Snowflake or Chrismon Ornaments

 

I first came up with these snowflake ornaments a few years ago for a homeschool Christmas craft day. A year or so later, I needed to come up with some ideas for ornaments to make for a Chrismon tree at our church, and realized that they work well for that, too. Chrismons are “Christ monograms” and in some way represent Christ. They are always to be handmade and the only colors used are white and gold. The “x” looks like the first Greek letter in “Christ” and the “I” symbol looks like the beginning Greek letter in “Jesus.” Thus, a common winter-y symbol also becomes a symbol of Christ. There are lots of sites all over the internet with more ideas for Chrismons as well as information about the history of this tradition.

This ornament is great for groups because even the very smallest children can make them. For the littlest ones, I put a line of glue across one section of the ornament at a time and the child fills it up with macaroni, beans, buttons or whatever we are using. Older kids and adults sometimes get very elaborate (and manage their own glue, of course!) and make balanced patterns using a variety of shapes. Everything ends up looking nice! My daughter has also made some that look very pretty by simply painting the white ornaments with glitter glue.

The first step is to drill a hole in the top of a popsicle stick. It really is best to do this first and not when you’ve finished painting, as popsicle sticks are not made from great quality wood and some of them will split when you drill the holes. You can imagine how I learned this and the number of base ornaments I had to re-make as my beautifully glued and painted ornaments split :).

Next, glue two sticks together to make and “x” shape. I use tacky glue for this and have found that the store brand works just as well as the name-brand kind.

Let this dry and then glue on the third stick, the one with the drilled hole.

When the glue has dried, I paint them all white. For big groups, I usually spread them all out in my carport and spray paint them. When dry, turn them over and paint the other side. Sometimes, they will need a couple of coats of paint. At home with my own kids or with a group who will have more than one day available to finish these, I’ve let the kids hand-paint these as part of the crafting experience. I have one child who has always really, really liked to paint, so, especially when she was younger, I looked for many opportunities like this for her.

Now comes the fun part- decorating! I have used all sorts of things- beans and noodles, sometimes painted gold or white, glittery sequins, buttons. It’s worked well for me to have kids work on a paper plate. Then, when finished, I move the ornament to a fresh paper plate or some other place to dry if the first plate got very glue-y. Also, I usually pull the ribbon or string that’s used for the hanger through the hole before decorating, just in case the hole gets covered up during the decorating.

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1 Comment

  1. Mary said,

    December 15, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Ah-ha!! I’m nearly 30 years old and since I was little, I’ve been placing two of these (glittered) ornaments that my brother and I made at the top of the tree. I knew it was important to me as a kid, and I thought maybe we just made stars like that at Jesus’ birth. I’m researching chrismons to make some and found your site and it clicked–we made those when a bunch of women in the church made chrismons for the tree! Don’t know how I didn’t put it together before…


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