10 Last Minute Christmas Crafts

Need to Christmasify your decor before company arrives? Or do you need to occupy your children with a quick craft? With wide velvet ribbon and glitter, you can whip up most of these Christmas crafts in minutes. If you’ve got half an hour or more, try the crafts involving paint or sewing. All of them are fast and easy, but don’t try do make all ten. Pick a few that will give you a quick feeling of accomplishment.

1. Sweater pillow.

You’ll need:

  • A sweater. I bought mine at Savers for less than $5.
  • A throw pillow.
  • A sewing machine.
  • 30 minutes.

First, chop off the sweater’s arms and collar. Then, turn it wrong side out, and sew it closed. Since my sweater has a zipper, I sewed it shut all the way around, and then unzipped it and turned it right side out.  Don’t sew over your zipper; your sewing machine won’t like that! Just hop over it. If your sweater has buttons, this will be even easier! After you turn it right side out, pop your pillow inside. Thirty minutes, including threading a bobbin and setting up a sewing machine. Done!

2. Glitter Letters.


You’ll need:

  • Wood letters. Mine cost 99 cents each at Hobby Lobby. 
  • Glitter.
  • Glue.
  • A paint brush for spreading the glue.
Spread the glue on each letter, sprinkle with glitter, and let dry! This craft takes fifteen minutes tops, so there’s plenty of time to clean up the glitter before your husband gets home (cough cough). 

3. Sharpie Mugs. Easy to make, but bear in mind, you do need to let the paint dry for 24 hours before baking. So, make these the day before last minute. Here’s the full tutorial.

More Ideas:

4. Paper Trees. Use scrapbook paper, construction paper, newspaper, or  gift wrap scraps to whip up a forest of pine trees. 

5. Baby Jesus Ornament from Wild Olive (these would also make a nice small gift!)

6. Infinity Scarf. These infinity scarves probably take less than an hour each.

7. Gold Painted Animal Ornaments from A Beautiful Mess.

8. Wide ribbon is all you need to Christmas-ify one of your throw pillows.

9. A bright and merry doormat, also from A Beautiful Mess.

10. Display your Christmas cards using wide ribbon. Don’t have a spare shutter lying around? A friend of mine tied the ribbon around her kitchen cabinets and attached the cards with clothes pins. Super cute!

For lots more craft ideas, here’s another post from A Beautiful Mess you’ll enjoy: 20 Quick DIY ideas.

Happy quick crafting!

Homecoming

Yesterday’s post was scheduled earlier this week and published before I had any idea of the tragedy taking place in Newport, CT. After I got online, I couldn’t stop refreshing the news pages, looking for more information, some motive, some reason Why.

Today I opened my Advent reading and read a fitting passage from Isaiah 60:1-5.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;

It feels very dark in the world today. Two shootings in a week, and several senseless shootings in the past few years of innocent people.

…but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

The imagery of the sons and daughters coming home breaks my heart.

But there is hope for the future, a joyous homecoming.

“Imagine a homecoming so joyous, so radiant—so full of love.
Verse 5 tells us: “And your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy.” [NLT]
Even if this season of homecoming brings feelings that are heavy, there is a homecoming to cling to. A promise from our heavenly father we can hold fast to this season.
Is the holiday season–or the thought of homecoming–something that makes you cringe? Perhaps it brings about deep hurts caused by our broken humanity.
Sister, I believe sometimes we need to get a bit more specific in our prayers–He wants us to talk with Him as we’d talk with our closest friend.
Pray that He would be your focus this season. Pray that you would maintain an eternal perspective when the pain wells up. Remember His promise in John 14? Verse 3 tells us: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. [NIV]
Now that is a promise.”- Advent, She Reads Truth

Advent: Slowing Down the Season

I am observing Advent for the first time this year. I’m not from a liturgical background, so this is all new to me. If you remember, two years ago, I wrote four reasons to celebrate Lent, even if you’re not Catholic. I didn’t celebrate Lent this year, and I could definitely feel the difference when Easter came around. I wasn’t mentally and spiritually prepared to truly enjoy the meaning.

Hence, I decided to observe Advent.

The last few months have flown by so quickly. I feel like we’re all celebrating Christmas in October, because mentally, that’s what month it feels like it should be. Before December began, my calendar was filled with Christmas parties to attend, plan and host, Christmas program practice, Christmas shopping, Christmas card mailing, Christmas crafts, and all the fun activities on my winter bucket list. If I don’t do something, this month will pass in a glittery blur of stress, spending, rushing, and peppermint flavored coffee.

Enter: Advent. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia:

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences onAdvent Sunday….

Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

Waiting.

That’s a great perspective shift for this crazy rushed season.

I’m practicing this expectant waiting by following a daily Advent Bible Reading plan along with the She Reads Truth community. The first reading started with the fall of man in Genesis, the reason we need a Savior. Then I read God’s promise to Abraham, and the prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah. From now until Christmas, I’ll be following the thread of the promised Savior through the Bible until it culminates with the arrival of Jesus. It’s only a few days in, so there’s still time to jump in and join!

I’m also combining two of the suggestions for my winter bucket list. Sage suggested cutting out paper snowflakes and hanging one up on the wall every time I do a new good habit, and Tara suggested counting down my blessings every day until Christmas. I’m combining them by taping paper snowflakes to the wall with blessings written on them. By Christmas, our walls should be covered in a snowstorm of blessings!

This Sunday in our children’s Christmas program, I’ll play the part of the Sunday school teacher who is in charge of the Christmas program (a play within a play situation). According to the script writers, she is a “very put together type of person,” who is “all business.” The children in the program all know the Christmas story forwards and backwards and are just going through the motions because “we do it every year.” But, there’s a new kid at church. He’s supposed to play the part of a shepherd, but he’s not really sure what a shepherd is. In fact, he’s never heard the Christmas story. Eventually, his questions cause everyone to pause and consider why they’re doing this program, and in particular, why they kneel at the manger.

That’s when I say:

You’re right Sam. This is just a doll. It’s not really Baby Jesus. But we dress up every year and act it out like this because Jesus once was a real baby who was born in a barn. And when we act it out, we remind ourselves of the story and what really happened. 

The most important part of the story is not just that He was born, though. Jesus is God- but was born to do a job that only He could do. He came to die on a cross and save everyone from their sins – the wrong things they have done. He came for you- and you, and you, and you, and me. And because He came to save us, He deserves all of our love- and that’s why we kneel.

Whatever your Christmas traditions may be, I hope you’ll take the time to kneel at the manger, and worship the King who came to save us, and deserves all of our love.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Advent

By Sibella Giorello
Consider the bride’s walk down the aisle. We all know where
that woman in the white is going but somehow waiting for her to arrive at the
altar is an essential part of the ceremony. In fact, the waiting is so
essential that even cheapskate Vegas chapels include wedding marches.
Why?
Because the wait adds meaning to the
moment.
At Christmas time, we tend to forget this essential truth
about anticipation. We’re lost to shopping malls and checklists, rushing toward
December 25th so quickly that we forget the quiet joy of the month’s other 24
days — and then we wonder why we feel so empty on the 26th, amid ribbons and
wrapping paper and our best intentions.
Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.
And that is why Advent is so important to Christmas.
I’m as guilty as the next harried person. This Advent was
particularly tricky because just six hours before it started, I was still
trying to finish a 110,000-word novel that was written over the course of the
year — written while homeschooling my kids, keeping my hubby happy, and
generally making sure the house didn’t fall down around us.
It’s an understatement to say my free time is
limited. But waiting adds meaning, and Advent is crucial to Christmas, so I’ve
devised several Advent traditions that are simple, powerful and easy to keep
even amid the seasonal rush.
When my kids outgrew the simple Advent calendars around age
7, I stole an idea from my writer friend Shelly Ngo (as T.S. Eliot said,
“Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” Indulge me.)
Here’s how it goes: Find 24 great
Christmas books, wrap them individually and place then under the tree. On the
first day of Advent, take turns picking which book to open. When we did this,
we would cuddle under a blanket and read aloud — oh, the wonder, the magic! We
savored “The Polar Express,” howled with “How Murray Saved
Christmas,” and fell silent at the end of “The Tale of The Three
Trees” (note: some of the picture books I chose were not explicitly about
Christmas but they always echoed the message that Jesus came to earth to save
us from ourselves and to love us beyond our wildest imagination. In that
category, Angela Hunt’s retelling of The Three Trees definitely hits the
Yuletide bull’s eye).
This Advent tradition lasted for about five years. It gave
us rich daily discussions about the season’s real meaning, without being
religious or legalistic, and it increased family couch time. But like the
lift-the-flap calendars, my kids outgrew the picture books.
Because the wait adds meaning, and Advent is crucial, I
prayed for another way to celebrate anticipation of Christmas. By the grace of
God, last year I found an enormous Advent calendar on  clearance at
Pottery Barn. Made of burlap, it has large pockets big enough to hold some
serious bounty.
 
But my husband and I didn’t want the kids focusing only on
the materialist stuff for Advent — we already fight that on Christmas day. We
decided to fill the daily pockets with simple necessities and small gift cards.
We also printed out the nativity story from Luke 2:1-21 in a
large-sized font and cut each verse out. From Day 1 to Day 21, there is one
verse to read aloud. The kids memorize it, then get to open their present (again,
on alternating days for each person). Then we tape the verse to the wall in
order. By Day 22, all the verses are on the wall, in order, and the kids now
try to recite the entire nativity story from memory. That’s not as difficult as
it sounds because they’ve been memorizing one verse each day. Still, the entire
recitation — verbatim — usually requires Day 23 and Day 24. Whoever does
memorize the entire thing — without mistakes —  earns a bonus gift
of $25.
Does that sounds extravagant?
It is.
Because we want our kids to understand that God came down
and humbled himself and taught us about love right before He suffered and died
on behalf of the undeserving — which is every one of us.
“That’s” extravagant.
And in the waiting, we find even more
meaning.

***
Sibella Giorello writes
the Raleigh Harmon mystery series which won the Christy Award with its first
book “The Stones Cry Out.” She lives in Washington state with her
husband and children, and often wishes there were 36 hours in a day.
Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from some of today’s most beloved writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.
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