Holiday Crafts for Seniors

Colder weather may mean more hours indoors, but it can also put you in the perfect mood for some fun holiday crafting. Whether you are organizing an activity time for residents at your assisted living community, or looking for something fun to do with your loved one at a family gathering or visit to his or her residence, the following holiday crafts are easy and fun for all ages.

Holiday Crafts for Seniors1. Festive Ornaments

Holiday decorations can be simple and fun to make, and still be beautiful. For example, seniors can put a personal touch on a Christmas tree by adding “puffy paint” to solid-colored or clear ornaments you can pick up at a dollar store. Embellishments can be simple, like line-drawing snowflakes and colorful patterns, or a more complex winter scene. If there’s no tree, fill a large vase with the decorated ornaments for a lovely centerpiece.

2. Door Wreaths

An easy way to add festive spirit to a room or apartment in an assisted living community is a wreath for the resident’s front door. There are many premade forms of various materials available at craft stores, perfect for adding greenery, berries, and ribbons. If you’re looking for a simple, hands-on activity, try creating a wire hanger wreath. Simply shape a wire hanger into a circle, then tie individual strips (1”x6”) of green fabric or tissue paper onto the wire, scrunching them together to give a full look. Add ribbons and other decorations to personalize.

3. Edible Decorations

Christmas decorations are even better when they are tasty! The ideas are endless, from the traditional garlands of popcorn, to a more elaborate candy train that can wind around a table top, to a cute marshmallow snowman ornament. These decorations can also make great gifts for neighbors and senior living staff, so be sure to make a few extra and spread the cheer. And buy plenty of supplies since some are bound to get taste-tested during the construction process.

4. Gingerbread People

Decorating a gingerbread man is a fun way to be creative and express one’s self. Fast-forward to the best part of the process (the decorating!) by purchasing pre-made gingerbread men, and providing ready-to-use icing “pens,” candies, sprinkles, and canned icing spread. You can often find kits in the baking section of your local superstore as well. If you’re wanting to make it more of a team effort, why not buy a gingerbread house kit for a group of folks to work on together? It can serve as a fun centerpiece even after craft time.

5. Paper Plate CraftsSanta Paper Plate Craft

Holiday crafts don’t have to be expensive or extremely fancy; the fun is in the creativity your loved one gets to add to the project. An inexpensive stack of paper plates can be transformed into a jolly snowman, a lovely decorated Christmas tree, or Santa’s face (don’t forget the cotton balls for his beard). Just be sure to provide the craft paint, markers, glue, scissors, construction paper, and other accessories. This type of project would be perfect to do with children, so consider using it as an ice-breaker on your next visit with the grandkids.

6. Gifts for Others

Your loved one may no longer have the means to get out and about on his or her own to shop for gifts for others. Why not bring the makings of a great homemade gift that they can give to someone they care about, whether it’s a family member, friend, favorite nurse or doctor, or caregiver? Some unique ideas include homemade sugar scrub, decorated flower vases made from milk bottles or mini-vases and stickers, and fabric-wrapped rock paperweights. Everyone knows it’s the thought that counts with gifts from the heart, and these ideas will really let the senior feel a part of the gift-giving experience once again.

These holiday craft ideas can not only give your senior something fun to look forward to and be proud of, but conversation may flow more easily when you’re actively creating together. Remember that the time spent together working on a craft is as valuable as the finished product.

Did you try any of these crafts with your senior loved one? Share a photo with us on Facebook!

Megan Hammons lives in the Central Texas countryside just outside of Austin, pursuing her love for copywriting after a career in high-tech marketing. She is part of a large, diverse family and enjoys spending time with the multiple generations living in her community.

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