Wednesday, December 20

Custom Keepsake Ornament Hack

Every Christmas we love to give each of our kids a new Christmas ornament to commemorate something from the year - a favorite toy, favorite activity, funny memory, etc. It's so fun to pull them out every year to reminisce! I know a lot of families enjoy a similar tradition, but today I wanted to share a simple little twist that can save time and money as you hunt down your own special ornaments.

So what's the twist? It's just this: you can make your own one-of-a-kind ornaments for next to nothing! Rather than trying to hunt down a mass-produced, overpriced keepsake, let me show you a few shortcuts to try first. You'll probably need a few simple supplies like eye hooks, ribbon, and glue depending on the ornament you are making. 

To begin making your own custom ornaments, start by deciding what you want to commemorate for your child this year. Maybe it's their love of trains, their favorite animal, or a favorite book. Then start thinking creatively about how you can turn that into an ornament. One of my best tips is that if your child has a favorite toy... just use that toy (or a duplicate of it) as the ornament! 
  • The year my son was really into wooden train tracks, we just screwed an eye hook into the side of a small train track piece. 
  • When he loved Hedwig from Harry Potter, I found a toy owl at Michaels for a couple dollars and added an eye hook and ribbon. 
  • The year one of them loved wolves, I did the same thing with a small wolf toy.
  • But I think my favorite ornament of all is that little green wooden block at the end of the line. It is from when my first born was a toddler and he always pulled these green blocks out of the block bin and carried them everywhere. We called them his "pickles." And we never wanted to forget it so we turned one of them into an ornament that Christmas (and wrote on the back with a sharpie that he called it his pickle so we wouldn't forget). That was the first year we made a custom ornament, and we've never looked back. 

All these ornaments were made by adding an eye hook to a toy!

The year one of them loved the Paper Mario game I mixed things up a little bit and printed a picture of paper Mario that I mod podged onto a plain wooden ornament from the craft store:

And when one of them loved trucks, I just bought a $1 matchbox truck and ran a red ribbon through the windows:

This one from last year took a little more work but it's one of my absolute favorites. My four-year-old loved making forts with our nugget couch, so I bought little wood blocks, painted them, and glued them together into a nugget fort shape. (I bought 1" wood squares on etsy):

If you're feeling especially creative (or having trouble finding just the right thing for an ornament) felt is really easy to work with and a great option for all kinds of ornaments! One year I made a little fuzzy sloth, and another year I made a tent and campfire:

I saved my favorite for last. The ornaments I look forward to most every year are our book ornaments. I started a few years ago when I turned one of our favorite family read-alouds into an ornament:

Now the tradition has grown and I also let each of the boys choose a favorite book for an ornament of their own each year. Here are a few from two years ago:
The Cook and The King, How to Train Your Dragon, and Harry Potter

This one is definitely a labor of love (and I'm definitely not an artist) but it's such a sweet tradition that I hope to keep up for years to come. I'm going to make a more in depth post one of these days about how I make them, but you can find wooden books on etsy (I got the large size) if you can't wait to get started. 

You can check out more of my holiday posts and DIY decor here!

I'd love to hear what tradition your family looks forward to every year!

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