Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Gift a Day Gift Thirteen: Nativity Scene Christmas Ornaments

Making new Christmas decorations every year, and a lot of them, has become a tradition with my son in the house.  He is a mass of destruction toward our Christmas tree and ornaments every year, so it's been a constant search to find ornaments that will hold up to his abuse.  I have gotten to a point where I don't even mind it, really, as he loves Christmas ornaments and especially the tree so much.

One of the things that I've found survive the holidays around here is home made stuffed Christmas ornaments.  My son might steal them off the tree and play with them all over the house, and as a result I might be finding them in July in his toy box, but they do survive.  So, I keep my eye out for things I can make stuffed ornaments out of.

So, I figured that overstuffed Christmas ornaments for the tree was a great gift for my son this year.

I ran into a panel project at the used store early in the year that I thought, at the time, was Christmas ornaments (it was stapled together, so it was kind of hard to tell).  For 1.50 for the panel, I figured it was worth getting.

I went to cut out the ornaments, or what I assumed was ornaments, only to realize that the panel wasn't for ornaments but a 3D overstuffed nativity scene.  They had instructions for putting bases on the nativity pieces and using cardboard as stiffeners in the pieces, etc.

Well, with my son, who likes to slap things down, that would have ended in tears early, so I instead figured out a way to take the pieces, cut them and sew them carefully and now we have some nice, but very big in some cases (the Three Kings are really big) overstuffed ornaments for the tree.  I'll keep the tree up for a few extra days past Christmas this year to allow my son to enjoy the ornaments, but I know he'll like this gift a lot. 

These ornaments will also do double duty as I'm planning on doing some Godly play with my daughter to tell the story of the first Christmas and the ornaments will make good puppets and visual reinforcement.  It'll be a fun Christmas Day activity.

To make Christmas ornaments cheap?  Use felt, double stacked and draw some Christmas like  designs on it (you can also use cotton fabric,  I've made a lot of ornaments from a package of fat quarters when they go on sale cheap at Jo Ann Fabrics over the years).  With yellow I make star and bell shapes.  Green is great because you can just make at tall triangle put a rectangle on the bottom of it and voila you have a rustic Christmas tree. No worries if they don't come out straight.  That's the charm of rustic looking ornaments.  Just make sure you add a second line so you have your seam allowance around the ornament.  I usually cut out both parts of the ornaments at once (right sides together folks).  You can hand sew the ornaments or machine sew them, leave a little opening to turn them and then stuff them (don't have fiber fill?  Get creative.  I mean these are Christmas ornaments.  Fabric scraps down to confetti size can work as filling.  Laundry lint is a trick a friend told me about a while back.  Really even paper towels or scrap paper could work as it's not like these have to hold up to wear and tear!).

Another really fun thing that I make from time to time that is suitable for gift giving?  I will take cinnamon sticks that are kind of old for baking applications and cut them in half with a serrated knife (or a small saw would work better, but I hate to use my husband's tools for fear of breaking something, so I use a cheap serrated knife and flinch and hope I don't wreck it *ahem*.  Note to self:  Buy a saw for my household tools one of these days) and than stack them like you would a bundle of logs.  Than take some ribbon and wrap around your "log bundle" and loop the ribbon at the very top to make a tree hanger before gluing everything in place.  If you have it, little bits of moss or colorful dried flowers added to where you put the loop on the cinnamon logs makes a wonderful bit of garnish for the ornament.

And voila you have a really beautiful Christmas ornament that will also smell pretty.  And it doesn't take much to make.  Really there's no reason you couldn't make this with sticks from your yard, even, if you could find ones that were nice and straight.  And it really does make a cute ornament for someone's tree. 

Total Cost to Make Gift:  1.50 for the original panel.  The batting came from the crafting supplies I found in storage earlier in the year, so I had it on hand.

Total Time to Make Gift:  About three hours between having to CAREFULLY cut the ornaments out, line up the lines (since the ornaments have fronts and backs to them) and sew them just right so that they looked right.


  1. This is such a cute gift for your son, especially since he loves Christmas ornaments so much. One year, before I had my daughter and life became hectic, I used a snowman cookie cutter as a pattern to make little stuffed snowman ornaments. I had some blue scrapes of cloth for the snowman, used a black marker for the "coal" eyes, sewed small buttons on his middle and used some scrap bits of yarn to crochet little tiny scarves for the necks. They turned out really cute! I still have them tucked away with my Christmas ornaments. I remember letting my daughter use them to decorate her own Christmas tree when she was little. We also used some of her little stuffed animals to decorate her tree. Since it was her tree, she was allowed to play with it. All breakable or special ornaments always went on the larger tree, usually near the top so little hands couldn't grab them.

    As for another suggestion for stuffing, I have made catnip mice in the past using recycled plastic grocery bags to stuff them. It gives a bit of a crinkle sound to the final product.

  2. Plastic grocery bags is a GREAT idea! I have a ton and still need to make some ornaments, so I'll definitely be utilizing that tip :).

    With my son giving him his own tree...I keep going back and forth about it. On one hand I'd love to do that as my daughter has a small tree in her room, but on the other hand I worry about him with it as he's so destructive. I removed all breakable ornaments from the top of our big tree ages ago as he keeps pulling the tree down to get a certain ornament from the top of the tree. We have a quickly made tree stand my husband put together last year made out of particle board and 2 x 4's after my son completely destroyed the old tree stand pulling the tree over. He makes things challenging for sure.