments that have been collected over time to our Christmas decor. This can be a fun and inexpensive way to add sentiment and traditions to the season. Plus, it’s fun to get the kids involved too. So to get ready for this Christmas season, and hopefully inspire you to start some fun projects for your family, I’m going to share some tips and ideas of things we have made or done to make our Family Christmas Celebrations memorable.

Don’t forget to stay tuned for part two of the 12 Days of Christmas with even more fun decorating tips for the holiday season.

1. Countdown to Christmas with Brown Paper Bag Ornaments

A fun way for the kids to countdown the days until Christmas is to make your own Advent. You can add scripture passages tucked inside of each ornament to be read as a family as you begin the countdown. This year I made 25 paper mittens with a slip of paper inside of each mitten with that day’s scripture passage. To made the mittens I used 25 brown paper (lunch) bags and stamped the numbers 1-25 near the bottom of each bag. Then, I traced the shape of a mitten onto each bag, sewing a single stitch around the traced line, and then cutting them out trimming close to the stitched line. To hang them I added ribbon and a small clothespin which was also stamped with a number. We hung ours on our tree, but they could be hung on a string with the clothespins.

2. Sweater Mitten Ornaments

Here I took an old sweater of my husband’s and cut out mitten shapes, placing them along the waistband and sleeve bands to incorporate the band at the base of each mitten, cutting out a front and back, then placing right sides together sewed a single stitch around the edges, leaving the bottom/banded edge open for turning right side out. Lastly, add a loop and a bow out ribbon bow for hanging. We made these sweater mittens about 20 years ago, and they’re still a family favorite.

3. Salt Dough Gingerbread Ornaments

This is something you can do with your children or grandchildren. I followed a Cinnamon Salt Dough recipe that I found on line, and then rolled it out like cookie dough with my grandson. We used cookie cutters for the snowflakes, and then cut out the various house shapes by tracing house shapes and cutting around them with a knife. Then we placed them on a cookie sheet and baked them on low for 2-3 hours. After they cooled we decorated them with white slick paint to look like snow/frosting on gingerbread cookies. They’re not perfect, but the imperfections only add to the homemade look, which we love. We made these ornaments 4 years ago and they have lasted beautifully by storing them in a few ziplock bags.

  • Cinnamon Salt Dough Recipe:
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour 1 Cup Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 Cups Water

Mix well the dry ingredients, then add water a little at a time as needed, mixing until the dough becomes a smooth ball. Roll out to about 1/4″ and cut into shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet. Before baking poke a hole in each one with a straw or toothpick for to be used for hanging. Bake at 200 for 1-3 hours.

4. Handmade Stockings

This year I made 5 stockings, one for each grandchild. First, I sketched out a pattern onto cardboard, and traced around the pattern onto the fabric, cutting out 4 pieces for each stocking (2 for the front and back, and 2 for the lining). So for the 5 stockings I cut out 20 pieces in all. I used linen fabric, velvet for the stockings, and a strip of leather to make the loop for hanging. I then added long strips of velvet ribbon and a metal alphabet letter designating whose stocking it was. If sewing isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can also make stockings out of paper or card stock. In the past I’v made stockings out of card stock, and added a paper snowflake. Now those paper stockings are used as ornaments on the tree.

5. Glittered Postcard Ornaments

To embellish old postcards and make them into ornaments we layered card stock and old book pages behind the postcard, and then added diamond dust glitter to the front of the postcard with Mod-Podge. Then we added velvet and satin ribbon on the bottom edge, and a bow and loop for hanging. We made these about 18 years ago and they’ve lasted nicely by just stacking them face up and placing them in a ziplock bag.

6. Coffee Filter Paper Flowers

We made these coffee filter flowers for my daughter’s wedding, but now they are perfect to use on the Christmas tree. We made them by cutting flower shaped petals out of new coffee filters. Then to form then into the shape of a flower, we attached the pedals to a florist pick by slightly overlapping each pedal around the stick with florist tape until we had the fullness we liked.

Then we lightly dipped the edges in water, and sprinkled them with cinnamon, then baked them on low for a few minutes. The time varied depending on how wet they were. But watch them carefully this goes faster than you think. After they baked, we curled the edges of the pedals downward by wrapping them around a knitting needle. We made these coffee filter flowers over 10 years ago, and they still look really good. When they’re not being used on the Christmas tree, we display them in vases.

Lynda Redding is a Licensed Real Estate Agent with United Brokers Group and is also a Designer & Professional Home Stager.

If you are interested in buying or selling your home, Lynda can make it happen. Contact her to learn more by calling 480-242-5370 or emailing lyndaredding@gmail.com.

Follow Lynda on Instagram at @lyndaredding.

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