Christmas Ornament Crafts Revisited

It’s been quite some time since I last shared the ornament crafts we’ve done over the years, so I thought I’d update the list. In 10 years of homeschooling at Christmastime, we’ve made 16 different ornaments, and a few of those have had different variations, as well. Many of the ornaments have come from kits, but some of those are easily reproducible with the right materials.

2017–This year, we made bead and button icicle ornaments in both red & green and blue color schemes:

2016–I finally found a Nutcracker Prince ornament kit, which involved painting…a first for us at Christmas!

2015–Mop-n-Glo glitter ornaments in two different shapes!

2014–Clothespin donkeys:

2013–Spiderweb ornaments to go along with the legend of the tinsel:

2012–Jingle bell wreaths, and our one true ornament failure. I should have known better than to try to make paper ball ornaments, because I was also a failure at them when I was a student, but we tried, we made the best of our mistakes, and we made a memory!

2011–Button wreaths and pipe cleaner starbursts:

2010–Crystal snowflakes and spiral trees:

2009–To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what ornament we made this year…but I think it was probably these snowflakes:

2008–Our first year of homeschooling meant making the two simplest ornaments I knew how…beaded wreaths and candy canes:

And then there are the final two ornaments. I can’t remember what year we made either of them, but I know the penguins were part of a kit from Target…I normally avoid craft foam projects, but these were too cute to pass up! At some point, we also made Nutcracker Princes that were printed, colored, cut out, laminated, and attached at the joints with brads:

Other than hand-and-footprint turkeys, Christmas ornaments are my favorite craft project of the year. I especially love that they are something that we not only keep, but also get out again year after year to hang on our tree…and someday, the children will be able to add them to their own Christmas trees!

Christmas School–The Nutcracker

No school for us this week, because we’re on Christmas vacation, but I thought I’d share some ideas for using the Nutcracker in school or at home. In the last 10 years, we’ve done anything from a “Nutcracker Day” to stretching our studies out over a full week. In that time, we’ve learned the story of the Nutcracker, listened through the entire score, compared and contrasted many different productions, seen a live performance, learned a bit about Tchaikovsky, made some fun crafts, and read about how the Nutcracker came to be a Christmas tradition in America. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas School!

Nutcracker Stories (It’s up to you whether you choose to teach the story before introducing the ballet. I think there can be value in both approaches, because being unfamiliar with the story before seeing the dance can really encourage students to “read” the ballet, but knowing the story first prepares children and lets to know them what to expect.)

Other Nutcracker Books

Music

Ballet Productions (Of course, seeing the ballet live is the best option, and we’ve been fortunate enough to get to do that twice. But since it’s not always an option, I also like watching recordings of various productions, which also provides a great opportunity for comparing and contrasting how different companies interpret the story differently)

Crafts

  • Nutcracker Prince–We done two different ornaments of the Nutcracker Prince over the years…one made of laminated paper and jointed, and one from a kit, which gave us a chance to paint our own.
  • Waltz of the Snowflakes–Snowflake crafts are so much fun, whether you’re making paper snowflakes or ornaments!
  • The Land of Sweets–We haven’t done this craft yet, but you could do all kinds of fun candy and treat themed crafts to go along with the Nutcracker Prince’s magical kingdom.

What kinds of fun Nutcracker activities do you like to do?

Sartorial Saturday–Ornamented

I tried to resist, but I guess there was really no doubt that I was going to buy the new Pinup Girl Clothing Bella skirt in ornament print. Just look at it…it’s gorgeous in its mid-century fabulousness!

Accessories were no problem, and I didn’t even have to buy anything new (although, if I ever found a brooch that matched one of the ornaments, I’m sure I’d add it to my collection!). My Splendette stack includes some beautiful glitter bangles in red and green, and I even have a matching red necklace. Of course I’m always looking for a reason to wear my favorite brooch, which is the perfect touch to finish off the outfit!

For a touch of whimsy, the Christmas lights necklace Ryan bought for me last weekend is a nice addition, too!

This is definitely my favorite Christmas-themed piece of clothing. I love the print on the skirt I purchased from The Oblong Box Shop last year, but the fit isn’t awesome, and I don’t love the material it’s made of. This skirt, however, check all the boxes, and I adore it!

This might be an over-the-top look for some people, but as the Christmas Queen, I think it’s just right! I’m looking forward to pairing it with some other tops throughout the month, including solid red, and both pink & white and red & white stripes! I’ll be looking festive all Christmas long!

2015-16 School Year–Week Thirteen

This was a pretty light week of school. I decided not to start anything new in math, so our main focus this week was language arts…spelling, vocabulary, grammar, writing, and reading. We also did a little science. We watched several productions of the Nutcracker, as always, as well as The Seasoned Traveler: Christmas Markets and Rick Steves’ European Christmas. We also continued our annual read-through of A Christmas Carol…We still have to read the last chapter, but we got through more than I was expecting after having been sick last week!

As always, we made Christmas ornaments this week. This year, we finally made the floor wax/glitter ornaments that I’ve been looking forward to making. They’re so beautiful…I love the way they look in the lights from the Christmas tree!

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This year, for Christmas Around the World, we learned about Christmas in Poland. We read a fun book, Marta and the Manger Straw. We also had a Polish meal…kielbasa, homemade pierogis, sauerkraut, and kolache cookies for dessert. It was a very popular meal!

We still have a few things to wrap up next week (finishing A Christmas Carol, another craft, and maybe learning about Christmas in one more country), but other than that, we’re done until 2016. Merry Christmas!

Charleston Memories

On one of the hottest days of the summer, we spent an uncomfortably sweaty, yet fun, afternoon walking around historic Charleston. Even though Christmas was far from our minds, we stopped in the Charleston City Market to buy an ornament for our Christmas tree to commemorate our visit to the Holy City, and our first ever family vacation:

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Now we’re approaching winter in the midwest, with nary a palm tree to be seen, but we have a beautiful memory of them, and our trip, sparkling on our Christmas tree!