Fun Christmas Crafts: A Family Themed Tree Skirt

This simple family project will likely become a cherished family heirloom.

Traditions are an enormous part of Christmas celebrations in this country. What we eat, how we decorate, and how we handle our gift exchanges all define our family values and traditions. Some of these traditions last a lifetime, and are passed on to future generations. This heirloom project may just become one such treasured memory.

The Christmas tree is a favorite decorating tradition in most families. Sometimes the whole family ventures out to a tree farm early in the season, to tag the perfect tree. They'll return later--closer to Christmas--and cut down that tree and bring it home. Once settled in its stand, it becomes a type of temporary artwork, embellished by many artists--the various members of your family.

Lots of thought is given to how the Christmas tree will be decorated. Will you use handmade or store bought decorations? Will you reminisce about the history of old ornaments as you unpack them? Some families create a theme each year and decorate their Christmas tree accordingly. Some families display packages underneath the Christmas tree as part of the decor. Others wait until the magic of Christmas Eve to adorn their tree with gifts. No matter when the gifts arrive under your Christmas tree, it's important to precede the gift display with a Christmas tree skirt. Originally designed to hide the often unsightly Christmas tree stand, it is now a fashion statement of sorts. From plain red felt or velvet to quilted varieties, Christmas tree skirts can cost pennies or a pile of cash. Creating your own version, however, ensures your family a lifetime of Christmas memories.

Try to incorporate your entire family into the creating of your Christmas tree skirt. Obviously only one or two people will be designated to design and sew or craft the skirt, but there are ways to involve everyone in the process.

Start with a template for the shape of the skirt. Be sure to leave an opening where the tree trunk and stand will be situated.

Today's access to computer printers and scanners has crossed into the field of fabric creations, helping make heirlooms like this photo family Christmas tree skirt a breeze. By copying photographs onto transfer paper, they can be ironed or stitched onto contrasting fabric. If you don't have a scanner or printer, your local copy shop can perform this task for you. Adorn your Christmas tree skirt with photos of the family. Be sure to leave room for growing families! Transfer a few Christmas patterns like stars, packages or angels onto the skirt layout as well. As the family grows, through additional births or marriages, photos can be sewn over the patterns, adding each new family member to the heirloom.

Other variations of this skirt include embroidering the names of all family members. Again, leave room for additional members as the family expands. Adding birth dates is a fun way to chronicle when each member joined the family.

Savvy seamstresses might assign a portion of the Christmas tree skirt to different extended family members. Each family can be responsible for designing a block representing their own families. Upon turning in each completed block, one or two seamstresses can add the blocks to the plain template or stitch them in a quilted formation.

Some families create new Christmas tree skirts each year. That way they can pass each year's skirt along to an extended family member. Others keep the tree skirt design simple, but no less meaningful. Purchase a simple canvas Christmas tree skirt or cut one from plain or colored fabric. Keep a supply of permanent markers handy and ask all Christmas visitors--both family and friends--to sign their name and/or sentiments on the Chrtistmas tree skirt. After collecting these keepsakes for a few years, have fun going through the memories as you unpack Christmas ornaments each holiday season.

Christmas tree skirts may not be foremost in your holiday decorating plans, but with a little imagination and simple creativity, they can become a part of your family's history. Start planning your family's Christmas tree skirt today, and enjoy your cherished family heirloom for years to come.

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