Creating Joyful Memories with Christmas Crafts for Seniors & the Elderly

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Looking for ways to entertain elderly or senior loved ones this holiday season? Here are some fun Christmas crafts for seniors ranging from super simple to moderately challenging.

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Christmas Crafts for Seniors

Winter crafts are engaging and lovely Christmas activities for older adults while exercising their hands and strengthening their fine motor skills.

From cute little pine cone trees to DIY projects like Christmas wreaths and festive ornaments to hang on the tree, the entire family will enjoy these arts and crafts activities.

They might just become a familiar holiday tradition!

Fun Holiday Crafts for Older Adults

It is important to note that many of these crafts mention using hot glue guns. If this is inappropriate for your situation, use advanced craft glue that works at room temperature on paper and fabrics instead.

Pine Cone Christmas Trees

Make pine cones into Christmas trees if you want a cute way to craft some holiday spirit.

For these decorations, you need a few pine cones and art materials like paint, glitter, pom-poms, beads, and pipe cleaners. Use craft glue or hot glue guns if it is safe. 

(via PJs and Paint)

Christmas Recycled Bottled Planters

Love plants and recycling too? Create these adorable Christmas-themed bottled planters using your favorite Christmas characters as inspiration.

Remove the top half of a plastic bottle, cut the remaining half into a cute holiday image with an X-Acto knife or scissors, and then paint them.

If the blades aren’t appropriate for your situation, pre-cut them and have the seniors decorate them. Have some soil and seeds or seedlings on standby!

(via Hello Wonderful)

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Christmas Ornament Crafts for Seniors

Christmas Tree Twig Ornaments

Gather the twigs and sticks that tend to clutter yards and gardens this time of year and turn them into Christmas ornaments

This craft uses wooden stars as a base with twigs as a decorative element for primitive-looking tree decorations. Simple twine or ribbon works wonderfully as hangers for your handmade ornaments.

(via Rhythms Of Play)

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ornaments

This simple craft only takes about 15 minutes but yields two familiar-looking ornaments. You will need special items like small terra cotta pots, mini bells, and small yellow buttons, so prepare in advance. 

(via Ruffles and Rain Boots)

Egg Carton Jingle Bell Christmas Tree Ornament

Finish off your tree decorations with these sweet little jingle bells. All you need is a cardboard egg carton, different paint colors, scissors, brushes, a small paper plate, one pipe cleaner for each bell, and small craft bells.

Separating each egg carton piece from the other gives you twelve bells. Then paint each bell until your heart’s content and give them some time to dry. 

String the pipe cleaner through a bell and then push the ends through a small hole in the top of your bell. Twist or tie the pipe cleaner to prevent it from going back through, and hang it on the tree. 

(via Glued To My Crafts Blog)

Peanut Snowmen Christmas Ornaments

Don’t like the cold snow that usually accompanies the Christmas season?

Maybe you live in an area where snow at Christmas time is a miracle. Then make snowmen from peanuts instead since they have the same basic shape. 

Simply paint the peanut shells white, then tie a string around their curve to resemble the scarf. Use buttons, construction paper, or colored tissue paper to make hats, arms, and decorations for the perfect decoration.

(via The Flying Couponer)

Paper and Pipe Cleaner Angel Ornaments 

Short on time? This senior-friendly craft project only takes five minutes to complete.

To make these homemade ornaments, all you need are a pair of scissors, pipe cleaners, and crafting paper of any color. Try making reindeer from brown pipe cleaners for an extra challenge.

Simply cut the craft paper into angel shapes. Then, twist the pipe cleaners to resemble the angel’s wings, a halo, and clothing. Lastly, tie a string to the paper and pipe cleaners and hang it on your tree. 

(via One Little Project)

Cookie Cutter Ornaments 

All you need for this craft are cookie cutters, paint, and glitter. Oh, and some Christmas spirit.

Cookie cutters are already shaped as holiday figures and are readily available and cheap, so they are an ideal craft tool.

So, buy a bucket full and paint them the color you choose. Cover them in glitter for sparkle, then hang them on the tree for a simple but fun holiday craft.

Christmas crafts for seniors decoration
Decorate your Christmas wreath according to your desired final look.

Christmas Decoration Crafts for Seniors

DIY Pool Noodle Christmas Wreath

This craft uses pool noodles, often on clearance this time of year, to make a homemade Christmas wreath. Simply form the noodle into a circle, tape the ends together to hold it in place, and cover the joint with a ribbon.

Glue greenery, cinnamon sticks, dried cranberries, holly leaves, glitter, and various decorations until it looks the way you want.

 (via MidWestern Moms)

Interested in more easy DIY wreath crafts?
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The Thankful Tree 

Show what you are thankful for using a simple jar or vase, some longer sticks, paper, and ribbons. Create your tree by placing long sticks and twigs into a vase or old Mason jar.

Tie them with a ribbon or use a ribbon to decorate the holder. Shape ornaments from the craft paper, then write what you are thankful for on them with red or green colored pencils. Hang it on a branch using a string or punch a small hole.

Keep extra tree ornaments and a pen nearby this inspired holiday decoration for guests to add their own gratitude statements. Use traditional fall colors to make a Thanksgiving tree.

(via Sarah Maker)

Craft Stick Gingerbread Houses 

Get out of the kitchen and make this easy-to-make Popsicle Stick Gingerbread house with craft sticks, white glue, printable ornaments, acrylic paint and brushes, and scissors instead of carbs and dough.

Paint your popsicle sticks with your choice of colors and let them try. Make a wall by lining up a row of sticks next to each other and reinforce the row by gluing another stick perpendicular to the others.

Create your roof line by cutting a few popsicle sticks, gluing them in a triangle shape, and attaching more sticks. Attach the top to the walls and give adequate time to dry. Then decorate as you see fit! 

Use this printable kit to make it even simpler.

(via Printables Fairy)

Bowtie Pasta Garland 

Did you know you can make a simple but stylish garland from bowtie pasta, a paintbrush, glitter, white glue, and string? You can! Just cover uncooked bowtie pasta with glue, then cover it with glitter

Make them all one color or multiple for a more colorful decoration. After the pasta has dried, tie them together securely with a double-knotted string. Repeat until the garland is as long as you want it.

(via The Gold Jelly Bean)

Christmas Crafts to Do With the Elderly

Strawberry Christmas Lights Dessert 

This craft doubles as a delicious dessert or a festive decoration for your dining table. Dip strawberries into white chocolate with a toothpick, then give them a quick roll of colored sugar.

“Glue” a green gumdrop to the top with melted chocolate to complete your holiday light bulb. Eat or display your festive results or give them away as a small gift to beloved family members!

This craft is a tasty and wonderful way to get some Christmas cheer.

(via Wonder Mom Wanna Be)

Christmas Tree Button Craft

If you sew or just have extra buttons, this Christmas Tree Button craft is fun to do with an older adult.

Just use foam or cardstock to cut out a Christmas tree or wreath shape and glue various buttons as decorations. Hang them up so everyone can see them!

Need buttons? You can buy them by the bag at most dollar stores.

(via The Inspiration Edit)

Christmas crafts for seniors simple projects
Pre-made cookie kits have made decorating cookies easy and simple.

Simple Christmas Craft Projects for Senior Citizens

Paper Plate Holiday Tree Craft 

This perfect craft idea uses many crafting supplies that many crafters already have: large paper plates, green tissue paper, glue, scissors, brown cardstock paper, a stapler, and different colored sequins or glitter.

Simply cut the plate into a tree shape and cover it in glue. Then, immediately wrap it in green tissue paper. Next, make lines of glue garland and cover them in glitter or sequins.

Finally, glue small objects on them as ornaments or make them from construction paper. 

(via Glued to My Crafts Blog)

Beaded Necklaces 

Get an ample supply of beads in festive season colors such as gold, silver, red, green, and white, and some string.

Simply thread your line through the beads, being as creative (or random) as you’d like. Tie a knot in the end and wear the finished product with pride. 

Decorating Christmas Cookies (Easier Options)

Many people think the baking and cookie decorating process might be too time-consuming or require too much attention for people with dementia, but there are more straightforward ways to get the same outcome.

Today, many pre-made cookie kits have everything you need to decorate cookies – including the cookie! Another option is to prebake the cookies if you prefer that homemade flavor and then decorate them separately.

Another fantastic way is to use a two-step process where you have the dough rolled out and allow the person to use cookie cutters to make their own.

After baking them and letting them cool (or even the next day), gather everyone back together and let the decorating begin

Interested in Christmas Crafts for Dementia?
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Decorating Christmas Stockings

If decorating cookies doesn’t sound like a good idea, try decorating stockings instead. You can buy premade felt stockings at any craft or dollar store.

Decorate them with fabric pens, puffy paint, markers, glue and glitter, or stickers.

Making Orange and Clove Pomander Balls 

This quick (and great-smelling) craft is made simply by pushing whole cloves into oranges into whatever design or pattern you can think of.

You can arrange the cloves into circles or make smiley faces with them! Tie them up with wire or a red ribbon and hang them somewhere to enjoy the smell during the winter months.

If your oranges have tough rinds, you can use toothpicks to pierce them before putting in the cloves.

Ensure that the participants with dementia or mild cognitive impairment don’t eat the cloves, which could be a choking hazard.

(via Almanac)

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Infographic: Christmas Crafts for Seniors & the Elderly

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We hope these Christmas craft ideas for seniors and the elderly were inspiring and brought you and your loved ones some holiday cheer! If so, please share it on your favorite social media. Add your own craft ideas for older adults in the comments below!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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