Christmas

Easy cardboard Christmas ornaments

9:02 AM

Christmas has always been the time of the year to celebrate with family and friends and make memories.
When I moved to India 15 years ago, it was the thing that hit me the hardest, and made me feel super homesick for many years. As much as I hated the family drama and social obligation Christmas inevitably brought, suddenly not having it anymore feels odd.

4 years ago, I reflected on this whole Christmas spirit factor, and came to the conclusion it's less about the climate or where you are rather than how you are used to celebrate.

It becomes fun and interesting once you figured out how to make new traditions. One of which is a special one for me and a few fellow expat friends.
We are all long term expats, all having an Indian husband, and many of us have kids. So the need to recreate that festive spirit is strong and vital.

Our tradition is to meet at the start of the month, and do a Christmas craft project (or two) with the kids while having tea and snacks. The projects are simple ones and more often than not, they are a Christmas tree ornament.

This year, I came up with a super cute and easy DIY project that involved recycling old cardboard boxes and turning them into little star ornaments.
I spend a few hours cutting a LOT of stars out of my stash of cardboard boxes panel (did I mention that I repurpose a lot of waste?).
I then tied a red string to each star and brought them at our get together afternoon along with gel pens in white gold and silver, and my ever favourite 3D glitter glue (because hey! That's me!)

The task was simple, but fun: Doodle and decorate as many stars as you want in any way you want.
It was pretty mess free, and even the little kids could do it with minimal supervision, leaving us mom the time to chat and have a relaxing afternoon.

The best thing about those ornaments, like all the ones we did the previous year, is that they are a keepsake memory that will always remind us of that fun afternoon.
Because yes, the primary function of the Christmas tree in cultures that do celebrate Christmas is less about the festive look than it is about telling a family story...one ornament at a time.

Sure we all start adulthood with a "starter kit" of generic baubles and tinsel to decorate the tree, but as the year pass, more gets added to it (and the tree gets progressively bigger). It soon tells a story of that fun night at the local Christmas market where you picked a unique handmade ornaments from a friend who sold them. It tells the story of that time you celebrated your first child first Christmas with a special ornament bought or made for the occasion. Or that tale of a travel where you picked up a few exotic looking ornaments, and yes, the memories of all the fun you spend making your own with friends, year after year.

Each year, I make a point of making one ornament, and if something really catch my eye in a shop, buy ONE fancy special ornament to mark the year.
To this date, my tree has quite a few of our "ornament party" projects, a few fabric covered bauble a childhood friend made and gifted me, a gift I got at an ornament exchange party, a very special velvet covered ornament I bought years ago in Bangalore when Archies started selling them and counts as my first ever ornament bought in India, and a set of wire mesh stars I bought the first year we celebrated Christmas home with Ishita.
Then there are the few special ones I either bought or won, like the snowman resin one I bought last year, or the bone china mini Starbucks cup I won in 2015 for being a loyal customer. They are part of our family history and tradition. And if you visit a European or American family, you can bet their tree tells a story too.


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