5 DIY Holiday Decorations to Craft with Family

The holiday season is here! While the 2020 holiday season may not be like any other that we’ve experienced (festive face masks and Santa hand sanitizer, anyone?), there’s still plenty of fun to be had. We all deserve something a bit special this year, especially the seniors that are near and dear to us.

With that said, crafting unique Christmas decorations presents an opportunity to bond with the special older adults in your life (socially distant, of course). Here are some affordable holiday crafting ideas from our assisted living team in Sussex County, New Jersey.

DIY Project #1 – Cupcake Wrapper Garlands

Who doesn’t love cupcakes and Christmas trees? Cupcake wrappers are easy to find at almost every grocery store, and there are some festive options. Here’s what to do:

  • Fold your cupcake wrapper in half, then fold in half again to make a triangle shape, keeping the frilly edge at the bottom.
  • Repeat with two more cupcake wrappers.
  • Stack them one on top of the other, arranging and overlapping them to make the shape of a Christmas tree. Glue each wrapper into place as you work up the tree.
  • Glue on a small glittery star or snowflake from your local craft store to make the star on the top of the tree.
  • Glue on some twine so that it can be attached to a Christmas tree. Or secure a bunch of cupcake trees onto a line of twine to create a garland for doorways and hallways.

DIY Project #2 – Candle Jars

Candles make any space feel cozy and special, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside. These candle jars are safe, decorative additions that are perfect for a window ledge, fireplace mantle or the Christmas table.

  • Collect large mason jars and good-size candles (look for holiday-scented candles for an extra seasonal touch).
  • Place small pebbles or beach sand at the base of the jar to help keep the candle stable.
  • Place the candle inside the jar, nestled into the small pebbles or beach sand.
  • Add cinnamon sticks or dried oranges for extra scent, keeping them around the base of the candle (well away from the flame).

DIY Project #3 – A Festive Table Garland

This is a fun project you can do well in advance of Christmas dinner – and is also an opportunity to go outside for some fresh air.

  • Visit your favorite outdoor spots with the kids and grandparents a few days or even a week before Christmas. If you plan on visiting a public tree farm, please call ahead to see if they’re operating under new COVID-19 procedures. 
  • Gather pine cones, soft, green pine boughs, holly, and mistletoe.
  • Pick the cleanest pinecones to paint in gold, silver or white and keep the rest for the fireplace or to make homemade bird feeders at a later time.
  • Get some cheap material to make oversized fabric bows (red and white gingham is a festive option).
  • Assemble your table wreath down the center of the table, then mix together the greenery, painted pinecones, bows, and berries to create a natural-looking holiday centerpiece.

The scent from this craft will fill the home for the whole week, and will continue to look fresh for Christmas day.

DIY Project #4 – Christmas Ribbon Ornaments

This is an easy project tailored to young children, and also a great opportunity for them to spend time crafting with their grandparents (even if it’s done virtually).

  • Get ribbons from your local craft store. Look for the ones that are already assembled into those traditional, star-shaped gift bows. You can match the colors to your holiday décor for the season.
  • Get some Styrofoam balls that are the same size as your other Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Glue the ribbons to the Styrofoam balls to cover the entire surface, mixing and matching colors as you go. 
  • Tie a piece of twine around the ball and it’s ready to hang on the tree!

DIY Project #5 – Salt Dough Ornaments

Kids love to make classic, affordable salt dough decorations! They are an ideal way to keep everyone busy and let those creative minds fly free. It’s easy to prepare, non-toxic and safe for younger children, too.

  • Make your salt dough by mixing 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water. Mix until it’s properly combined and feels like Play-Doh. 
  • Form a ball of dough and knead for 5 minutes, then roll it out to about a ¼ thickness.
  • Get a range of festive cookie cutters from your local store and cut out shapes.
  • Bake at 200 degrees until the dough is dry and hardened.
  • Then decorate them with paint and press-on rhinestones. 
  • Once dry, hang them up with twine on your Christmas tree.


With these fun projects to inspire you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, gather supplies, and get your closest loved ones together to make this season as joyful as possible.

At UMC at Bristol Glen, we’re committed to making this holiday season special for our residents and their families. If you’d like to find out what we’re doing for the holidays or to see if we’re the right assisted living option in Sussex County, New Jersey, for your loved one, contact us today at: http://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/contact