Every year, the holidays remind us of how ever-evolving the American melting pot really is. Customs once carried across oceans and over borders by loved ones get handed down, passed around, and played with. Here are six such homemade adaptations and festive interpretations of international motifs, all of them long on impact and short on time commitment and cash outlay.
In this keepsake wreath, an old-world idea from Eastern Europe takes a modern turn. Polish villagers traditionally fashioned Christmas decorations like stars out of materials they had on hand, such as straw. We used store-bought stars and clustered them around a wire wreath frame for a sculptural, streamlined look.
It's a tip of the beret to the fanciest stores in Paris -- and a reminder that homemade chocolates inside handmade boxes are every bit as extravagant as trinkets picked up in France. The project is as easy as printing our clip art and adhering it to small jewelry boxes (available at boxandwrap.com). The pralines can be prepared a couple of weeks in advance; the truffles, closer to the festivities.
The inspiration for this glitzy table comes from Russia, with love. Paper lanterns are spray-painted gold to resemble the gilded onion domes of the Kremlin, and votive candleholders are wrapped in ornate papers, calling to mind walls of icons. Much of the glamour comes from nothing more than wallpaper, spray paint, and craft punches.
Spanish colonists gave tin to Mexicans, who over the years perfected the art of making bright ornaments from the material. The Mexicans, in turn, gave us the idea of evoking that cheerful, sparkling look with inexpensive materials like foil candy cups.
Traditional German Christmas pyramids originated centuries ago; they depict wintry scenes and have moving parts powered by the rising heat of candles. You can make your own using wooden figurines and watercolor paint -- use it as a whimsical cake topper or make a few and glue them onto wooden favor boxes.
Celebrate the season with crafts, recipes, and party ideas for spring.Get the Ideas