If you don’t mind picking glitter out of the carpet for many months to come, Lisa Jarmin’s crafty Christmas projects are just the thing to make you feel like one of those effortlessly creative mums…
When I was 9, I collaged a big shepherd with my friend Katherine for a nativity display at school. We were so impressed with our finished masterpiece that we fell out over who got to take him home. In the end, we decided upon a time share arrangement: I had him first and promised to pass him over her next Christmas.
Obviously I failed to do this and the shepherd was ceremoniously hauled out of our box of decorations every year and stuck on the wall. A few years later it occurred to me that he was seriously creepy and also rubbish. He had shifty eyes, misshapen feet and had the sort of expression traditionally worn by people who try to coax children into bushes to look at their puppies. I attempted to bin him, but my dad insisted that he have pride of place by the Christmas tree, and there he hung every year purely for my embarrassment. Eventually he was passed to me and the crook wielding maniac still gets stuck to the wall every Christmas, mainly because I get the feeling that he might creep about the house while we sleep if he’s not blu-tacked down. I really feel that it’s time for me to pass the evil git on to Katherine as promised but I lost contact with her years ago. This is a shame as I have a fantasy in which I reunite them by posting him to her in a box with an anonymous note simply saying “YOUR TURN” attached to his leering face.
I digress. What I’m getting at here is that now you have a child, a tastefully decorated house at Christmas is a thing of the past. Stop watching Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas immediately and put the Cox and Cox catalogue down. From the moment your child is old enough, they will be bringing a pile of glitter covered crap home from school or nursery and it will be on your Christmas tree forevermore. So why don’t you get into the spirit of things and make some Christmassy crafts with your offspring? Ones that will make you melt at the cuteness and them twitch with embarrassment in years to come:
1. Hand print tree decorations
Recommended age: 0+
We’re starting easy and with low humiliation factor. You’ll need card, paint, and a baby to dunk in it. Dip the baby’s hand in the paint and make hand prints on the card. Cut the hand shapes out when dry, then thread string through them to make hanging loops. Now you’ve got a record of their perfect little hands to bring out every year and compare as they grow. Also, this legitimately counts as a craft activity even though it only takes 3 minutes. High five yourself and have a nice sit down.
2. Bog roll nativity
Recommended age: 4+
Collect lots of toilet roll tubes and present them to your children with bit of fabric, pipe cleaners, balls of wool, crepe paper and felt pens. Now let them go wild creating Mary, Joseph and the rest of the crew while you work your way through the mince pies. The end result will be a stable full of cylindrical mutants. This is fine.
3. Angel Christmas Cards
Recommended age: 0+ (but you’ll have to make it yourself until they’re 2 or 3)
Take a photo of your child, print it out and cut out their face. Cut 3 triangles from a paper doily and use these to fashion angel robes and wings. Glue to a blank card and stick your child’s face on top. Add a glitter halo and you’re laughing. Well, 15 years down the line when this comes out in front of their uni mates you will be anyway.
4. Sparkly pine cones
Recommended age: 18 months +
Go on a wintery walk together and hunt for pine cones, then bring them home and allow your child to dip them in glue and glitter to their heart’s content. You can get these out every year and reminisce about that lovely day when they threw a tantrum because they were too cold but wouldn’t wear gloves because they were “too glovey” then went home and snorted a load of glitter up their nose resulting in a family trip to out of hours.
5. Paintbrush Santa
Recommended age: 3+
The ultimate in ugly decorations. You will need a decorators paint brush with natural coloured bristles. Paint the handle red (this is Santa’s hat), add a white pom-pom to the tip and cover the metal part with a trim of cotton wool. Add googly eyes at the top of the bristles. You now have a menacing looking approximation of Father Christmas with a nicotine stained beard and mad, boggly eyes. Make several and leave them around the house in gangs to scare unsuspecting festive visitors.
Inspired? Get on it. And meanwhile, if anyone knows of a 40 year old speech therapist called Katherine, last seen in Nailsea, let me know – I could make all her Christmas nightmares come true…