The tree is up, the halls are decked and we are counting down the days until family 'comes to town'.
Most of our relatives are miles away from us so we really look forward to having them visit, especially during the holidays.
But I will admit, it can be a bit daunting to double the number of people in your house overnight. So I love to find ways that the kids can help as we get ready for our guests.
One area I always let the kids take over is decorating the holiday table. In addition to setting and clearing for meals, I also count on them to put together centerpieces, arrange cookie trays and create other festive ways to decorate the table for holidays.
So today's "Get Ready for the Relatives" project are these adorable Cinnamon Scented Jingle Bell Placecards!
Decorating the Holiday Table: DIY Jingle Bell Name Cards
Similar to our Cinnamon Stick Tree Ornaments, these placecards also bring a sweet smell into the room. And yes, they are super easy to make and require very little time (something we are all short on during the holidays ;)
Feel free to create your own design -- we used a forest theme for ours because I love woodland decorations and my daughter is looking forward to the new movie "Into the Woods" that's coming out this Christmas.
And since this project is easy to set up for a group, it's a great holiday craft for classrooms or scout troops too!
Here's what you'll need:
- Cardstock: we chose gray cards with green trees but as I said earlier, feel free to shake it up and create place cards that will match your table decorations
- Sandpaper: this is what's going to help create the wonderful scents - we used a medium grade sandpaper
- Cinnamon sticks: I like to use Tone's Cinnamon Sticks because you can use them for both baking & crafting!
- Pipecleaners: these sparkly pipecleaners in Christmas colors work nicely
- Medium-sized jingle bells: they'll need to fit on the pipecleaners -- here's a set of bells that would work
- Glue - I forgot to include that in the photo but you'll need it ;)
The first step is to decide what size you'd like the placecards to be and cut your gray paper accordingly.
I wanted larger cards so we folded the paper length-wise and then cut it in half (so each placecard is approx. 4 inches wide).
Next, punch a hole in the upper right side of your placecard. This is where the jingle bells go :)
Now before you do anything else, have the kids take a cinnamon stick and run it over the sandpaper. Yep, just scratch it up and down and you will smell that wonderful scent of cinnamon (ahhh....)
Be sure to have them rub it all around so you'll have a nice strong scent -- this is also great for those fine motor skills
This next step is for the adults (or if you have a teen in the house, it's a great opportunity to teach them some knife skills). Score and slice (or break) a few of the cinnamon sticks so you can use them as tree trunks -- warning: this will smell REALLY good!
Draw out your trees on one sheet of the colored cardstock. We used a triangle with a 2 inch base for our trees.
Once you draw out a few trees, layer the other pieces of cardstock and the sandpaper behind your sketch sheet and have the kids cut them all out at once. Don't worry about perfection -- if you've ever taken a hike in the woods, you'll know that trees are all a little different.
All the cutting, especially through multiple pieces of paper, is great fine motor skill developement for kids of all ages.
You'll end up with a pile of triangles/trees which will make it easy to 'grab & glue' your forest motif.
Now be creative! Grab a few trees and make a mini-forest on one of the placecards. Glue them across the bottom, over to one side, around the top -- whatever looks good to you and the kids. Or make them all different -- a few with trees on the bottom, a few with trees off to the side, etc.
Use at least one of the sandpaper trees along with a few cinnamon stick pieces for tree trunks. We used a brown marker to fill in tree trunks on the other trees. As soon as we glued on the scented sandpaper and cinnamon tree trunks, my daughter could not stop smelling the cards :)
Write the name of each guest on the placecards. Then thread 2 jingle bells onto a 3 inch section of a pipecleaner. Pull it through the hole in the notecard and twist it into place. This will also serve to help the name cards stand up better if you have taller ones like we created. Plus, jingle bells are just too awesome not to use, right?!
There you go -- everyone will know where to sit plus the kids at the table will have some fun jingling the cards during the meal. Using cardstock makes the placecards pretty sturdy so you should be able to use them for multiple meals or have guests take them home.
Be sure to let the kids decide where to put the cards (in our house, there's always shifting when relatives visit -- the kids NEVER want to sit near Mom or Dad ;).
Get Ready for the Holidays: