Christmas Decorations and Gifts

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    German Elf

    To make a jolly German elf decoration, you will need: compass, 2 pieces of felt (1 red, 1 white), pencil, scissors, 21 wooden beads 1/2″ in diameter, wooden bead 2″ in diameter, needle and heavy-duty thread, felt-tip markers, glue, and narrow ribbon.

    1. Cut nine felt circles of each color 1 1/2″ in diameter and 6 felt circles of each color 2″ in diameter.

    2. Cut 3′ length of thread, and thread needle. Slip on small bead and tie to end of thread. Next, thread on small circle and then another bead. Repeat until you have five circles (alternating red and white) and six beads.

    3. Thread needle through middle of eight 2″ circles (alternating red and white); then, taking a small stitch, bring needle back down through the eight circles. Starting with bead, alternate same number of circles and beads as other leg (see illustration). Tie on sixth bead and cut thread.

    4. Rethread needle with about 2′ of thread. Slip needle through stitch taken at top of 2″ circles. Tie thread, leaving equal amount of thread on each side of knot.

    5. Slip two 2″ circles (1 red, 1 white) onto needle, pushing them toward center; then alternate four beads and three small circles (alternating colors). Tie on last bead and cut thread. To make other arm, rethread needle with thread on other side of knot and repeat procedure.

    6. Tie piece of thread between arms and thread through needle. Slide on small bead and two small circles (1 red, 1 white), then large bead for head. Pull thread back through last two felt circles and small bead, and tie knot. Cut thread.

    7. Using 2″ bead for head, draw on facial features with felt-tip markers. Cut felt triangle for hat, and form cone shape; glue overlap. When dry, glue onto head. Attach piece of thread to top of hat for hanging. Tie ribbon bow around neck.

    Cotton-Swab Decorations

    Colorfully decorated packages, cards, or ornaments can be made with cotton swabs. You will need: pencil, cardboard, scissors, cotton swabs, poster paints, paintbrush, yarn, and construction paper.

    1. On cardboard, draw outline of figure you wish to make. Cut out.

    2. Look carefully at illustrations and cut swabs accordingly. Use just tips of swabs for holly, wreath, and snowman.

    3. Paint swabs colors desired. Let dry.

    4. Glue swabs to cardboard. After glue is dry, design can be glued to wrapped package or card made from construction paper. For tree ornament, glue swabs to both sides of cardboard. Using piece of yarn, hang ornament on tree.

    Nut Tree

    For an attractive holiday table decoration, you will need: Styrofoam cone, brown paint, paintbrush, assortment of unshelled nuts, and craft glue.

    1. Paint cone brown.

    2. When paint is dry, glue nuts around cone as in illustration—or create your own design!

    Snowing Paperweight

    You will need: empty baby-food jar; small plastic figure of person, animal, or house that fits into jar; moth flakes; blue food color; waterproof glue; and water.

    Remove lid from jar and save for base of snow bubble. Soak jar in hot water and remove label and glue. Glue figure to inside of lid, allowing it to dry completely. Put 2 tablespoons of moth flakes into jar, then fill with water. When lid is screwed on, figure will displace some of the water.

    Now, unscrew lid and add one drop of blue food color to water. Dry lid and top of jar; then put glue around threads of lid. Screw lid tightly onto bottle and wipe off any excess glue. Let dry.

    Give snow bubble a gentle shake, and the figure in the bottle will be surrounded by a blizzard of dancing snowflakes!

    Clothespin Doll

    With a little patience you can change a springless wooden clothespin into a pretty doll. Use it as a gift or an ornament. You will need: clothespin, ruler, scissors, fabric, needle and thread, glue, ribbon, acrylic paints, paintbrush, and yarn.

    1. Cut fabric into square the same height as clothespin.

    2. Run gathering stitch 1/4″ below top edge of fabric square.

    3. Slightly overlap fabric sides and glue together.

    4. Gather top and tie it with thread around clothespin at narrowest part.

    5. Glue piece of ribbon on top of gathers.

    6. Paint face on clothespin head.

    7. Glue on pieces of yarn for hair.

    8. Cut small triangle shape from fabric for kerchief, and glue on as shown.

    School Photo Bookmark

    You will need: small school photo, 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ piece of lightweight cardboard, clear contact paper, white glue, marking pens, and Christmas stickers.

    1. Glue photo to cardboard strip. Let dry.

    2. Use markers and stickers to decorate. Sign your name.

    3. Cover entire strip with clear contact paper.

    Christmas Critters

    You will need: 4mm black plastic eyes, glue, 1″ white pompons (one for each critter), scissors, black and red felt or material scraps, paper, toothpicks, and marking pens.

    1. Glue eyes onto middle of pompon.

    2. Cut out feet from black felt and glue to bottom of pompon.

    3. Cut out hat from red felt.

    4. Overlap sides of hat slightly and glue together. When it is dry, glue hat to pompon.

    5. For sign, cut out 1″ square of paper; then decorate it with marking pens.

    6. Write names, Christmas greeting, or personal message on sign.

    7. Glue paper onto thick end of toothpick and glue side of toothpick to pompon.

    Lollipop Cookies

    1/2 cup white or brown sugar

    1/2 cup butter or margarine

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    2 eggs

    2 1/2 cups sifted flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    lollipop sticks


    cake decorations

    1. Cream sugar and butter together, then stir in vanilla and eggs. Gradually blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

    2. Shape dough into 1 1/2″ diameter roll. Wrap securely with foil and chill for one hour.

    3. Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut dough into slices 1/4″ thick and place on greased cookie sheet. Push lollipop stick into edge of each cookie.

    4. Bake at 375ºF. for 7–12 minutes.

    5. After cookies have cooled, frost and decorate. For a nice gift, they can be individually wrapped, or they can be placed in a flowerpot and decorated with a ribbon.

    Sweet Vanilla Sachets

    To make three sachets you will need: hammer, large vanilla bean, 12 cloves, 3 teaspoons dried basil, pinking shears, light cotton or similar fabric, and 3/4 yard ribbon or yarn.

    1. Pound vanilla bean and cloves with hammer.

    2. Mix crushed bean and cloves with basil.

    3. Using pinking shears, cut three circles about 5 1/2″ in diameter from fabric.

    4. Place 1/3 mixture in middle of wrong side of fabric circles.

    5. Bring up fabric around mixture and tie with ribbon or yarn.

    Orange Gift Sip

    Give someone an orange and a peppermint stick. Write a note telling him to poke the peppermint stick into the orange, and then to sip the juice through the sweet straw!

    Illustrated by Nina Grover; photos by Eldon Linschoten