Despite what the latest TikToks and reels might say, you don’t have to put yourself in debt to mark the change of seasons and bring a little winter hygge to your home. Check out these affordable, fun, and family-friendly activities and do them on your own terms.
Whether you switch your decor the day after Thanksgiving, mark the change on the winter solstice, or wait until the end of January, these DIY crafts are a simple and fun way to get outside, slow down, and celebrate all that winter has to offer.
While many of these are suited to younger artists, they’re also wonderful activities for grownups with and (without) little ones at home. Remember—if you’re crafting, you can’t doom scroll. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Take a walk around the neighborhood or through a local green space to collect your favorite pinecones. Consider doing this on a sunny, dry day so the pinecones aren’t wet or covered in snow. After your adventure, transition to some quieter table time (or craft outside if the weather permits). Get your glue, glitter, construction paper, pom poms, string, pipe cleaners, and newly found objects like leaves and sticks from nature. Put on some festive music and come up with a few designs. This is a great open-ended art activity that will hold your children’s interest because there’s no “right” way to complete this project! When you’re done, display them on a mantel or counter, or add a pipe cleaner to the top and hang them from a holiday tree or hook.
Wreaths are symbolic in cultures, religions, and holidays around the world. The circular shape has no beginning or end, and the materials used are able to last throughout the colder months, providing a sense of comfort and hope when the days are shorter. Get some Vitamin D outside and collect things like long grass, evergreen branches, small pinecones or acorns, and bird feathers. You can add items from your home like cinnamon sticks, dried flowers, or crafting supplies. When it comes to the structure of the wreath, use wire to make a circle and wrap the longer items around the wire until it doesn’t show, reinforce it with more wire or string, and then glue or tie the decorations on the circle afterward. Consider watching a few YouTube tutorials (sneak in some cultural education!) and find the best method for your family. Display your wreath indoors or outside.
In wintertime, food sources dwindle for wildlife, and a bird feeder can help our feathered friends. Check your recycling bin for things like tea boxes, plastic milk jugs, and cereal boxes that make excellent feeders. Cut the cardboard or plastic to make a little spot that a bird could easily access, being careful to avoid creating sharp edges. Use string, pipe cleaners, or even strong grass to tie a little handle over the top. Alternatively, if you have access to—or can borrow from your library—wood and tools, this could be a great construction craft for your family. Decorate the outside or leave it as it is, then fill the container with bagged bird food, nuts, seeds, or oatmeal. Carefully place the bird feeder in a bag or box to avoid crushing it and find a place where you’re permitted to hang it (as high as you can so animals don’t steal the seeds or threaten the birds). Wait to see who comes to visit and remember to refill or retrieve it once it’s empty—otherwise, it’s litter!