Crafting is an engaging and fun way to spend your free time as an older adult. The result isn’t just great gifts for beloved family members; getting into craft projects comes with an array of health benefits, too. Being hands-on with your favorite Christmas crafts is a great way to keep the mind agile, strengthen motor skills, reduce anxiety, and feel a sense of pride and self-esteem.
What’s more, older adults who engage in crafts such as knitting and pottery are at a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. So what are you waiting for? Check out our 33 fun holiday craft ideas for older adults and get busy!
Fun and Engaging Christmas Craft Ideas for Seniors
1. Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree Ornament
Fold pretty cupcake liners into star shapes or cut out symmetrical holes to make snowflakes and hang them from the Christmas tree. If you want to make something bigger, try a painted or colored-in coffee filter.
2. Pine Cone Christmas Trees
We’ve all seen these and thought how cute they look, and you can make them for yourself! Use a bottle cork for the trunk, paint the pine cones green, and add glitter.
3. Sock Snowman Holiday Themed Decoration
All you need for this are some pretty, festive dollar store socks, rice (or lentils or beans), rubber bands, twine, and buttons for eyes.
4. Properly Festive Fun Christmas Wreath
There are lots of ways to make a lovely Christmas wreath. One of the easiest and most original is made using nothing but gift bows.
5. Hot Cocoa Christmas Decoration
Everyone loves a cup of hot chocolate around the holidays. Fold paper into cups, paint them with festive colors, and fill them with brown tissue paper. Add cotton ball marshmallows and you’ve got the perfect decoration to pop on the Christmas tree.
6. Peanut Snowmen Christmas Ornaments
You’ve probably never thought of this one before, but the results are adorable. Paint shelled peanuts white, use red string for scarves, and different colored tissue paper for hats.
7. Concertina Christmas Tree Holiday Decorations
Fold green paper into a concertina shape as if you’re making a fan and turn it upside down. Cut out circles for baubles and place a gold star at the top.
8. Personalized Stocking for the Holiday Season
For that personal touch, knit Christmas stockings for your family members and embellish with their initials, felt cutouts, and festive stickers.
9. Button Holiday Crafts
Cut paper into Christmas tree shapes and paint or color them brown and green. Use buttons as baubles and finish off with glitter or stars.
10. Coat Hanger Angel Fun Holiday Crafts
Put your old coat hangers to good use and make homemade ornaments out of them. Fold the wire into shape and dress them with wings and clothes made from felt.
11. A Gratitude-Inspired Holiday Decoration
The holidays are a time to take stock and be thankful for what we have. You can make a tree, a giant snowflake, a snowman, an angel, or any other emblem of the holiday season. Encourage friends and family to stick notes about what they’re thankful for onto the gratitude ornament.
12. Santa Advent Calendar
Of course, the young ones will want to see chocolate in their main advent calendar, but making an extra homemade one will really get them in the holiday spirit for the Christmas season. Draw a picture of Santa and cut it out, but write the numbers from 1 to 25 on the beard. Each day, the kids can add a cotton ball to his beard, and by Christmas time, he’ll be complete.
13. Personalized Christmas Cards
Use photos or draw your favorite familiar Christmas symbols for each of your loved ones. Write their name on the front and include a special message just for them.
14. Dried Cranberry Heart
Nothing expresses Christmas cheer like a love heart, and you can make a colorful decoration with little more than some dried cranberries and an old coat hanger.
15. Dried Orange and Spice Christmas Ornaments
Dry orange slices on low heat in the oven overnight or use a dehydrator if you have one. Pin with cloves and tie to a cinnamon stick for a nice Christmas decoration that looks great and smells festive.
16. Paper and Pipe Cleaner Angel Ornaments
Pipe cleaners are a cute way to add sparkle and spice up paper ornaments. Cut paper into angel shapes and use gold and silver pipe cleaners for wings and clothing.
17. Mason Jar Snowman Lights
Put a flameless tealight inside a mason jar, cover the outside in glue, and then roll in fake snow. Add button eyes and pom-pom ears, and tie a little scarf around for the ultimate festive luminary.
18. Felted Acorns
Add colorful mini pom-poms to real acorn shells for an adorable festive decoration. Place in a bowl or use as hanging tree ornaments.
19. Pinecone Gnome Christmas Ornament
This craft is ideal because you get to craft and take a walk out in nature! Paint your pine cones silver or gold and add simple red felt hats for cute gnome decorations.
20. Egg Carton Jingle Bell Christmas Crafts
Jingle bells are a familiar holiday tradition, but not many people know the secret to crafting them by hand. Cut out the bases and paint them red. Paint the excess cardboard green and use it as leaves. Thread green twine through a hole cut in the base to tie the bells.
21. Waterless Snow Globes
Water-filled snow globes can be fussy to make, but waterless ones are a cinch. Fill with glitter or snow and a cute festive scene and you’ve got fun for the whole family in a globe.
22. Craft Stick Gingerbread Houses
Everyone loves making gingerbread houses at Christmas, and you can extend this tradition to your decor. Use beads, craft sticks, and white and red twine to make hanging houses that will last the whole winter season.
23. Walnut Shell Mangers
There’s something undeniably lovely about walnut shell mangers, and you can make them even sweeter by filling them with tiny knitted blankets and a large bead for baby Jesus’ head.
24. Layered Felt Christmas Trees
Layered felt trees are one of the wonderful crafts for older adults that look complicated and elegant but are surprisingly easy to make. Simply cut out circular shapes from felt, fold in half and place a dot of glue in the center of each piece. Then, fold the circle again. Repeat with four or five layers, and use a wooden ball for the base.
25. Bowtie Pasta Holiday Crafts
Bowtie pasta crafts are a simple but effective way to add some texture and different shapes to your array of festive decorations. Paint gold or silver and string together for a simple but impactful garland.
26. Clothes Peg Christmas Characters
If you’re a fan of fiddly work, try making clothes peg characters. You can paint anything onto pegs, from penguins to elves and snowmen.
27. Upcycle Your Jar Lids
Instead of throwing away lids, use them to make adorable decorations. Paint the lids, add glitter, and finish with shapes made from felt and paper. The possibilities are endless.
28. Pop-Up Snowman Fun Holiday Crafts
The sad thing about snowmen is that they all eventually melt. These pop-up snowmen will last the entire Christmas season and are super-easy to make. All you need to do is cut out circles of white card, tape them together with craft tape, and hang from cute white ribbons.
29. Crochet-Look Tin Can Snowmen and Christmas Tree Crafts
Another sumptuous-looking craft that’s easier than it looks. Wrapping good quality yarn around a tin can gives the appearance it’s been crocheted. Use white yarn for snowmen and green yarn for trees, with buttons and pins for detail.
30. Cookie Cutter Christmas Tree Decorations
The best thing about cookie cutters is that they already come in a wide range of festive shapes. Simply paint them and add glitter to give them that extra pizzazz. Then, give them to loved ones or hang them on the tree yourself.
31. Flowerpot Santa in the Chimney
Paint a flowerpot to look like a chimney. Then, use craft sticks, felt and a foam ball to make the bottom half of Santa. Place him upside down in the chimney, put a sack full of mini presents next to him, and delight children and adults alike.
32. Safety Pin Bracelets
If you have young grandchildren, this is a gift they’ll have endless fun dressing up and playing pretend with. If you love a fiddly task, adorn safety pins with small beads and loop onto a simple piece of string or a metal bracelet.
33. Beaded Necklaces
If fine work isn’t your thing, get large beads and a simple dollar store necklace. Choose festive colors of red, green, white, gold, and silver and a selection of bead textures for a necklace that’s sure to delight.
For more fun activity ideas check out our post, holiday activities for older adults.