How to give your festive decorations a personal touch

Channelling your inner grandma at a crafternoon has not only turned hip – it can be good for you too.

From upcycled Christmas decorations and wrappings to macrame pot holders, Laneway Learning Melbourne says more and more people are taking up arts and craft classes not just for fun, but to boost their brain power.

“There’s a lot of research about the benefits of lifelong learning of things like craft for your mental health,” general manager Maria Yebra says.

“It makes you more alert, helps stave off dementia and keeps the mind flexible.”

The organisation was founded in Melbourne in 2012 with fun, informal classes staged in hidden corners such as laneway bars, cafes and bookshops, and has since spread to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

She says the classes were less about becoming an expert but for the “pleasure of learning” and aiding memory retention.

Here are some easy-to-make decorations to bring out the spirit of the season in your home.

Christmas crafts

Seeing stars

Do your bit for the environment with these pretty upcycled origami hanging stars.

It’s as easy as recycling some old wrapping paper, newspaper or Christmas cards and cutting them into star shapes. You could even hang them from an old branch for a truly sustainable decoration, or use them as festive bunting.

For clever crafters, find an origami demonstration on YouTube.

Warm and fuzzy

Cute crochet baubles can be hung from the window or the tree. They require a little more skill, so head to a crocheting website such as if you haven’t done it before.

christmas crafts

Light the way

Wondering what to do with all those old jam jars cluttering the pantry?

Turn them into Christmas lanterns for the ultimate upcycled decoration. Put a tealight candle at the bottom in sand, and wrap some twine around the top.

Hooked on wreaths

Cut a piece of cardboard into a donut shape, and cover with dark green wool. Find crochet patterns for leaves and berries and get hooking, using a variety of different leaves and colours.

Once you’ve made as many as you’d like, arrange them on the wreath base and use hot glue to join them together. Allow to dry, then hang on the door for the ultimate hipster wreath!

christmas crafts

Snow globe

For this snow globe, you’ll need:

  • Jam jars/Mason jars
  • Christmas ornaments or decorations
  • Craft adhesive
  • Glitter
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • String/ribbon
  • Scissors

Glue ornaments to the inside of the snow globe lid. Let dry for 24 hours.

Fill globe container with water and as much glitter as you like. Add a dash of glycerin to stop the glitter from falling too slowly.

Screw the lid to the jar and seal with a small amount of glue if you are concerned about anyone opening it “accidentally”.

Decorate with ribbon or string, turn upside down … and give it a little shake.

Written by Elissa Doherty.