I was on Local 5 Live the other day talking about some simple crafts to do with your kids that can be used as Christmas decorations for your home year after year.

While I love the crafts and projects that the kids bring home from preschool/school, church, camps and etc, they are typically not the kind of thing that you display around the house long term or use year after year. Usually you hang them on the fridge for a few weeks or so and then maybe save them somewhere as a keepsake. So when I do crafts with my girls, I try to do things that will look nice and that I would want to use as a decoration each year. I know they like seeing the decorations that they did or helped create displayed around our house. For Christmas, here are a couple of ideas and examples of what we have done:

1) Painting letters/words
It doesn’t get much easier than this! Simply decide on a word that you would like to have displayed and purchase the letters from your local craft store. The letters could be papier-mache or wooden and there will be various sizes to choose from depending on where you want to use them. Then, just decide on the paint color and have the kids start painting! I like to keep it simple and just use the painted letters, but you could take it a step further and add embellishments to the letters like buttons, flowers, garland, beads, pom-poms, etc. For our letters, I used acrylic paint with a shimmer in it.

2) Nutcrackers
You can find plain/unpainted wooden nutcrackers at various craft stores. Some have the faces painted on and have hair/a beard. Others do not have faces or hair/beard. If it needs a face, you may need to do that, but the kids can paint the body and use any color combinations they want. I recommend acrylic paint for this as well. It just takes a little patience and planning out which parts to paint first and last. It may need a couple of coats of paint. When they are done painting you can go back and touch up, if needed. If your nutcracker needs hair, you can get white fur from your local craft store, cut it to the length desired and use hot glue to apply it to the nutcracker. This will be a project they are proud of and that you can display around the house or they can use in their room. I used two of their nutcrackers in my table centerpiece this year and they look great!

And who knows…maybe down the road, they can take the decorations they made as kids and use them when they are on their own to start their own holiday decor collection. I know I still have a few things that I use from when I was a kid!

You can check out the video from Local 5 Live here if you’re interested.