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Christmas Decorating Ideas for Kids

Parent-child decorating harmony with easy & elegant Christmas decorating ideas.


Kids often have a different decorating sensibility than parents. Kids’ Christmas decorating ideas may include giant snowmen and blinking lights, while parents may prefer holly and silver beads. Christmas decorating may be one of a family's cherished holiday activities or a source for holiday stress.

We'd all prefer fun, so keep in mind that Christmas decorating with kids means a lot of help from parents at first. As kids grow, however, compromise and less direction from parents is required. Let your kids' creativity shine and don’t expect perfection. These easy Christmas decorating ideas please both adults and kids.

Bowls and Baskets

Laureen Miles Brunelli
Fill baskets, bowls and other containers with Christmas trinkets (think beads, garland, greens, linens, pine cones, ornaments, bulbs, etc.). This activity can be done and re-done multiple times during the Christmas season. Kids can arrange pine cones in a bowl and then change it up by adding beads or garland. It becomes an ongoing activity. If kids are old enough to handle glassware, use vases, pitchers, cake plates and water goblets as festive containers too.

Tip: Only give kids as many different items as you'd like to see in the bowl because they will use everything, every time.

Fabric, Tablecloths and Napkins

Laureen Miles Brunelli
Layering tablecloths or draping fabric is a cheap and easy Christmas decorating idea that kids can do. Use old, mismatched napkins as the bottom layer in baskets and bowls. Drape fabric in Christmas colors across tables or over windows or on the mantle of a (non-working) fireplace.

Tip: Make setting the table part of holiday decorating. My kids love to layer linens of different sizes and patterns on the dining room table.

Bows and Ribbon

Bows add holiday flair to most anything. While kids (and many adults) are not necessarily very good at tying bows, purchasing pre-made bows makes it easy for kids to use bows to decorate. Kids can twist them on to balusters or candlesticks, hang them on doorknobs or put them on the Christmas tree. And ribbon, much like fabric, can be draped along with garland or laid across tables like a runner.

Tip: Cut ribbon to the desired length for kids. This is safer when they're young, and it ensures that you won't have a whole spool of ribbon turn into 50 tiny pieces.


Christmas Lights
Laureen Miles Brunelli
All the lights don’t have to go on the Christmas tree or on the front of your house. If your children have an insatiable desire for lights, spread the lights throughout the house. String lights in the play room or their bedrooms, if they are old enough not to touch. Put lights in house plants or even in the kitchen.

Tip: Read up on how to use Christmas lights safely.


With Christmas knickknacks or mangers, do the opposite of what you did with the lights. Instead of spreading them out to every available surface, give the kids a table to build a Christmas village. Layer green and white tablecloths to give it a snowy base and let them arrange (and likely rearrange) their village. For little ones limit them to unbreakable items. And then let them use their imaginations.

Tip: If it bothers you that the the Three Wise Men are paying a visit to the North Pole, don't just change it but instead use it as a discussion opportunity.

Stringing Popcorn or Beads

Stringing beads or making popcorn garland is a fun holiday activity that produces a lovely Christmas decoration in the end. Because stringing popcorn is messy and involves a needle, only older kids can work on this independently. Beads, if they’re large enough, can be worked by very little fingers. The problem for little ones is keeping up a pattern, so make it an extremely simple pattern like alternating two kinds of beads. Or, take a random approach by pouring all beads together and encouraging kids to pick without looking.

Tip: The end result of any beading project is dependent the beads you choose, so select carefully then let your kids use their creativity.


At first blush, it seems the idea of candles and kids doesn’t go together. One Christmas decorating idea with no flame ever required is to combine Christmas balls and candlesticks. Mostly when candles are on display, they are not lit. Let the kids arrange and decorate with candles and candlesticks, but emphasize that they must never light them without an adult. Tea candles arranged on a mirror or, as in this idea, tucked into a tray of cranberries make an easy Christmas decoration.

Tip: If you don’t feel comfortable with lighted tea candles around your children, try battery-operated LED tea candles (Shop Now).

Greens and Nature

Collecting holly or pine branches from the yard is probably as fun for kids as making decorations with greenery. If you don’t have these items in the yard, buy some holly, mistletoe or other greens from a Christmas tree seller or pick up fake greenery at the craft store. About.com Family Crafts Guide has dozens of ideas for Christmas wreaths, but swags can be an even easier.

Tip:Don't throw out the branches cut from the bottom of your tree. Make a swag. Wrap wire around the thick end, cover wire with a bow, attach a few accents, like pine cones, feathers or beads. Maybe even give it a dose of glitter spray or fake snow.

Christmas Train Garden

Trains under the Christmas tree delight children and adults. Christmas train projects can be simple or complex. For an easy Christmas train, lay down a white cloth and ask your child to build a layout with his or her Thomas the Tank Engine (Compare Prices) set or other tracks. Add Christmas crafts like paper Christmas trees or a pine cone snowman. For a more polished Christmas train, buy a train set meant to go under the tree. (Compare Prices). But if trains under the tree just makes your holiday complete, learn model railroading and create a custom-made layout for your Christmas tree.
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