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How to Make the Finest Holiday Cards

Cute-as-a-Button Snowman

1 sheet of blue construction paper
Craft glue
3 large white buttons
4 miniature black pom-poms
1-inch square of orange felt
2-inch square of black felt
6 miniature white pom-poms
1 white pipe cleaner
1 red pipe cleaner
Snowflake hole punch, optional
1 sheet of white paper, optional

1. Fold sheet of blue paper in half. Trim ½ inch from each open side so folded card is 7½ x 5 inches. Glue buttons onto card for snowman's body. Glue black pom-poms to top button for eyes. Cut orange felt in a tiny, narrow triangle for nose; glue in place. Add additional black pom-poms to the center button to make coat buttons.
2. Cut a hat shape from the black felt; glue in place. Use the white pom-poms for the snowman's arms.
3. Twist pipe cleaners together. Cut a 1½-inch piece and bend into a candy-cane shape. Glue alongside one arm.
4. Use hole punch to create white-paper snowflakes, if desired. Glue onto paper. Let dry for 30 minutes.

Sweet Wreath

1 sheet of fun foam (green, blue, or other holiday color)
Hole punch
8-inch length of ribbon
About 20 candy wrappers
Craft glue

1. Cut two 5-x-6-inch pieces from the foam. Stack pieces; cut off excess from sides so the two pieces line up.
2. Punch two holes through both layers at top. Thread ribbon through the holes and tie into a bow.
3. Fold or scrunch up wrappers and glue in a circle to the front of the card.

Splatter Stencils

1 sheet of construction paper
5-inch square of cardboard
Old toothbrush
¼ cup water-based paint (silver, gold, or another holiday color)
Scrap paper

1. Fold the construction paper in half lengthwise. Trim 1 inch along the shorter edge and set aside.
2. On the cardboard, draw a simple 2-inch shape, such as a star, tree, or candy cane. Carefully cut out the shape to create your stencil.
3. Protect work surface with newspapers. Wet the toothbrush and dip it into the paint. Show your child how to run his fingertip along the bristles to splatter the paint. Practice a few times on scrap paper first. Then place the stencil on top of the folded card and let your child carefully splatter the paint over the cutout in the stencil. Remove the stencil; let the paint dry for about 30 minutes. Repeat as many times as you like. Wash your hands thoroughly when finished.

Chain o' Claus

1 sheet of red construction paper
1 sheet of white felt (8 x 11 inches) or white cotton balls
Craft glue
Black marker
1-inch square of aluminum foil
Medium colored pom-poms, optional

1. Fold the construction paper accordion-style, horizontally, so you have four sections. On the top fold, draw a Santa shape; be sure both arms reach the edges. While holding the folded paper, cut out the shape, being careful not to cut through the arm on the folded side. Slowly pull apart the edges of the paper - you'll have four connecting Santas.
2. Fold down the pointy tops of each hat. Cut out four beard shapes and four hat-trim pieces from the white felt. Cut out white felt pom-poms or use small pieces of cotton balls. Glue the beards, hat trim, and pom-poms in place.
3. Use the black marker to draw eyes on all Santas. Draw belts on the two end Santas, and glue two squares of aluminum foil to the center of each belt. Or glue medium pom-poms to the front of Santa's coat, if desired. Color in Santa's black boots.
4. Let the garland dry for about 15 minutes, then fold back up, and it's ready for delivery. (You might write on the back that the feet can be folded up to make the garland stand.)

It's a Wrap!

1 sheet of white construction paper
Wrapping-paper scraps
Craft glue
Old toothbrush
¼ cup water-based green paint
Scrap paper
Black marker

1. Fold the construction paper in half. Set aside.
2. Cut out ornament shapes—Christmas balls, trees, angels, or stars - from wrapping-paper scraps. Try using different paper patterns to create several pretty ornaments. You might also cut a narrow strip from one piece of wrapping paper and glue it onto an ornament cutout as an extra decorative touch, as in photo, above. Set aside.
3. Wet the toothbrush and dip it lightly into the paint, then show your child how to gently press the bristles onto paper so they fan out slightly, to create pine-tree branches. Have your child practice first on a piece of scrap paper, then help her press the brush onto the card paper. Let the paint dry for about 20 minutes.
4. Glue ornament cutouts to the branches (a few can "dangle" below them). Use the black marker to draw hooks on the ornaments.

Photos: John Gruen