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Do It Yourself Christmas Decorations
Homemade and Inexpensive Decorations
Christmas can be a costly time for most. Presents and food mean spending a fortune, especially for big family celebrations.
The first thing I buy each year is a real Christmas tree. This year I actually bought two as I will be entertaining. But two trees mean double the decorations, so I can either make my existing ones stretch, or spend even more money.
A nicer alternative is to make Christmas decorations. Doing it yourself adds a personal touch and fun for the children to get involved. Here are some ways to go all Victorian at Christmas.
Gingerbread is wonderful at Christmas time. It looks traditional whist giving off a spiced aroma. It is also really easy to make and gives you an option to make many things.
Gingerbread men, women, stars and trees can be cut out using shape cutters. By making the gingerbread you can create your own edible tree decorations.
How to Make Gingerbread
- 12 oz / 350 g plain flour
- 6 oz / 175 g light brown sugar
- 4 oz / 100 g unsalted butter
- 1 medium egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (for an extra Christmas smell)
- Add the flour and sugar to a bowl and rub in the butter, until it represents breadcrumbs.
- Add the ginger and cinnamon.
- Stir in the syrup and egg and combine the mixture to a soft dough. Add a sprinkling of flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Then your gingerbread is ready to roll out on a floured surface.
- Cut out your desired shapes and place on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for around 10 minutes, or until golden.
- When still soft, make a hole at the top of each shape using a skewer, so that a ribbon can be threaded through.
Gingerbread cools really quickly, so as your decorations are cooling on a wire rack, make some royal icing to add to them.
Simply place 2 egg whites in a bowl and whisk using an electric whisk.
Whilst still whisking, gradually add sifted icing sugar. Keep on adding until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Your royal icing can be flavoured if you wish (using lemon or almond essence) and coloured with food colouring.
If you want a few different colours, simply separate some of the icing into bowls and add a different colour to each.
- How to Make a Gingerbread Christmas Village
Do you want to know how to make a gingerbread house and put a village together? Gingerbread is simple to make and you can make your own village. Decorate as you like and it is perfect for Christmas!
Making the Gingerbread Decorations
Using a piping bag, pipe on icing however you wish. Make buttons for your gingerbread men or different colours on your other shapes.
However, if you do use different coloured icing, be sure to wash out your piping bag before you change your icing!
Whilst the icing is still soft, add silver edible balls, edible glitter or other cake decorations.
Allow your icing to set before threading a ribbon through the hole at the top and hanging on the tree.
If you wish to make more decorations, simply double the gingerbread and royal icing recipe.
Paper chains are so simple, but very Victorian and traditional. Queen Victoria embraced Christmas as a family celebration, decorating the home and tree with homemade crafts.
Paper chains can be made easily using any paper or card you wish. You can make them classic and simple with coloured sugar paper, or modern with metallic material.
How to Make Paper Chains
Simply cut strips of paper around 3 cm thick and 20 cm long (depending on the size you want).
Dab a small amount of glue along the short edge of one side of the strip. Make a ring and stick the other side together.
Loop your next strip around the first ring, gluing one edge and sticking to make the next ring.
continue to make your chain.
For card or metallic chains, secure with sellotape along the inside of the loop so it won't undo.
Decorate your fireplace, ceiling, mirrors or tree with your classic paper chains!
This one is fun for the children to do.
By folding a circle of white paper (use a dinner plate to cut around) and folding it several times, you can cut shapes to create a snowflake.
The snowflake can then either be used as a decoration itself, or as a stencil. Simply secure to a window with some sticky tape and spray snow spray over the top. Lift gently to reveal a snowy pattern on the window!
Use several designs and sizes to create the look of snowfall as you look to the window.
You can also cut out other shapes from paper or card and spray them onto the window. I made a snowman and holly.
Lanterns are cute at Christmas time. They remind me of my school days, when I would bring home paper lanterns at the end of the school term.
How to Make Paper Lanterns
Using a piece of A4 paper (with a design of your choice) or coloured card, cut a strip along the short side around 3 cm thick. Put this aside as it will be the handle.
Fold the paper in half length ways. Draw a faint line using a ruler around 4 cm from the top of the longest side, at the opposite end to the fold.
Next cut strips from the fold up to the line. Ensure they are equal in size (around 2 1/2 cm) and straight.
Unfold the paper and make a tube. The fold should stick outwards. Secure with sticky tape or glue and secure the handle at the top.
Make your lanterns any size in any colour, and decorate your home as you wish!