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EAST COAST MOMMY: Planning a handmade holiday

. - Gina Bell

Get creative with Christmas projects right at home

The commercialism that comes with the holidays can be overwhelming, so the idea of trying to create a handmade holiday for my family is very appealing to me. I love adding old-fashioned, homemade elements to Christmas celebrations. Don’t you? It really is an inexpensive and heartfelt way of embracing the holiday season. 

Today, I am sharing some of my favourite DIY tips and tricks with you. You don’t even have to be super crafty to do these. The perfect handmade holiday is about figuring out what you are good at and making an effort to share your talents with others.

Recipes, traditions and more in our Holidays section
Recipes, traditions and more in our Holidays section

If you enjoy cooking or baking, home-made food is a perfect way to celebrate. Nothing says Christmas like the smell of a turkey or cookies baking in the oven. Hosting a holiday meal is fantastic, but packaging up baked goodies and giving them to family, friends and neighbours is also wonderful. I especially love baking shortbread and gingerbread cookies during the holiday season, but any favourite treat is perfect for sharing.

If you’d rather not be in the kitchen, creating handmade gifts is another great option. Every year, I design and sew handmade felt ornaments to mail with my Christmas cards. They are light and flat, making them perfect for slipping into an envelope. This year, I lost my grandmother; in her memory, I am making special ornaments for my family members. 

My English-born nanny loved a cup of tea, so I am making teacup ornaments (with a heart on the front of each ornament made from material cut from her favourite blanket). The ornaments are easy and inexpensive to make, but I think my family and friends appreciate that they are gifts from my heart.

Kids can also get in on the handmade gift action. Family members love a handmade gift or card from a child. It works for friends and classmates, too. Magic reindeer food is easy for kids to make and it’s an inexpensive gift option. Kids can fill small cellophane bags with 1/3 cup of Cheerios, 1/4 cup of oats and one teaspoon of magic dust (a.k.a. coloured cookie decorating sugar). Add personalized tags and you’re good to go.

Handmade decor is another simple way to add a personalized touch to holiday celebrations. There are many DIY wreath options, but my favourite non-traditional DIY wreath is made from a picture frame. Simply buy a basic frame from a thrift store, spray paint the frame bright red and use a glue gun to attach a few hanging ornaments and a bow.

Wrapping pictures that are already hanging on the walls of your home is another easy handmade decor idea that anyone can do. Last year, I wrapped the pictures in my hallway with sparkly red paper and glittery gold bows. It’s a delightful way to make a big impact with very little effort.

I hope you take the time to add a few handmade elements to your Christmas celebrations this year. It really does make family and friends feel special to know that you’ve invested time and energy showing them you care during the holiday season. 

Gina Bell is a writer, content creator, mom of three and lover of all things Christmas. She lives in Antigonish, N.S., with her husband and three sons and is constantly on the lookout for easy, inexpensive ways to make magical memories with her family. Follow her adventures at

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