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Kids love Christmas. They’ve always loved Christmas. Sure, it’s the presents, (and of course the food) but there is something deeper down there, something that maybe the nippers don’t even realize. Maybe even parents don’t. It seems almost an annual consensus that the magic of Christmas is slowly slipping away, and without a doubt, this feeling of loss comes from the fact that the holidays have become far too much marketing and merchandising and less and less family and fun. Well, the solution is easy, ain’t it?

Kids love making stuff. They love that feeling of completion, of accomplishment. It helps them build confidence. Equally, they love to make a difference, to believe what they are doing makes some sort of difference, to share that story with their grandparents, their friends, and anyone. It gives them perspective. And, they love spending time with mom, with dad, with mom and dad. What if there were a way to get that as an all-in-one special?

How about 12 days of Christmas crafts from recycled materials? And, if you need more persuading, you’ll save money on decorations, gifts (Grandma would much rather have a handmade Christmas craft from her grandchild than another box of fancy jam), and cards.


Homemade Christmas Ornaments birdseed

Source: Heather Katsoulis/Flickr

Holy Santa! When I got to hang my own ornament on our tree that was the height of the holiday. Everybody that visited had to stop and behold that exquisite piece of art. Not only was I bursting with pride, but my mom… loved it! Check out these puzzle-piece snowflake ornaments, perfect for doing something constructive with those stray pieces or forgotten puzzles on the top shelf of the storage closet.

Sock Snowman and Creatures

sock guy

Source: Evil Erin/Flickr

Frosty is still alive and well. I’m convinced. Even if he is made out of dad’s old socks. This craft is amazing because it takes an item—an old sock—that rarely seems useful and certainly laugh-inducing then makes something magical and magically simple out of it. Sock snowmen are doable for the kiddos, and they look professionally done.

The North Pole

north pole

Source: William John/Flickr

What wonderment the North Pole created for me! The thought of that village of toys and elves buried in snow was just jaw-dropping. I would have loved to create my own North Pole Christmas village. Who knew it was as simple as toilet paper rolls (the ubiquitous craft material) and some construction paper, newspaper, and wrapping paper scraps?

Christmas Cards

Christmas card

Source: Lauren Manning/Flickr

Don’t go buy new Christmas cards! Save the trees. Save the money. Get the kids to do it. Seriously, they’d be excited to do it, friends and family would probably appreciate the repurposed Christmas cards more and no extra resources are wasted in the process. Challenge your crew to use only upcycled materials.

Toy Wreaths

toy wreath

Source: Peapod Labs/Flickr

As kids grow older, they inevitably abandon toys. Tiny trinkets that once induced supermarket tantrums become distant memories. Well, toy wreaths are a great way to clean out the bottom of the old toy box. Plus, they just look amazing, and creating them will create a great cycle of memories.

Ornaments for Gifts

Why not take this opportunity to give some handmade Christmas ornaments as gifts? There are so many options for upcycled ornaments, but not all of them require mom and dad to drink multiple bottles of fruit wine, and champagne. It’s a win-wine situation. Corks are super versatile for making toy soldiers, snowmen, reindeer, and other wine cork ornaments.

Christmas Trees

ornament tree

Source: John Morgan/Flickr

Christmas trees are such a good time, whether you are decorating the big one—you know, where the presents go—or making crafty ones. Inevitably, old magazines accumulate in our lives, and when you finally admit you won’t be reading the such and such article, this magazine Christmas tree is a great thing to finally do with them.


If you are doing recycled art, plastic bottles have to slip into the mix somewhere. On this Christmas list, that comes in the form of a penguin, and it would make a wicked gift for a family member (who will be wowed). Make them out of paper, or check out these awesome pet bottle penguins.

Snow Globe


Source: N1NJ4/Flickr

Oh, what fun it is to shake up a snow globe and watch a winter wonderland come to life. Well, it’s probably even more fun when you’ve gone DIY on the project, utilized some recyclable materials, and created a plastic bottle Christmas snow globe.

Christmas Games

How wonderful to make a craft that will keep the kids entertained both during the construction and after it!  All you need is ten old cans, some Christmas shapes, and a ball, and you’ve got Christmas bowling cans for hours of tolerably noisy entertainment. Or make felt Christmas games to inspire creativity even further.

Wrapping Paper

wrapped gift

Source: Ben Dalton/Flickr

Of course, this is not a new idea, but it doesn’t mean the old newspaper for wrapping paper trick has to come off looking lazy and cheap. Rather than just having the headlines out there to read, let the kids take a few more minutes to decorate the wrapping paper with their artwork.

Ornaments Again!

It takes a lot of danglies to get the Christmas tree cover, so why not make a few? These are fantastic ways to do something worthwhile with old burnt-out light bulbs. And light bulb ornaments can run the Christmas gamut of characters, including Rudolph and Frosty The Snowman.

When all else fails, there are always Christmas recipes to make into food gifts, which always please kids and adults alike. Remember that this season you can help out the environment in more ways than just recycling those pretty bows- you can also make gifts that make use of old things and prevent wasting money and paper on things soon forgotten.

Do you make your own Christmas crafts?

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