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Christmas is, some say, the most wonderful time of the year. However, it’s difficult not to notice that the season is becoming less and less personal and friendly as it becomes more and more devoted to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Though people have complained for years about how early Christmas decorations hit store shelves, the date seems to be inching ever closer to Halloween. Pretty soon, Thanksgiving is going to be called pre-Christmas.

Well, for those feeling that way, perhaps this year is the one in which we begin to take the holidays back from those corporations and standardized expressions of spirit. Decorations are so much more fun when they are homemade and carry and elicit a memory. Trees full of ornaments made by children, fireplaces adorned with stockings made at home, and cookies hot from the oven — these, the very things that once made the holiday the most wonderful time, are slowly disappearing.

Christmas wreaths are one of the most recognized and utilized symbols of the holiday season. DIY wreaths can be stunning, unique, and super festive, and they can also kick-start a wonderful march down memory lane. Plus, they can make brilliant use of all those decorations that rarely make it out of the attic or the spare strips of fabric at the bottom of the sewing bag.

What You Need for a Toy Wreath

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Source: ray_explores/Flickr

Either using a basic wreath that is hanging around anyway or going out to buy a wire wreath frame, the first thing we’ll need is a vessel upon which to display our wreath-worthy items. As for wreath-worthy items, this is where things get personal. Collect up old ornaments, favorite (or retired) toys, errant board game pieces, and all assortments of playtime paraphernalia. Find as much as possible because this stuff will be the dazzle.

For the nuts and bolts of things, there are a few more items. Some strips of cloth to wrap around the wreath frame will come in handy. A bit of wire to make a hanging hook for the finished product should be put on prior to decorations. Then, a hot glue gun with a few sticks of glue should do the job. Once all of this stuff is gathered, the crafty part is easy.

What You Need to Do

First, it’s not a bad idea to get a handle on what’s at your disposal toy-wise. Think through what might go nicely together, considering things like color, shape, size, and theme. It might even help to group the toys in some way that makes sense.

Next, to prepare the wire wreath, glue some fabric around it so that, when attaching the toys, that glue will have more surface to adhere to. Cover the entire wireframe. For those using a traditional, pine-like wreath, it might be nice to just skip this step and leave the needles sticking out here and there.

Then, it’s time to start gluing toys on. Go slow, consider balance, and cover the bulk of the wreath. When it gets a good layer of toys on it, hang it up somewhere to see how it looks. This is where things can get filled in to create a fuller, finalized look. Use small items, like Lego pieces, to bulk up empty spots.

A Second, More Mature Option

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Source: craftapalooza/Flickr

For those after something a bit more understated, either use the same wire wreath or, even better, pipe insulation — that pool noodle stuff — can be bent into a circle. Then, wrap strips of old material from the depths of a sewing bag — or, more festively, from old, cut-up Christmas socks, sweaters, t-shirts, stockings, Christmas tree skirts, and so on — around the frame.

The main rule here is to cover the frame completely. Beyond that, try and be experimental. Tie bows and knots. Leave strips of cloth hanging. Prominently present seasonal images. This can be quite elegant and simple, or it can be wild and rock-n-roll. Choose whatever seems fitting.

Happy Holidays

Either way, toys or cloth, wreaths like this have a wonderful personal touch that can spark a lot of fun holiday memories: old stocking stuffers, the socks Aunt So-and-So knitted, a favorite wind-up toy, a reindeer antler headband, a strip of old stocking, a Hot Wheel from childhood, a button worn for years, a scarf … wreaths can be so much more meaningful this way. And that makes for a grander time all around.

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