• DIY: Customised ChristmasIt's Christmas! Well, nearly…

    This year, why not avoid the craziness of Christmas shopping and get crafty? Getting busy with your hands and making beautiful things is most definitely one of the most productive things you can do while relaxing, and it's easier than you might think to do Christmas yourself this year. Read on for some of our favourite ideas and top tips to festive-up your home this season… Enjoy!


    Starting upstairs in the home, the bedroom is usually neglected in terms of festive cheer. In many cases, it's because it simply gets the kids way too excited before Christmas Eve even arrives - but there are definite ways of adding a subtle hint of festive cheer into their rooms without creating chaos.

    One such way is with the Christmas stocking! More and more families are opting to hang the stocking on the end of the bed, which leaves the perfect opportunity to get creative. A personalised stocking is always such a lovely touch - and it doesn't have to cost the earth. Consider buying a cheaper stocking that you can decorate yourself. Ribbon glued to the top creates the perfect place to hang a festive decoration from, and you could even create name badges or 'buttons' from shrink plastic to attach to the stocking.


    These shrink plastic decorations are so easy to make. Invest in some white shrink plastic, draw on your designs and cut them out before popping them in the oven. After three minutes, you'll see the plastic begin to melt and shrink (so start much larger than you intend), with your design staying perfectly neat in the middle. Ideal for gluing onto stockings for an added embellishment!


    Living room

    When it comes to décor, the living room will always be the room that gets the most attention. Here, the tree proudly stands, presents are unwrapped and the infamous Christmas specials get watched - but that doesn't mean that you can't personalise or make things here too!

    Christmas tree decorations are always a firm favourite for children to make - there are few things more exciting than hanging your own handiwork on the tree in pride of place (to be subtly rearranged when bedtime comes, of course). Salt dough remains a firm favourite when it comes to making decorations, and you can find a great recipe for the mix here. The easy-to-shape nature of the dough is great for kids to get stuck into, and once baked, it creates a nice surface on which to decorate. You could even add food colouring to the mix to eliminate the painting stage as time is of the essence!


    Along with tree decorations, Christmas cards are also an integral part of the season. Though we find ourselves sending more and more each year, making all your own cards doesn't have to be time consuming. In fact, it seems a quick visit to your DIY store could have all you need, and for free (if you don't mind being a little cheeky, that is!).


    Pick up some swatches of green shades, and cut them into one long, tall triangle. Affix this to a card (don't be afraid to get creative with colours - dark greys and black offer a chic Christmas vibe, or use brown card for a more vintage feel) and decorate with a stump, snowflakes or anything else you like!

    Though it might not be worth doing this for the kids, wrapping paper can also be customised by you! Kraft wrap is available cheaply in many home shops on the high street, and makes for the perfect base. Why not decorate with festive stamps for a homemade but still elegant look? Swap out your black ink for white for a really festive feel!


    Dining room

    When it comes to the main event - Christmas dinner - there is only one place where your family and friends are going to convene, and that's the dining room. Though your tree might be in the lounge, a centrepiece for the table will really create the festive atmosphere you're after.

    On the theme of trees, you might like to try this paper-folding origami-inspired structure! All it involves is one magazine, and a little bit of patience when it comes to folding. Open the magazine - soft covers are best - and fold one corner to the middle of the page, then take the new edge you've just made and fold it to the inside spine. This creates your first triangle, and then you just repeat this on all the pages until complete! On the last triangle, stand it up and affix the covers with a lick of glue to hold it together. Dusted with a little glitter, the magazine pages can look brilliant!


    Of course, you could always make a spectacle of your table with some edible goods, too. Anyone with a healthy eater at their lunch would do well to create this marvel of a centrepiece: a tree made from fresh fruit!


    Using an apple as your base, affix a carrot to the top of it with cocktail sticks. Next, put more cocktail sticks into your carrot and place strawberries and grapes onto these. Once your structure feels a little more built out, you can fill in the gaps with more fruit. Kiwi, watermelon shapes and even blueberries make for a really colourful display - topped off with a melon star, of course!


    Though crafts and the outdoors don't traditionally go terribly well together (British rain isn't the best for paper goods), there is still something you can make for the outdoors - a festive Christmas wreath for your front door!

    Of course, you can always opt for the traditional option of weaving your wreath from chopped Christmas tree branches, but why not create something that you can use year after year? Make the most out of your baubles with a potentially colourful creation.


    The base is a cylindrical length of foam that can be cut to length and attached at the ends in order to create a hood - this is available in most craft stores. Next, you get busy gluing baubles to the hoop! Hot glue from a glue gun is likely to last the longest, and don't forget to put the larger baubles directly onto the hoop. You can then build your wreath out from there with baubles of all sizes!

    Why not match the baubles colours to your inside theme? Whether you're using traditional reds and greens or modern monochrome, there's plenty to be done with this wreath. Attach a ribbon and hang on your front door to add a tasteful dose of Christmas to the outside of your home!

    However you choose to decorate your home for Christmas, we're sure it'll look fantastic. Merry Christmas, and enjoy the New Year!