Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Christmas! Fun Facts & Last Minute Crafts

Christmas is traditionally a very "crafty" month, but it's also one of the busiest and I have to admit that I have actually bought Christmas ornaments, ready made decorations and cookies......  For some reason it makes me feel really guilty, but I'd rather be stress free to enjoy the fun than overwhelmed with SO much to do, because when all said and done, it's still my favourite time of year.

Did you know that Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas in Great Britain back in the 17th century? The ban didn't last long and neither did he.  People love a reason to celebrate, whatever the occasion.  The Christmas season officially stretches from December 25th thru January 6th, which is known in England as Twelfth Night.  This is the day we take down all our Christmas decorations.  Celebrations however, can start as early as the first Sunday in Advent and are as varied as the countries that celebrate them.  Father Christmas has been the traditional Christmas figure in England since the 15th century whereas the American Santa Claus is based on the Dutch St. Nicholas from the 4th century.  In some European countries, St. Nicholas still fills the children's shoes with gifts on December 6th instead of the 25th.  Here in the US we start to decorate Christmas soon after Thanksgiving, but in Germany the Krist Kind (Christ Child) decorates the tree on Christmas Eve - that's one very organized guy.  After he's finished he rings a bell and the children rush into the room.  Traditions also vary not just from country to country, but also from area to area within a country!  In England, Father Christmas is treated to a glass of sherry and a mince pie in appreciation for bringing presents - that's probably why he's so jolly and has a red nose...LOL, whereas the American Santa only gets milk and cookies - bah humbug....

Since we've always been a "crafty" family, we still make a lot of our own ornaments for the tree.  The very first Christmas tree after our daughter was born was covered in Raggedy Ann and Andys made from bread & salt dough and painted with bright colors.  We also added garlands of popcorn, which lasted quite a few years.  My favorite ornaments (I still make them) are the ones we make from wax.

I melt leftover candles in a double boiler.  While the wax is melting, I place an assortment of plastic cookie cutters onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  Using a metal ladle, I gently fill each cookie cutter with wax - about 3/8" deep.  Once the wax has hardened, the cookies will easily pop away from the sides.  Don't worry if some of them crack, or break, just pop the pieces back in the double boiler and melt again!  To add a hanger, thread silver or gold thread onto a tapestry needle.  Heat the tip of the needle in a candle flame, then push gently through the top of the ornament.   Cut the thread then knot the ends together.  Candy molds are also great for making ornaments (see the angel).  Allow the wax to set (you can place in the freezer for a few minutes) then tap the mold sharply to release the shape.  Ta dah - they're finished!  Doesn't it feel great to recyle AND be crafty at the same time.....

Please note, this is an adult craft and not recommended for young children.

Here's another one for you.  

These little gift boxes were made from old cards.  The front of the card is the top of the box and the back of the card is the bottom, with the verse inside.  Score a line all the way around the card about 1" from the edge.  (Both pieces.)  Make sure the lines go from edge to edge so they cross at each corner.  Cut along one scored line from the outside edge to the point where the lines cross at each corner to create a tab.  Fold the sides inwards.  Glue the tabs in place to create the box shape.  

Embellish with ribbon, jewels, charms - anything at all!  Now you can make a set of wax ornaments then place them in a gift box for a great gift!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now......

Yours truly,
Julie :)


  1. Cute ornaments and GREAT idea for the card boxes!

  2. Great ideas :) I love the card upcycle project - I will need to do this!! Happy Holidays, Julie! Hope to see you at Winter CHA (I'll be with Spellbinders)!

  3. Hi Julie!
    Now I know why I have saved my old candles forever! I look in my cupboards and see all these candles I have saved that are too burned down or ugly to use anymore and just can't throw them away. Lol.
    Those little boxes are a favourite at my house too. If you can't bear to cut up your old Christmas cards...the Dollar Tree always has boxes of really cute cards that make great gift boxes too. I hope to see you in January! I miss you girls! Merry Christmas, friend!