As I’ve mentioned before, I really love to decorate with Ball jars. Last Christmas I came up with yet another fun use for them: I made “Christmas in a Jar” favors to give as gifts. They were really fun and actually very easy to assemble. First I got a bunch of Ball jars, obviously. Then I collected all kinds of “stuff” that reminded me of Christmas. I actually took a jar around Target to make sure none of the items were too big to fit inside the jar. I got old fashioned icicles to hang on trees, various Christmas candies, candy canes, tiny ornaments, tiny cookie cutters, and packets of hot chocolate – all the fun nostalgic things that make me think of Christmas. Then I went home and stuffed the jars with a little bit of everything.
More Christmas in a Jar
To go with the nostalgic theme, I also found some “retro” looking Christmas paper from Stampin’ Up and punched scalloped circles from it to glue to the lids of the jars. Finally, I tied a tag on each jar that labeled them as “Christmas in a Jar” so that people would understand what they were getting. They were really fun gifts to put together, and people seemed to get a kick out of getting them. They also made cute table decorations at our Christmas party last year. If you need a last minute gift or favor, you still have plenty of time to put together your own “Christmas in a Jar!” Merry Christmas!
I just finished and mailed this year’s Christmas card this weekend. So now that that task is done, I can take a moment to share one of our past cards with you. I came up with the idea for a house themed card a couple years ago when we were in the process of building a new house. My big plan was to combine our Christmas card with a change of address card. It would have worked perfectly except the building process got started a little more slowly than we anticipated, and we thought it might be putting the cart before the horse to announce we were moving before they had even broken ground on our new house. Besides, we didn’t know our new address by the time we had to mail our Christmas cards. However, the house cards were still cute so we went with them anyway.
House Christmas Card
I used a light blue card stock for the background. I cut it to 5.5″ X 8.5″ and folded it in half. On the front I glued a white mound of snow made out of white card stock. I got a set of house stamps and a matching cutting tool from Stampin’ Up and stamped and cut out a house on light brown card stock for the front of each card. I colored the houses with markers and attached them to the cards on top of the snow mounds with pop up dots. I also punched out a tiny tree for each card to go next to the house and attached those with pop up dots as well.
Inside House Christmas Card
For the inside of the cards I stamped words on brown card stock to match the house and added little red card stock hearts to the words with more pop up dots. I also added strips of paper with Christmas houses from Stampin’ Up to the bottoms of the insides of the cards. I especially loved this paper because it reminded me of my grandparents’ Christmas village that I loved to play with when I was little and that now gets set up at our house each year. Very special!
As promised, here is another installment in my recent obsession with marquee decorations – this time a Christmas version. I saw a JOY marquee at Pottery Barn back in the fall, and I knew it would be the perfect Christmas decoration for our movie themed family room. Unfortunately, the price tag was not so perfect. So I decided to make my own JOY marquee using Heidi Swapp Marquee Love letters I bought at Michael’s. I got a J, a Y, and on a whim a star for the O. I painted the edges a pewter color and filled the inside with red, silver, and green glitter paper. And that was it! Super quick and easy – the whole project took less time than it would have taken to drive to our local Pottery Barn and back! And I actually like my cheaper DIY version better than the Pottery Barn inspiration because it’s more Christmas-y and the colors go better with our red and green Christmas decorations. I hope your Christmas is full of JOY!
December’s card of the month is one of our Christmas cards from a few years ago that I find to be quite funny – I hope you do too. I had this darling mouse shape on a Cricut cartridge, and I wanted to use it for a card so I came up with this “Creature stirring” card.
I started with a piece of red card stock cut to 5 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches and folded it in half. I cut the mouse out of gray card stock and glued on pink ears and nose, black eyes, and a red mouth. I attached it to the front of the card with a pop up dot. I also used my Cricut to cut out a white speech bubble on which I wrote “Oops…” since the mouse was still stirring when he wasn’t supposed to be. I used regular adhesive to glue that to the card next to the mouse. The “Not a creature was stirring…” words were printed in green on white paper using my computer. I matted this on green and used adhesive to attach it to the top of the card. I was worried it wasn’t Christmas-y enough so I added a tree. The tree was punched out of green card stock using a scalloped triangle punch from Stampin’ Up. The tree skirt was punched out of various Christmas patterned papers using a scalloped oval punch also from Stampin’ Up. I decorated the tree with a gold star brad and stick-on rhinestones. I attached the whole tree to the card with another couple of pop up dots.
Creature Stirring Card Inside
I finished the mouse joke on the inside with a piece of cheese – a triangle punched out of yellow card stock and then punched again with a regular hole punch to make the holes for swiss cheese. I added a green holly stamp and glued on a red paper dot to make it more festive. The Merry Christmas words were also printed from my computer and punched out and matted with oval and scalloped oval punches. Everything on the inside of the card was attached with adhesive.
The whole card looks pretty cute in my opinion – even if the joke is a little cheesy. Ha ha. Merry Christmas!
My favorite decorations to use in the classroom for December are mittens. They work well with the cold weather, they are not specific to any holiday so no one feels left out, and they go perfectly with the idea of helping hands which is so important during the holiday season. I used to have a free time center activity in my classroom where kids could cut out and decorate paper mittens and label them with the names of friends who had shown caring and been helping hands. We would string them together on paper chains until eventually all of the helping hand mittens would wind around the whole classroom.
To go along with this helping hand theme, we made wish poems for December. All children have wishes regardless of their religious, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. We would talk about how wishes could be big or small, and that some kids might need a helping hand to make their wishes come true. The format of the wish poem is shown here:
Wish Poem Sloppy Copy
We would write the final copies of the wish poems on mittens to remind us that by being helping hands we can all help wishes come true.
I’m exhausted right now, so I can only hope this post is coherent. The last 3 days were spent decorating our new house for Christmas. It’s done, it’s beautiful – a dream come true, but I’m pooped. It was a lot of fun though to see how all of our old decorations fit into the new house. It’s funny, but even though I loved them at the old house, it’s as if all of our Christmas stuff was just made for this new house all along! When in fact the decorations in just one room are new for this house.
Our living room has a whole new “White Christmas” theme, and I absolutely love it even though ironically “White Christmas” is not my favorite movie. (I much prefer “Love Actually,” but you can’t exactly decorate a room around it… Little Hugh Grant figurines dancing to “Jump?” Christmas lobsters in the manger scene? No thanks.) It’s all all white and silver and pale green and sparkly with lots of snowflakes and little trees and houses covered in snow.
White Christmas Village
I looked all over to collect the decorations for our living room.
White Christmas Shelves
Some are from Crate and Barrel, some are from Pottery Barn this year, some are from Pottery Barn last year, some are from Target.
White Christmas Tree
Some like the snowflake marquee and the signs on the long shelf are even homemade with supplies from Michael’s and the Silhouette Design Store.
White Christmas Snowflake Marquee and Jar
It’s a room that’s totally different from anything else in the house, but I must admit it might be my favorite.
But I still don’t like the “White Christmas” movie. I’ll stick with “Love Actually” for my viewing pleasure, thank you very much!
Today I did one of my most favorite activities of the year – wrapping Christmas presents! I have always loved present wrapping day. In fact, I love it so much that when I was in middle school and high school, my aunt always gave me my most favorite Christmas gift early – around Thanksgiving. It was an assortment of Christmas bows, tags, bags, and paper for me to use on my wrapping day. I still get excited just thinking about it! Now I look forward to the opening of the Container Store’s “Gift Wrap Wonderland” with the same giddy anticipation. (I’m not kidding. I put it on my calendar and start calling the store about a week ahead of time to see if they are ready early by any chance.)
My wrapping day is always the same – I set up my “workspace” in front of the tree with paper, bows, tape, scissors, tags, and sharpies. Then I pop Home Alone in the DVD player and wrap away. I have it down to a science, usually finishing up the last gift as the end credits roll for Home Alone 2.
It’s a great day. I’m already looking forward to doing again next year! Merry Christmas!
In our Jr. Kindergarten classroom, the theme for December is construction. We learn about simple machines, tools, making blueprints, and building gingerbread houses. So when I found this darling craft stick manger scene craft on Pinterest, we decided we should also build stables as part of our construction unit.
For the stable you will need 5 big (REALLY BIG – like 7 1/2 to 8 inches) craft sticks. Glue them in the shape of the outline of a stable. Then get 7 tongue depressor sized craft sticks (I think they are usually referred to as “jumbo” or “large” – they are around 6 inches) for the people. Cut one in half – one half will be Baby Jesus and the other half will be the angel. Paint “clothes” on the people sticks. Leave the areas for the faces unpainted. Draw the faces on the sticks and give the people “accessories” – jewels for the wise men, yarn headbands for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherd, and a sparkly pipe cleaner for the angel’s halo. Glue all the people in their places on the stable. Glue dot eyes and mouth on a cotton ball to make a lamb, and glue it to the stable too. Finish it off by gluing some straw at the bottom. You will end up with a very special decoration to keep for years.
December’s card of the month is, of course, a Christmas card. I love making our cards each year. In fact, I’m currently rushing to finish making this year’s batch so that I can get them mailed in time for Christmas – taking just enough time out to write this blog post!
This card is still probably my most favorite ever.
Baking Christmas Card
I cut the oven mitt and rolling pin out using my Cricut. For the cookie sheet I used a piece of silver card stock and folded up the edges. The doily is just a piece of white card stock punched with a round scallop punch and dotted with a silver pen. The gingerbread “Got Merry?” stamp was from Stampin’ Up several years ago. I used tiny brads for the buttons on the gingerbread cookie.
Baking Christmas Card – Inside
For the inside of the card I stamped “Merry Christmas” and added a potholder also cut out using the Cricut to match the oven mitt on the front of the card. I used a little silver brad to “hang” the potholder on the inside of the card.
Even though it had a lot of parts and was a little labor intensive, this card will always be one of my favorites. I love how it tuned out!
One of my favorite Christmas decorations in our house is actually one of the most simple. We always hang samples of our Christmas cards and Christmas party invitations from past years in our art room. It couldn’t be easier to set up – just don’t forget to save at least one sample of your Christmas cards each year. We hang them from some wires with clips we got at IKEA a few years ago. They look really cute, and the cards are already perfect for Christmas decorations with their red and green color schemes and pictures of Rudolph, gingerbread men, candy canes, ornaments, etc. It’s the perfect decoration for our art room since each we always make our own cards. It’s also fun to go on a walk down memory lane each year just by looking at the cards hanging on the walls.