For many, green holly leaves and bright red berries are symbolic of Christmas. Here’s a useful craft that your kids can make to bring a touch of classic holly to your holiday table. These simple yet stylish place cards will make guests smile, and make fun conversation starters at dinner. And the best news? Young hands hone fine motor skills in a multitude of ways, including tracing and cutting holly leaf shapes, and taping, gluing, and writing guest’s names in their best printing. This is a great activity for older children to do with younger siblings, too!
What You Need:
- Plain paper
- Green card stock
- Red craft foam, felt or card stock; or, mini red pom-poms
- Glitter glue in silver and gold
- Toilet paper tube, cut down to 1 3/8” to 1 ½” wide pieces
- Transparent tape
- Red tissue paper or gift-wrap
- Black felt tip pen
What You Do:
- Prepare templates ahead of time. Simply draw and cut holly shapes onto a plain piece of paper and ask your child to trace them onto the green card stock with a pencil. Your child will need two leaves per place card.
- Have your child cut the shapes out. Holly can be tricky for small hands to cut out but the good thing is that they are very forgiving, so don’t be concerned with having your child do it perfectly.
- Lay one leaf over another so that they overlap or fan out slightly.
- Help your child glue the two into place.
- While the leaves dry, have your child punch holes in the red craft foam, felt or card stock. These will be the berries. Ask her to make three berries per pair of leaves.
- Glue three of the berries onto each pair of leaves. Or, if you are using mini pom-poms, apply a dot of glue underneath the center of all three of them and adhere them to the pair of leaves.
- Have your child trace around the outer edge of the leaves with glitter glue.
- Repeat with the rest of the place cards and set them aside to dry for several hours, or until the glitter glue is completely dry.
- While those are drying, ask your child to work on covering the toilet paper tubes. Have her roll each tube in red tissue paper and tuck the sides inside the tube. A small piece of tape on either side will keep the tissue ends secure inside the tube. To make it a little bit fancier, wrap the tubes in shiny red gift wrap. It helps to pre-measure and cut the tissue paper or gift wrap to fit the toilet paper rolls so that the child can focus on wrapping and taping them.
- Help your child practice the alphabet by asking her to print each guest’s name onto the place cards with a felt tip pen. Encourage her to sound out the letters, but if she needs a little help, say the letters out loud while she writes them down.
- Glue each place card onto the back of a wrapped toilet paper ring. Set the tubes down so that the glue can set without the leaves sliding around. After a couple of hours, your child can set the table with the gorgeous new place cards! Gently tuck a festive napkin through the tube and set it atop the dinnerware, or simply rest the place cards in front of each place setting. Either way, they will make a splash with your holiday guests!
Did You Know?
Significant meaning was attributed to this beautiful berry-producing plant throughout the ages. The Druids believed that holly possessed magical powers that could ward off evil spirits and misfortune. Romans associated holly with Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest, and hung boughs of holly during the Saturnalia festival for good luck. Christians adopted the tradition of decorating with holly during Christmas, but used it to symbolize their religious beliefs. The prickly holly leaves symbolized the crown of thorns that were placed on Jesus’ head prior to his crucifixion, and the berries represented the blood that was shed when he died.