Simple Christmas Crafts
for Seniors and Elderly

coconut haystack trees

Welcome to our page about simple Christmas crafts for seniors and elderly (fun to do with kids too)! The craft supplies we use are inexpensive and easy to get, including at craft stores.

Be sure to also see more Christmas crafts by following the link to our special page all about pinecone crafts - You'll find ideas for both fall and winter. Change out the decor for different seasons and holidays.


Our Simple Christmas Crafts

Cookie Cutter Decoration

These simple Christmas crafts can be made from any holiday cookie cutter shape, and filled with whatever décor you like. They can be used for hanging, or as part of a centerpiece.

Materials:
Colorful holiday cookie cutter (i.e. a tree)
Glue gun or strong craft glue
Small decorative items to stuff into cookie cutter
Decorative ribbon (I used wired ribbon)
Nylon thread of fishing line for hanging

I used a length of wired artificial pine greens, and bent and wrapped in and around the cookie cutter, gluing it in several areas. Then glue in small decorative items such as pine cones, berries, mini ornaments, stars, etc. Keep it simple.

Lastly, tie a bow with a length of ribbon and glue it onto the cookie cutter. I like wired ribbon because you can shape the ends. Let the glue dry thoroughly. Very simple.


Cardinal Collage

All kinds of collages can be included in simple Christmas crafts. The template and instructions for this one are on on January Senior Activities page, but it's also perfect for December holidays. And you could use another bird instead.

As seen, the materials include fabric (or colored paper) for the background, black marker, burlap (or just paper) for the bird, and paint or cotton for snow. The branch could also be a real twig rather than marker.

Lacy Snowlady

Styrofoam balls are great for all sorts of simple Christmas crafts. This little lady sits on the table. But if you glue the parts securely and insert a nylon thread hanger into the top of the head, she can also hang.

Materials:
Styrofoam ball, medium
Large square of lace fabric to cover ball & gather at top
2 craft googly eyes
Orange paper triangle
Mini cupcake or candy paper, for collar
Small bottle lid
1 striped plastic straws for legs, cut in half
2 red pompoms, small
Black 3D squirt paint
Ribbon, strand of beads, or garland for neck
Plastic bag twisty, or ribbon
Bundle of curly white ribbon
Accents for hair/head
Straight pins
Glue gun or strong craft glue
Scissors

Cut a square of lace fabric large enough to wrap around your styro ball and gather at the top. Secure at the top with a twisty or length of white ribbon. Let the gathered top of the lace cascade down, forming a sort of hat.

Attach a bundle of curled ribbon on top of the lace with straight pins, as hair. Also pin in or glue decorations like feathers, beads, artificial greens. Glue on googly eyes. Cut a orange paper triangle, and fold over a tab at the wide end. Put a dab of glue on the tab, and attach to face.

With black 3D paint, make some dots for the mouth. Glue the head into the mini cupcake/candy paper collar. Glue that into the small bottle lid. Glue on straw legs (1 straw cut in half is a good length). Glue on red pompom feet. Arrange and glue on the bead or garland “necklace.” Let all the glue dry well before moving.

See more snowman ideas on our special snowman crafts page, like the samples below.


Coconut Haystack Trees

Simple Christmas crafts also include food fun! Learn to make these festive coconut haystack trees with colored white chocolate, on our food activities page - just follow the steps and then mold it with your fingers into a tree shape. You can also add a little peppermint extract flavoring for extra zest!


Candy Wreath

Although wreaths are simple Christmas crafts, and you can use them for other holidays too -- changing out the colors -- i.e.; Halloween, 4th of July, Valentine's Day. A candy wreath can also be done with a small group of 2 to 3 people together.

NOTE: This is easiest made with plastic candies from a craft or dollar store!

Otherwise, you can get a bag of candy inexpensively at a dollar store, or have people bring some from home and share.

With real candy...To help preserve real candy, it's coated with both spray varnish to first set it, and then a couple coats of craft water-base varnish. Use a strong glue to attach the candy onto a styrofoam wreath. A glue gun might melt some candies.

This does take drying time, so the two coats of finishing varnish will need to be done on two separate days. The results are worth the extra effort! (And although real candy lasts for a long time - often months - it most likely will not last "forever.")

Materials:
Small Styrofoam wreath (colored is ideal)
...OR spray paint to paint it, or leave it white
Water container
Rag
Newspapers to cover surface
Plastic candies
...OR variety of hard candies
Tacky craft glue
If using real candy:
Spray water-base varnish to set it
Water-base craft varnish for final coating

If you need to paint the wreath, do that first, with spray paint or acrylics, then dry. Then glue on the candies randomly, both large and small pieces, whichever way you want to.

If you varnish... If you used real candy, when the glue is dry, spray on a coat of water-base varnish. Dry thoroughly.  I used spray-on varnish first to coat the candy. Then when painting on the liquid varnish, the colors of the candy do not bleed as much – such as the peppermints. That can sometimes happen, but it is very slight and still looks fine. If you carefully dab the varnish onto the candy, any bleeding will be minimal.

Get varnish into all the cracks around the candies to doubly secure them in place. Use two coats of varnish, each coat drying at lease 24 hours between. After 24 hours it may still feel a little sticky, but can be handled to put on a bow if desired. Eventually the sticky feeling will dry out.

The wreath can also be laid flat and used as a candle ring instead. I actually recommend a flameless candle (not shown here).


Mitten Ornament or Door Hanger

These simple Christmas crafts are especially cute when made with home-knitted mittens! You can also get used ones at thrift stores and garage sales.

Just decorate a mitten in whatever way you wish, such as weaving a thin ribbon in and out into the yarn at the wrist, then attaching a rose or holiday novelty item. Perhaps add a sprig of real or artificial pine bough behind it, and/or red berries. Then hang with a ribbon or hook.

If you're going to use it as a door hanger,  I suggest first bundling a bunch of foliage, berries on stalks, etc. Twisty-tie them together, then cover that with holiday ribbon. Perhaps create long trailing ends on the ribbon that hang down. Attach the mitten and any other novelty items you like. Then hang.

snowflake ornament craft

Snowflake Ornament

Some of the most simple Christmas crafts are ornaments. This snowflake design is very easy (see the template below). You can also use other designs instead, such as a basic snowman or Santa face. (See some ideas further below).

Either paint the snowflake with acrylics; or the easiest way is to use a white opaque marker.

Materials:
Ornament ball
White fine-tip opaque marker
If you are painting...
Acrylic paint: white and light blue
Plastic picnic plate for a palette, as needed
Water base craft varnish
Small pointed brush
Wider brush to apply varnish (I like flat)
Small square cut from a sponge, about 1” square
Water container, rag
Piece of paper

The easy way - Use a white marker, available at craft stores. See snowflake template below to help with the snowflake pattern. You can make them as fancy or easy as you like. I suggest one large snowflake, with a few small ones surrounding it.

OR for painting -  First I made a swirl of “snow” in the background. This step is  optional. Take the small piece of sponge, dab it in light blue paint, and then remove the excess by “patting” it on a piece of paper.

When the excess is removed, lightly “pat” the painty sponge onto the ornament - in a swirl design from top to bottom. The sponge texture gives it a "flaky" airy look like snow. Let the paint dry. Then take the pointed brush and paint on the snowflake design with white acrylics.

Varnish - When everything is dry, I recommend a coat or two of water base craft varnish, to protect the design and keep it from peeling off. Follow the directions on the bottle. Hang it to dry, or stand it in the cap of a small bottle. Then it's ready to hang.

Below are 2 snowflake patterns; one is a more detailed example. Make them as fancy as you want.

snowflake template for winter crafts

Patriotic Ornament

If you'd like a patriotic ornament idea, just follow the link to a different page and learn how to make this.

(There are many projects you can modify with a little imagination, to use for other seasons and holidays).


Elf and Santa Crafts

Our elves and Santas are whimsical, simple Christmas crafts - and we have several. Here are just three of them. There are a variety of others as well. You can use them as gifts, for decorations, in centerpieces, for give-aways, etc. Re-use many of the items you already have around. Visit our page about Christmas Elf and Santa Crafts, and see them all!

Mini Christmas Boxes

Any kind of tiny box, or even blocks, can be used for these very simple Christmas crafts. You can get old toy blocks from thrift stores and garage sales, or people you know. Wrap and ribbon the little boxes in a variety of papers and colors. They look really cute in a varied group.

The boxes can be hung from the ceiling mobile style, attached to garlands and wreaths, hung on trees, or used in centerpieces. Or write names on them and they become place savers at a table.

If you’re using real boxes, of course a tiny gift can be included inside. And candy. These are also fun to attach to presents as a little extra.

Easy Fleece Blanket

A cozy fleece blanket is always appreciated, whether for a child or older senior. And although these are really simple Christmas crafts to make, they do take some finger dexterity (or extra help).

They're perfect for oneself, to give as a gift, and also for charity projects, such as the sick, church member, or group member. Use them at raffles and silent auctions. Get all the instructions (including what to do with the corners) at making fleece blankets.


Paint A Festive Window

Painting on glass can provide all sorts of ideas for simple Christmas crafts, and a favorite is painting on an old window, or mirror. (See our page on how to paint glass for lots more tips).

Another option is painting on the glass of an empty picture frame. You could even have some subtle paper (i.e. wrapping paper) or cloth behind the glass as an enhancement to the background, and to make it more opaque so the painting stands out. There are many kinds of glass paint, and some of them are more opaque and provide thicker coverage.

Materials:
Old window, mirror, or picture frame with glass
Acrylic paint colors, depending on your design
   (I used white, medium blue, dark green, brown, red, black)
3-D squirt paint, white (optional)
Permanent fine-tip black marker (for lines)
Several paint brush sizes, both flat and round
Water container, rags
Plastic picnic plate or palette
Small square cut from sponge, about 1”
Water base craft varnish

First, draw your design on the window. (More template ideas useful for painting on windows on our craft templates page.) Trace it by putting your design under the glass. I used the black marker to make lines. You can use the template below for a basic idea.

cottage template for crafts

Base coats - Paint an undercoat of snow with the sponge, by dabbing the sponge in paint, dabbing off the excess, and then sponging the paint onto the glass.

I used 2 layers for the snow: sponging on first blue, then white over it, letting the blue show through a little. Then sponge on blue for a little sky around the cottage area. Brown for the road. And green for the tree shapes and front bushes.

(You can paint on any of this with a brush instead of sponging. The sponging is fast and provides a quick base that helps the other layers of paint look more opaque instead of streaky on the glass). Let your base coats dry.

Details - Paint on the next layer of details with a brush...
White strokes with a flat brush to make “boards” on the house. Red for the door, chimney and window boxes. Green swooshes for tree branches. Dry. Apply another coat where necessary.

Lastly - I added touches of snow to the roof top, on the tree branches, and on the tops of the bushes, using a standard round-tip paint brush. Or sponge paint on snow with the edge of the sponge.

If you want a more 3-D look, you could use squirt 3-D squirt paint directly onto those areas (rather than using a brush).

Do whatever touch-ups you need until it’s finished.
When dry, apply a coat or two of water base craft varnish to keep it from peeling, if you'd like.


Holiday Centerpiece

easy centerpiece Christmas craft

Making simple Christmas crafts can also include centerpieces, and here’s a really easy one. Add anything else to it that you like. I had all of these items already, others are from the thrift store.

Materials:
Jar or vase
Variety of ornaments (sizes and colors)
Fresh or artificial greens
String of beads
Gold curly reeds
Paper clip or hook to hang an ornament on the side

You can also arrange this on a platter so it's portable. First place several inches of the string of beads into the bottom of the jar, and let the rest drape over one side. Fill the jar with a variety of ornaments. (This will also help keep the beads in place). I put the large ball on top, for interest.

Stick a few pieces of greenery into the back of the arrangement, and also along the bottom in the back. Insert a few curly reeds. Then hang a small ornament from the other side opposite the beads, with a paper clip. Also see many more affordable centerpieces.

Make An Angel

Angels are classic and simple Christmas crafts that you can use yourself or give away as a gift. We have quite a few ideas, including the wooden angel ornament on the right.

There are others that can be used in centerpieces or to just stand on a mantle or hutch. See the various projects at Fun and Fabulous Craft Angels.

Make Marizpan

You probably have, at some point in your life, eaten delicious marzipan candy (it often comes in the shape of fruit). It's traditionally made in Europe, especially at the holidays.

We've got a really good recipe for making some yourself. It makes a great project whether for a senior group, with your family, or by yourself. You can form marzipan into lots of different shapes, similar to clay. They're a fun addition to so many other simple Christmas crafts. (You can make shapes for other holidays too, like Valentine's Day, and in any color) Learn how at our marzipan recipe page.

bead candy cane Christmas craft

Beaded Candy Cane

Beading is also an excellent way of making simple Christmas crafts. In this case, a basic beaded candy cane. (Making a wreath shape is just as easy - you simply form a circle). They can be used for ornaments, included in centerpieces, wreaths and garlands, or tied with a ribbon around a napkin at the table.

Materials:
Thin craft wire
Wire cutter or appropriate scissors.
Red and white (or clear) beads; any size
Needle-nose pliers
Ribbon (optional)

Determine how long you want your candy cane (i.e., 8 inches). Add another inch or so to the measurement, for the ends. Cut a length of wire to that size. With the pliers, form a small, tight loop at the bottom of the wire so the beads won’t slide off.

Begin stringing the beads, alternating colors. My beads had a sort of flower shape, which made an interesting textured look.

String until you have about 1/3 inch of wire left on top. Use the pliers to make another tight loop to keep the beads on. Then bend the beaded wire into a cane shape. Now you can add a bow if you’d like.

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are very satisfying and simple Christmas crafts – more of an activity than a craft, really. But we will include it as a link on this page.

We give a lot of detailed ideas about themes and what to put in the baskets, plus many things they can be used for – as gifts, of course. But also for raffles, parties, prizes, and to take when visiting anyone.

And if you have a particular person in mind, we talk about planning a theme around their special interests. Read more on our page, Make A Gift Basket.

Hershey Kiss Mouse

These little Hershey Kiss mouse ornaments have almost become a tradition. They’re simple Christmas crafts for the tree, or at a table place setting. And of course they’re edible (although we keep ours from year to year for our tree).

The eyes, nose and ears are typically non-edible (such as beads). But it is possible to make the whole thing from candies, using squirt frosting in a tube as “glue” to attach everything. Get the basic directions on our Hershey Kiss mouse chocolate crafts page.

Apple Wreath

Apple wreaths are very nostalgic and simple Christmas crafts. They were a tradition in days gone by, when apple slices were naturally dried the old-fashioned way.

We give a couple different ways to make these -- by drying the apples yourself, or by using dried apple slices from the store (and guess which is easier). It depends on the approach you want. Check out the details at Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas. (And you may find a few more projects that you can modify to use for Christmas as well).

Our Craft Book!

Easy Crafts and Gifts
Get lots more simple Christmas crafts and other holiday ideas! You get over 120 projects, special tips. PLUS, it's bundled with a booklet of FREE template patterns for your projects. Two books for one!


Also see:

Holiday Treats for Seniors - Lots of whimsical food crafts included!
Winter Senior Activities - By The Month - Lots to do during any of the 3 months of winter: December, January February.
December Senior Activities - Much more than the holidays! December is packed with lots of surprises. Complete with calendar dates and special monthly commemorations.
Winter Holiday Activities for Seniors
– More activities here, besides our simple Christmas crafts page.
Perfect Party Theme Ideas – Great for holiday parties. And use some of these simple Christmas crafts for them too.


to Easy Craft Ideas



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