This Stick Christmas Tree Ornament uses assorted ribbons and random sticks that we collect on our nature walks. Makes a lovely keepsake ornament or homemade gift!
Whenever we go for walks at one of our favorite parks, my daughter insists upon collecting things. By nature, she’s a gatherer. This means that no matter where we go or what we’re doing, she’s going to find something to bring back home with us. I used to get really frustrated by her need to collect bits and pieces of things, but that only led to unnecessary tears…on my part. So after I found a bag full of dusty, old leaves hidden in the back of her closet one winter, I decided to just let her be.
You see, it’s not always productive to try to change the nature of your child. Plus, in a world that’s full of so many rules and regulations, I don’t want her to sweat the small stuff. So if she likes collecting things on our walks, I want her to do so happily. I’d much rather have her content, then to feel that she needs to hide her collection of her stuff from her Type A Mom.
Since she likes to collect lots of things, I knew I was going to need a way to contain it all. Shoving everything into my pockets just wasn’t working and asking her to carry a bag just led to too much stuff being gathered. To keep everyone happy, I set aside a special backpack that’s just for our hikes in the woods.
This way, whatever she finds and wants to keep, she can add it to the pack. Once it’s full, it’s full. If she wants to add anything else, she needs to remove something first. And to keep her from getting upset, I always make sure to give her a heads-up as bag starts to get full while we clomp about the woods.
Once we get home, the backpack gets placed in the closet if it’s empty or brought down to the basement if it’s full…just in case some creepy crawlies come home with us. I’d much rather have them in the basement than in my closet!
On cold, rainy days, we rifle through the pack and come up with something to make. I never know what to expect – my daughter is quite creative and always comes up with something interesting. In the past, we’ve made some pretty basic crafts like Clam Shell Friends and Lady Bug Rocks, but now that she’s getting older, her ideas are taking her to new places.
One recent weekend, my husband and son were at basketball practice and us girls were bored, so we dug out the backpack. This time, it was full of sticks. Lots and lots of sticks. All shapes and sizes. I had no idea what she was going to come up with this time, so I just sat back and waited. After a little while, she got out some ribbon and her scissors, and asked me if we could make a stick Christmas tree ornament.
I wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to work out for us since I’m not overly crafty myself, but after looking up a few ideas on the ever glorious Pinterest, I decided to give it a whirl. I thought that this was going to be a pretty simple craft for us, but it’s definitely a two person job, especially if you’re trying to do it with younger kids. Their hands are still too small and the stick likes to roll away while the ribbons like to go haywire. That’s why we taped our ribbons down!
This Stick Christmas Tree Ornament takes some time and patience, so make sure you have a fresh cup of coffee for you and some steaming hot chocolate for your child! Also, if your ribbon keeps curling on you, you can run a cool iron over the pieces to straighten them out – just make sure you place a pillowcase on top of the ribbons first, so they don’t scorch.
One of the best things that I have started doing as a parent is working with my children. Sometimes, we get caught up in what we think is the right way to do something, and as I get older (and dare I say wiser?), I’m learning to listen to their needs and wants more instead of just parenting at them.
It’s not always easy. But by supporting her need to gather, and turning it into something nice that we can do together, we get to use her stuff in a positive way. Then she can display her new creation, made from all of her bits and pieces, wherever she wants — and we can both enjoy it.
DIY STICK CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT
- 1 Stick, 6-7″ long (Try to find a straight one that is sturdy enough to tie ribbon to)
- 7 pieces of colored ribbon, 1″ thick (We bought an assortment of the 99-cent Recollections spools at Michaels.)
- Twine, 12″ long piece
Step 1: Gather up your spools of ribbon. Cut 11″ of ribbon for each color that you want to use. Line your ribbons up on your work surface and tape each end of the ribbon to the table to keep things tidy. Lay your stick on top of the ribbon to see if you have enough. We needed 7 pieces of ribbon for our stick.
Step 2: Cut 12″ of twine. At the top of your stick, about 2″ down, loop the twine around the stick and tie it into a secure knot.
Step 3: Now starting at the top, tie your first ribbon to the stick. One person will need to hold the stick, while the other one ties the knot. Make sure you decide which side of the stick is the back because you will want all of your knots to line up on one side.
Step 4: Continue tying your assorted ribbons until you’ve tied them all the way down the Stick Christmas Tree Ornament. Make sure you leave some room for the “trunk” to be bare.
Step 5: Cover your work surface with paper towels and spray the ribbons with hairspray. This will stiffen them up so they stick straight out to the sides. If you don’t do this, they’ll be a curly tangled mess!
Step 6: Once the ribbons have dried, place your Stick Christmas Tree Ornament back onto a work surface so you can cut the ribbons. You’ll want to cut them on an angle, so that they form a triangle shape…just like a tree.
Step 7: After cutting, if your ribbons need to be more stiff, repeat Step 5. Once they’re ready,hang your ornament with your child someplace amazing. Make sure you tell everyone who comes in the door that she made it!