Tue, 02/12/2008

One tradition T. and I started two years ago (a tradition which, thankfully, has not fallen by the wayside yet) is to make our own paper snowflakes the weekend we decorate the tree. The first year we did these, they were simple paper ones, and I used a hole punch to attach the string at the top. We hung them from the tree, from the kitchen ceiling lamp, from the dining room chandelier--we had white paper snowflakes everywhere. This year we got more ambitious and decorated them with silver and gold glitter.

 If you shuddered at the thought of glitter when I first mentioned it, then you'll have get over that. You can't do crafty things with your kids if you have glitter-phobia, just as you can't possibly let them help decorate the Christmas cookies if you have sprinkle-phobia. Both sprinkles and glitter vacuum up easily, and even if you can't get it all and it ends up mysteriously all over your green sofa, it looks pretty and festive. (Although I did moan at T. about all the glitter on my throw pillow. "But, Mama!" she exclaimed. "It's Christmas!")

We spread out sheets of paper, and I put some glitter into a paper cup for T. I learned years ago to never, ever let your child assume control of the glitter bottle! But even if your child does, and all the glitter ends up in a small mountain on the table, you can quickly funnel it back into the bottle. We cut out the snowflakes (T. loves using scissors, and this was the best part of it for her), then used a glue stick to make both sides sticky.

We then sprinkled silver and gold glitter over both sides, and used white yarn to make loops to hang them.

If you have a very small child, you can do all the cutting and then let him or her go nuts with the glue stick and glitter. At the end of the holidays, you can store the snowflakes in a ziploc bag at the bottom of the decorations bin. We also use older ones from previous years as "bows" on Christmas packages and presents, and as name tags on the cookie trays we give out to neighbors and friends.

The snowflakes are by far my most favorite kind of decoration--homemade and sparkly, each one capturing a magical morning spent at the kitchen table with T.