Photo Credit: bogdog Dan
via Compfight cc
With the days becoming increasingly shorter and temperatures quickly dropping, it’s becoming ever so clear that the holiday season is almost here. With time off (and often away), we frequently enter the holidays with the best of intentions, planning to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, count our blessings and focus on what really matters. Unfortunately, holiday expectations can often get in the way. It’s all too easy to get swept up by the hustle and bustle, stressed by finding gifts, to-do lists, endless lines and expenses, holiday traffic, demanding in-laws…you get the idea!
Channeling some of this energy into the creative process can be a great way to release stress and anxiety and remember what really counts. Try some of these holiday-themed art activities to bring about family togetherness, kick off your holiday celebrations, and help everyone get grounded.
Photo Credit: ladytimeless via Compfight cc
1. Make a batch of Christmas scented cloud-dough for an afternoon of holiday inspired sensory play
- 7 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of green or red sidewalk chalk (crushed up)
- 1 cup of vegetable oil
- Peppermint extract
- Combine the sidewalk chalk and flour.
- Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
- Pour in the oil and mix well. Mixing will take a few minutes. When done you will have an amazing substance known as cloud dough.
2. Make your own wrapping paper to really get in the spirit of giving
- Roll of white drawing paper or brown craft paper
- Various paint colors
- Variety of brushes
- Lay out newspaper on the floor to protect your space.
- Unroll the paper and secure down with tape
- Experiment with different techniques to create your own DIY wrapping paper. So many options to try! Try splatter painting, polka-dots, handprints, etc.
3. Create a permanent imprint with salt-dough ornaments
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of table salt
- 1/2 warm water
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Stamps, leaves, flowers, or any other objects to make imprints
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until you have a nice, smooth, and even consistency
- Roll out onto a cookie sheet
- Take your stamps and other objects and make your marks into the dough (can use ink with stamps if you want)
- Once your done, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into different shapes. At the top of each shape take the end of the straw to cut-out a hole. This will be for your string once baked.
- Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours
- Once out of the oven, feel free to add additional color. Add your string and viola!
Photo Credit: Cellanova
via Compfight cc
4. Create flower pots with your goals for the New Year
- Terra cotta clay pot(s)
- White primer (any paint will do)
- Selection of magazines/materials to cut our words and images
- Mod Podge
- Acrylic sealer
- Whatever you need to plant- dirt, seeds/bulbs
- Prime your clay pot(s) to keep the other materials from soaking through.
- As a family, discuss your hopes for the upcoming year. What are your goals, resolutions, and inspirations? With those thoughts in mind, begin cutting out related words and pictures. These will be collaged on your clay pot.
- Once you’ve finished selecting, use the mod podge to apply the words and images to the surface of the clay pot. You can use a paint brush, or even your fingers!
- After the 1st coat dries, apply a 2nd coat.
- Once completely dry, add a final coat of acrylic sealer to keep everything dry during watering.
- Once everything’s dry, its time to get planting. Together, plant your seeds. As your hopes and dreams blossom in the upcoming year, so will a beautiful flower!
5. Make Gratitude Paper Chains
This is a great ongoing project. Leave the materials out in a corner and have each member of the family contribute one gratitude link a day. Decide as a family that you’ll hang the final chain up on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. It’s a lot of fun to watch it grow as everyone acknowledges all they have to be thankful for!
- Interesting types of paper (patterns, colors, etc.) cut into strips
- Thankful printables
- Glue stick or double sided tape
- To get started….Print out attached thankful template and cut into strips (or make your own)
- Complete the sentence. “I am thankful for______________________.” Then glue or tape the paper onto a colorful strip of your choice.
- Staple into a circle, connecting around the prior link.
Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
80 East 11th Street, NYC