Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Diwali, or Festivus (the holiday “for the rest of us”), here are creative holiday crafts you can make with your hands — literally.
Five-Finger Christmas Trees
Grab some finger paint and construction paper and get to work with your children on this one. Using brown paint on the tip of your pointer finger, make a vertical line for the tree’s trunk. Then press both hands in green paint. Press your hands at the bottom of the tree trunk, fanning out your green fingers to make the branches. Lift hands, re-dip, and press again, repeating until you get to the top of the tree’s trunk. Wash hands in warm soapy water. Now comes the real fun: dip every fingertip in a different color. Press your rainbow of fingertips on the green branches to make the ornaments!
A menorah has eight candles and one long one in the middle, called the Shamash. Press palms and fingers in yellow paint. Press hands onto construction paper, fingers pointed straight up, and thumbs on top of each other. The single thumbprint will be the Shamash candle. After you press down once, repeat just the thumb on top of thumbprint, directly above the first print, so that the Shamash candle is longer than the rest. Wash hands in warm soapy water. Press fingers and one thumb in red paint. Then use your red thumb to light the menorah. Press the red thumb above the Shamash candle, so it looks like a flame. You can use your other red fingertips to light the other eight candles on your menorah.
Diwali is the festival of lights for Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. Rangoli is a traditional decorative folk art from India. These star-in-circle designs are made on floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals. Spread out your fingers and trace your hand on a square piece of cloth. Any old cloth will do — go to Jo-Ann Fabrics or even cut a tea towel or an oilcloth. Squeeze fabric glue over the entire inside of the hand pattern that you created. Take some rice, dry flour, or even flower petals, and sprinkle them over the glue. Let it dry. Then squeeze fabric glue in the triangle of space between each finger on the pattern on your cloth. Use a different material to fill these spaces, so they contrast with whatever you used to fill the hand. Colored sand works well. When this dries, you’ll have created a beautiful Ringoli pattern to celebrate Diwali.
High-Five for Festivus
Festivus is the holiday “for the rest of us.” If you don’t remember the Seinfeld episode, you can find it here. The Airing of Grievances is a famous Festivus pastime. Use all five fingers to count out those. Here’s a sample: 1) You pee on the same tree as the dog; 2) You rolled your eyes at my mother; 3) You pick your nose when you drive; 4) You watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and 5) I can’t stop loving you.
Pari Chang is an attorney, professional journalist, and freelance writer for Vistaprint, a leading provider of custom Christmas and holiday cards. Pari’s work has been featured in The New York Times, SELF, and Redbook.