Make Your Ornaments This Year

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Most of us probably remember making paper chains in school to decorate the classroom tree or take home.

When I made them in the early 1960s we were limited to red, green and white construction paper. Today there are tons of different papers available for a project like this and you can find them in my favorite places: the area scrapbook supply stores and the hobby aisles at other stores.

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Decorating a Christmas tree is a family festival. Get a jump on the festivities by setting aside some time to make homemade ornaments together.

Personally, I have enough scrapbook paper to probably make a chain to decorate both the Swiss Village and Main Street, plus go around my house and yard a couple of times (when I first started making scrapbooks I became somewhat obsessive about buying paper).

The point is, if you want purple and turquoise paper chains, the paper is available; mustard and all kinds of other yellow tones can be found -- name a color and you can probably find it.

Textures and weights of papers vary, too, creating an even wider range of possibilities for those old-fashioned paper chain holiday decorations. There are handmade papers, embossed papers; there is vellum for translucent chains.

You can probably find a textured white paper that makes it possible to create fluffy paper snowpeople without using cotton balls.

The same is true of making paper Santas and reindeer. There are papers with flocking from which you can make a red-velvet suited Santa, and reindeer with fur-like coats.

Want angels that glitter and almost glow? Use vellum and pre-glittered or foil-like papers and then hang the angels where the tree lights are behind them.

Another homemade collection of decorations can be created by a visit to the Payson District Ranger Station of the Tonto National Forest. The station has a great selection of books, including some special coloring books featuring birds and wildlife printed on paper that can create stained-glass-like pieces. Using the work in these books, some heavy-handed coloring and a little scraping with a butter knife you could make some really unique decorations.

Take a look through some magazines, wander back through your memories, go online and do a search using the words "homemade Christmas ornaments."

I bet you can find a whole world of wonderful new holiday traditions to celebrate the season with creativity.

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