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Kids love to make their own holiday decorations and gifts.

Here are a few crafts that can decorate a tree or make a present for a grandparent.

Google-eyed Reindeer

• From: Chelsea Rathie, William R. Lowe Child Care and Enrichment Center at Montana State University Billings.

• Tips: Decide on a size of candy cane first and then make certain the sizes of eyes and red pompom are a good match for the candy cane.

These reindeer make good Christmas-tree ornaments or decorations for gift packages.

Materials:

Cellophane-wrapped candy canes

Brown pipe cleaners

Wiggle eyes

Red pompom

Glue gun

With glue gun, glue a red pompom to the top end of the candy cane.

Glue the eyes a short distance up toward the curve.

Wrap a brown pipe cleaner around the curve of the candy cane and twist to secure. Form antlers by pinching bends in the pipe cleaner.

Handprint Wreath

• From: Lolly Montez, Little Seeds Early Childhood Center.

• Tips: Montez suggests using "tacky glue" found at crafts store, which dries quicker than other glues and helps paper parts adhere together.

Materials:

3 to 4 sheets of green construction paper

1 sheet of red construction paper

Paper plate or a 9-inch diameter circle cut out of poster board

Glue

Trace your child's hand on green construction paper. Cut out 10 to 15 hands.

Glue hands on the plate, fanning them around the plate, leaving a circle of white space in the middle.

Lightly tracing with a pencil a 3-inch-diameter circle in the center can provide a guide to keep hand prints even around the wreath. A cup makes a good pattern to trace around.

Children can dip the tip of their index fingers into red paint and press around the wreath to make red berries.

Cut out a bow from red construction paper and glue on wreath. Or tie a bow from leftover Christmas ribbon and glue to the wreath.

For a special gift, a circular photo of a child can be glued in the center of the wreath. Or a holiday message can be written on the white space with red or green markers.

Corny Santa Face

• From: Debby Lane, Friendship House of Christian Service.

• Tips: Use any washable white glue or craft glue to paste popcorn on the paper plate. A glue stick won't work.

Miniature marshmallows also can be used instead of popcorn for Santa's beard, but young children may be tempted to eat too many of the sugary treats.

Materials:

Popped popcorn

Paper plate or a 9-inch-diameter circle of poster board

Glue

Red construction paper

Black marker

Draw Santa's face with eyes, nose and mouth in the middle of a paper plate.

Cut out a Santa hat from red construction paper. Instead of cutting a point at the end of the hat, cut a circle to allow space to glue on popcorn for a pompom.

Glue hat to the top of the paper plate.

Glue popcorn under Santa's mouth for a beard, just under the hat for hair and on the pompom at the tip of the hat.

Christmas Tree

• From: Nancy Baxter, Community Day Care and Enrichment Center.

• Tips: Children of all ages can make this Christmas tree. Even 2-year-olds can help with painting.

Young children can decorate the painted tree with stickers. Older children can cut out ornaments from construction paper and paste them on the tree.

Materials:

White paper lunch bags

Green tempera craft paint

Newspaper

1 sheet of yellow construction paper

Christmas stickers

Glue

Paint a white lunch bag with green craft paint. Be careful not to tear the wet bag as you paint.

Stuff bag with crumpled newspaper. Draw the top into a peak and staple shut.

Cut out two stars of the same shape and size from yellow construction paper. Glue them together over the top of the tree to cover the staple.

Decorate the rest of the tree with stickers or ornaments cut from construction paper. Or paint on decorations with craft paint.

Contact Mary Pickett at mpickett@billingsgazette.com or 657-1262.

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