Holiday crafts help spread joy of the season


Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

Christmas is a special time of year for me. As a child, it was by far my favorite, but  as an adult, it continues to be – for a different reason.

Now I get to experience Christmas through the eyes of my girls. While one is still too young to really grasp what Christmas is, my older daughter is the perfect age to start experiencing and making her own traditions.

We’ve done a lot so far this month – made cookies, searched the house for the elusive Elf on the Shelf, and driven through neighborhoods checking out awesome local Christmas lights. My favorite activity, however, has been making holiday crafts.

I’m no Pinterest expert. My crafts usually end up looking like Pinterest fails, especially when the hands of a 5-year-old join in the fun. If you haven’t seen a “Pinterest fail,” take a quick look online and you will find some hilarious examples. Mine may or may not be there.

What the final product ends up looking like isn’t really important, though. It’s the memories and traditions that are being created that are invaluable.

If you’re looking for a few craft ideas to start your own traditions, here are a few ideas that use Mason jars.

I love Mason jars. They’re so versatile – perfect for crafts, but also as kitchen glasses if you want to look extra cool.

I recently came across miniature Mason jars that Ball makes. These are perfect for making mini-snowmen jars you can stuff with white Tic Tacs. Paint the lid black and glue buttons on the front of the jar. Using red or green felt, cut a little scarf out and tie it around the jar’s neck.

You can also get kids to join in on the fun by creating homemade Play-Doh in red, green and white, and then storing the creations in the mini-jars.

All you need are 2-1⁄2 cups of water, 1-1⁄4 cup of salt, 1-1⁄2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2-1⁄2 cups of flour and food coloring.

Mix everything but the food coloring together in a large pot until it’s somewhat smooth. Cook over low heat, mixing frequently. Once it starts to take on a sticky  appearance, continue mixing until the edges on the side and bottom start to look dry. Once the concoction isn’t gooey anymore, it’s ready.

Take the dough and place it somewhere that’s safe for food coloring to be on, and add some in. Knead the dough until you’ve reached the color you like, adding more coloring in if you want a different shade. Store the dough in the mason jars, with the lid sealed tight to keep it fresh.

If you like larger Mason jars, there’s tons of sizes out there, and if you like to use them for drinking, no need to throw away the lids. They actually make great ornaments, believe it or not.

All you need is the Mason jar’s screw ring (lids can be found in packs at a lot of stores that carry canning supplies if you don’t have the jars), fabric scraps, a glue gun, scissors, twine or ribbon and a cutout of an image you want to place at the center of the ornament. This can be a sticker or the outline of a reindeer or star, for example, cut out of paper.

Start by separating the lid insert from the screw ring, and wrapping the insert with the fabric. Glue it in place using your hot glue gun. Around the screw ring, attach the twine, making a loop that will fit around a branch on your tree.

Run a thin line of hot glue along the inside of the screw ring, pressing the covered lid into it.
Glue your sticker or cutout to the front of the ornament and you’re finished!

If these ideas don’t inspire you, there are many out there in cyberspace for all ages. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.


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