Senior Christmas Crafts and Decorations To Spark Joy This Season

The smell of fresh-baked cookies wafting from the oven while Christmas music plays in the background. Festive stores filled with stocking stuffers and gifts of all sizes. Holiday traditions, and time with loved ones. The holidays can indeed be a joyous time of the year. 

And one of the best parts? Decorating! ‘Tis the season to deck the halls with wreaths and garlands and display your favorite holiday mementos.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, decorating your home or senior living apartment is a fun and festive way to get into the Christmas spirit. Here are some decorating and craft ideas that are sure to make your season more merry and bright.

Easy decorating and craft ideas for seniors

Display your holiday cards

Do you receive lots of holiday cards from friends and family? Don’t just let them stack up in a corner of the house. Get creative and use these festive and colorful cards as decorations. 

Glue or tape the cards to a piece of red, green, gold or silver ribbon and hang them on a wall or door frame. Or, find a dedicated spot to tape cards to a wall with decorative washi tape. You can even just let the cards take over your refrigerador door for a few weeks. However you decorate with your holiday cards, you’ll be better able to enjoy the cards if they’re on display, and so will your visitors.

Each card can serve as a daily reminder throughout the holiday season of the love and affection of your family and friends. 

Homemade tree ornaments

elderly woman smiles while holding her two homemade Christmas ornaments

The options are endless when it comes to creating your own ornaments. And there’s something special about sharing homemade ornaments with family and friends. In fact, these are often the treasured mementos that bring a smile each year when the holiday decorations come out.

A simple idea that creates a unique and colorful ornament is to squeeze a small amount of acrylic craft paint inside a clear ornament. You’ll need to remove the ornament cap first. Once the paint is inside the ornament, you cover the top and shake it.This creates dreamy swirls of your favorite colors in the elegant glass orb. You can also fill clear ornaments with glitter, ribbon or other small embellishments. There is no end to the possibilities, and each ornament will be one-of-a-kind.

Felt ornaments are also a popular craft. Cut out holiday-themed shapes, like presents, Christmas trees or Santa hats. Silver, blue or white felt is also great for cutting out snowflakes that can be hung on your walls and windows. You’ll need a sharp pair of scissors for clean-cut edges on the felt. A strong tacky glue or hot glue gun will work well if your felt ornament has layers, such as ribbons on a present or decorations on the Christmas tree. Just be careful if you’re using a hot glue gun not to burn yourself, and be sure to unplug the glue gun when you’re finished.

Put excess wrapping paper to use

If you have a box of extra wrapping paper in storage, it can be used for much more than just wrapping gifts!

Old boxes can be wrapped and sprinkled with fake snow to create simple decor that can be used year after year. You can buy fake snow that is already ready to use, or you can make it yourself by kneading together baking soda and shaving cream. A spray adhesive will help get the snow to stick to the wrapping paper.

If you want to take it up a notch, cover your front door or a small wall space in wrapping paper. You can add bows, ribbons and other decorations on top. Attaching LED fairy lights that use battery packs can add an extra special touch that looks almost magical.

Invite your neighbors or grandkids over to help turn your space into a festive winter wonderland. It can be the perfect opportunity for socializing with others, which can help chase away any “winter blues” and put you in the holiday spirit. 

Make a Christmas wreath

senior woman smiles while holding her homemade Christmas wreath

A wreath-decorating craft night is another great way to have fun with friends and family. 

For this craft, you will need plain wreaths, a hot glue gun and any wreath decorations you want to add, such as bows, ribbons, ornaments, pine cones, candy canes and bells. Or, you can keep it simple by using only colored ribbon and wrapping the wreath with it. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring craft supplies with them to help contribute to the project. The more supplies you have to work with, the more creative you can be with your wreath.

If you’re a “from scratch” kind of crafter, find a white styrofoam wreath at your local craft store to use as your base. You can wrap it with garland and adorn it with your favorite holiday accessories. This is another craft where you can use battery-operated holiday lights to add a bit of sparkle and shine.

Create garland decor

Artfully designing a homemade garland is a fun and easy activity for everyone, especially seniors. A garland can be hung on your front door, strung on your tree or set out as a table decoration.

You can create a fun and colorful garland using colored pasta. For this craft, you will need a sturdy type of pasta such as rigatoni or cellentani. You can create an easy dye at home with rubbing alcohol and food coloring. We suggest using a ziplock bag to coat the pasta in dye, and making sure the dye is completely dry before stringing the pasta to make your garland. 

As an alternative, you could also use bowtie noodles – dyed or not – and paint them with glue, and then sprinkle them with gold or red glitter. This creates very festive holiday bows for your garland. You then use glue to attach your bowtie noodles to a string or ribbon. 

Instead of pasta, you can also create garlands out of popcorn, candy canes or marshmallows. You can dye marshmallows by dipping them for a few seconds in bowls of food coloring diluted with water. Maybe you could even make glitter marshmallows for your garland!

Gratitude decorations

What if every ornament on your Christmas tree this year represented something you’re grateful for? That’s the idea behind this Christmas craft. Many people use a miniature tree for this, and adorn it with paper ornaments that each represent gratitude.

A small tree, construction paper and ribbon is all you need. You create ornaments by cutting the construction paper into the desired shapes. Write down the reasons you have to be thankful on each of the ornaments you make, and hang them on the tree.

You can add ornaments to the tree all at once, or gradually throughout the season. You can also invite your friends, neighbors and loved ones to add their own ornaments to the tree. 

This can be a great crafting activity to do with grandkids since it’s fun and easy. It’s also a good way to keep everyone focused on what they have to be grateful for this holiday season. 

Happy crafting!

There’s no shortage of activities you can do to get in the holiday spirit this year. These were just a few ideas for Christmas crafts and decorations, but your imagination is really the limit. Whether you go all-out with homemade decorations or just make one simple craft, why not make time this year for some Christmas crafting? 

If you need help with more crafting ideas, or have a great craft idea to share, reach out to the activities director at your Sonida Senior Living Community. Here at Sonida, we are always working to make sure there are lots of activities you can join in with your friends and neighbors. If you’re not a resident, see what we’re all about: Find a senior living community near you.

When it comes to crafting, it matters more that you’re having fun than what the final product looks like. But who knows? Maybe this holiday season, you’ll create something you can treasure for years to come!

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Affectionate adult daughter embracing her mature mother on Christmas day at home.
Affectionate adult daughter embracing her mature mother on Christmas day at home.

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