While not strictly speaking a craft, you could also use Dad's shaving foam to make a 'Santa beard' before bathtime. Great fun!
Older children might enjoy threading popcorn onto string for a traditional 'tinsel' (one best avoided if you've got pets or mice), making pom poms from glittery wool, creating Christmas crackers, or converting promotional fridge magnets into Christmas magnets with the simple addition of paper cut to the right size and glued on top.
Last year's Christmas cards can be turned into fantastic looking bunting in this project. There's another idea here to make a Christmas tree from magazines but if you really want to see your child labour, try getting the kiddy to do the same with a phone book instead. (Seriously – I did it as a kid, although that was before my folks got a TV.)
Children over eight could make little origami envelopes. These can be used to hang small gifts on a tree. If you tack a number of them to a notice board, hey presto you've got an original advent calendar. They're also handy for packaging small gifts like earrings. I'll include how-to instructions at the end of this article.
Jack-in-the-box style chain instructions: You'll need two rolls of crepe paper (available in supermarkets) or two long paper strips about 2.5cm wide and of even length created from, for example, junk mail and newspaper classifieds for colour contrast. Also, sticky tape or a stapler.
1. Lay the crepe paper rolls at right angles and join the ends with sticky tape or a staple.
2. Lift each one over the other in turn, folding them down firmly as you go. Little Miss Three and I did this together, with her lifting over and me doing the folding. (Keep the folded squares pushed down throughout.)
Origami decorations or packaging instructions:
You'll need paper (new or used), string or ribbon, and scissors. A hole punch is useful but not essential. Hole re-inforcing stickers make for a more polished, reusable end product but are not really necessary.
1. Start with a square piece of paper. Vintage maps, sheet music or magazine pages work particularly well. Fold it corner-to-corner.
3. Fold the little flap (single thickness of paper) at the top down to make a triangle. Tuck this triangle into the pocket formed by the corner folded across in the last step. Flatten. Turn over. Repeat on the other side.