Christmas Cheer

Contributed by Neleisha Weerasinghe

Here’s Something for the Holidays

So we are yet again close to a wonderful time of the year, Christmas. Apart from the religious aspect there is a lot of tradition mingled with the celebration of Christ’s birth. Nowadays people of all walks of faith join in the merry making and this article looks at the decorative side of things, after all what would Christmas be without the bright lights and festive decor.

Ornaments and the tree

There are many pretty ornaments available today, some very expensive, commercial products and some simple handmade artisan creations. They have become part of the holiday spirit and adorn homes, trees, shops and everything in between during the season. But these icons have not always represented Christmas. It is said that they first came to light in Germany.  The Christmas tree of today a started long time ago with the decoration of evergreen branches to celebrate the winter solstice. It is believed these were a sign of hope for the cold, gloomy winter days. The early ornaments were far from what we see today. They consisted of nuts, candles, berries and things they could find at home. However, with migration the Viking and Celtic traditions spread to Europe thus becoming adopted by early Christians. It was in America that these ornaments became commercial materials resulting in the decorative items we see in shops today. Today these decorative ornaments and the Christmas tree has fast moved away from being a religious icon and has become a cultural item celebrated and adapted by many cultures and faiths world over.

Now that you know a bit about the history of these ornaments, let’s look at how to make some on your own. In a fast paced commercial world, I think having some of you own hand made decorative items can go a long way in making the festive season more personal. Also it’s far less costly and environmentally friendly as well.

Paper angels: for this you can use any type of discarded or old paper. If you can find music sheets it would be great as it adds a bit of class to it. What you need to do is to fold the sheet of paper so it has pleats like in an accordion. Hold down the folded pleats and tie a string at about two thirds of the way down, so it is not split exactly in half but one side being longer than the other.  On the larger side, you can either cut small patterns or even paint them. The shorter side need to be cut in half so that they make two wings. You will then need to use the same string you tied at the centre and run it through the wings and add a bead for the head and finally tie it, making sure the head and wings are in place.You can use any remaining string to make a hanging loop or add another string to make a loop.

The palette craze: why not join in the simple and classic DIY craze that involves reusing old wood. Palettes are perfect for this project but if you find any old scarps lying around at home why not make use of it to make a great holiday sign. You can even get the children involved! All you need to do is to sand the piece of wood and then either write holiday sayings or parts of Christmas Carols on them. You can even do simple paintings of holiday symbols like Santa hats or candy canes. If detail painting or lettering is not your thing, simple holiday colors will also do. You can hang them, or just leave them in your yard, making a great craft project out of it.

Recycled baubles: We may find old Christmas decor that have colors peeling or looking a little shabby, if you find some of these at home. A great way to recycle them is to either repaint them or to cut up old CD’s and paste the pieces on them. The shiny element of the CD goes really well with the season by adding that sparkling touch and you do not need to spend on getting fresh baubles for the tree.

These are a few things you can do to get the holiday spirit going, and the best part is you can get the whole family involved.

Happy decorating and happy holidays!