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Ornament Gift Bags & Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”

~ Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), English political leader.

So much of the joys of the holidays stem from the traditions that anchor us and help us relive past holidays. As a family, we have made several traditions over the past 20 years:

  • We attend the 5 pm Christmas Eve church service and then have dinner at my parent’s home
  • Kate and Rob exchange their gifts with each other on Christmas Eve
  • We always watch the movie, A Christmas Story (“You’ll poke your eye out!) on Christmas Eve
  • My parents (who live 1 mile away) come to our home at 7 a.m. Christmas morning, at which time we all open our stocking gifts
  • The kids then take turns being the ‘elf’ on Christmas morning and hand out gifts to each of us, one at a time, so that our Christmas gift opening lasts most of the morning
  • We have Christmas brunch and dinner at our house

In addition to those listed above, we have one more Christmas tradition.  I’m not sure when this tradition started, but for many years my mom has placed a small wrapped gift on each of our Christmas Eve dinner plates.  Inside each box is an ornament that chose because of its significance to the recipient.  The opening of the gifts is a very methodical process, each of us watching as an ornament is unwrapped.   The conversation then turns to why this ornament is perfect for the person who just received it. 

Ornament Gift Bags & Christmas Traditions

Several years back, I jumped in and started doing the same thing, but my ornaments have been gifted at Christmas morning breakfast.  Not only did I want to enjoy the fun of finding the perfect ornament for each family member, but I wanted mom to have an ornament that she didn’t have to pick out for herself.

I’m so excited about the ornaments that I found for this year…I bought them a couple of days after Christmas last year and have been chomping at the bit since then to see everyone’s face when they open their ornament. #bestChristmasOrnamentsEVER!  I think my giddiness over these ornaments this year is what prompted me to make these little bags to give them in.  After I made my snowflake napkins, the red snowflake thing has become the ‘theme’ of my Christmas breakfast table and these bags fit in perfectly with the Snowflake plan.

What You Need to Make 6 Ornament Gift Bags with 4″ Base:

How To Make Ornament Gift Bags:

  • Using pattern, cut out circles from your fabric for the base of your bags.  Just in case you don’t have a 4″ circle lying about, I’ve attached a PDF that you can use to print off and cut your base from.  You can make the base your bags bigger or smaller, but the measurements I refer to assume a  4″ base.
Base for drawstring bags_20151130_0001

Base for Drawstring Bags

  • Using the following diagram as a guideline, cut your fabric for the sides of your bags.  I didn’t have a piece of paper big enough nor a scanner that would accommodate a bigger piece of paper, so I just sketched out what I did on my fabric.  But remember, it’s Not to Scale!  However, the measurements indicated are the measurements I did use when I cut the material for my bags.  
    sides of drawstring bags_20151130_0002
  •  Pin the bag bottom/base 1/2″ in from the end of the widest end of your bag side.
pin half inch in drawstring bag
  • Sew the bottom/base of the bag to the side of the bag.  Slowly stitch, moving the bottom circle to align as much as possible with the straight edge of  your fabric.  Because a picture is worth a thousand words, see the video below to better illustrate what you need to do.
    sewing machine drawstring bag
  • Starting at the seam that you just sewed which attached the bottom to the sides, mark 5 1/2 inches up from the bottom seam.  Sew a seam, starting at the seam you just sewed and stopping at the mark you just made.
  • measuring 5.5 from bottom seam
    Following side seam, iron down sides of fabric above where your seam stopped.  See the illustration below.  Then turn under and iron 1/4″ on the top, opening, of the bag.
iron seam drawstring bag
  • Fold the top of the bag in half, having the folded 1/4″ you just ironed meet with the seam you just sewed up the side.
finish top of drawstring bag
  • Sew a seam, as shown in the picture above.
  • Measure the width of your ribbon, then add about 1/8″ to that.  Run a seam around your bag.  You are creating the channel for your ribbon.
  • Run your ribbon through your ribbon channel
  • Use spray adhesive to stick your snowflakes on each bag.  I sprayed one side of the snowflake (I did this outside) and then mounted it onto the bags.
  • I added little tags to each bag, thinking that they will stay on the bags so that each person will have their own bag again next year.  
    Ornament Gift Bags & Christmas Traditions
Ornament Gift Bags & Christmas Traditions

The ornaments are already in the bags (Kate did this when she was home for Thanksgiving, except for hers of course) and they are ready for Christmas morning.  

I love that when my children set up their homes, they will have a collection of ornaments that were picked out especially for them over the years.

Ornament Gift Bags & Christmas Traditions

Are you dying to see the ornaments and know why they are so special this year?  I can’t tell you because my mom reads my blog! (‘Hi Mom!’)

It's a family tradition to exchange ornaments on Christmas morning and these little bags are just the perfect size. Gifts.

I’d love to hear your Christmas traditions!  It’s never too late to start a new tradition in my book, so please share them. 

Thanks again for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me today.

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Until next time…









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    1. Thanks Erica, With your wee one and one on the way, it’s such a great time to start some traditions specific to your little family. My kiddos are older and I my heart gets all warm and fuzzy when I think back to the days when our family was just starting to grow. Soak it up.
      Have a wonderful day, Lynn

  1. Lynn, it sounds like you have the perfect Christmas with your family… your traditions are so special. I like that your parents come at 7 am to spend Christmas day with you. And these little ornament gift bags for the special ornaments are so adorable. I love them and they look lovely on your table all set up. What a beautiful tradition Lynn! I can imagine how exciting it must have been preparing them! Traditions are just what makes this holiday so merry and wonderful I think. We’ve always spent Christmas with friends, since we lived in Spain and Canada and my parents passed. So we don’t have an exact tradition. We do give our gifts on the evening of the 24th, which is a German tradition and I always liked to keep that one.We prepare the cookies and milk and water for the reindeer and then my husband goes outside with the girls to look for Santa and I set up all the presents, so when they come back, Santa had been here, but in a rush, he did manage to have a cookie or two on the way out, but I never seem to catch him or chat with him. The reindeer spill water all over the place and well, the presents are under the tree. So exciting every year. When I was a kid, we used to watch a typical Christmas movie in Germany, which is the Czech Version of cinderella, and they only show it during Christmas time on TV. It’s a beautiful version. I think this year I could start watching it with my girls since they are older now… Have a great night!!!

    1. Hi Katrin, first things first…watched WD yesterday! How long do we have to wait until it resumes? Do you know? That show is just one big cliffhanger after another. Argh!

      OK…now on to Christmas traditions…how was that for a segue? I would imagine your holiday traditions are a sampling from all the countries in which you’ve lived…how wonderful! And your description of your German Christmas Eve tradition is so vivid…I can picture you sprinkling water through the air and jamming a cookie in your mouth at the same time. How wonderful! I can also imagine all the dads in Germany popping outside around the same time of evening with their wee ones while mom lays everything out. How fun! When my kids were younger we made footprints out of flour (to look like snow) that led from the fireplace to the tree even though we lived in Tennessee at the time and there was no snow to be found!

      It’s these memories that make this such a special time of year!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your traditions!


  2. Lynn everything is so beautiful. The bag for the ornaments, which of course now I’m dying to see. And all of those very special traditions carried out by your family. I grew up in the States so we used to open the presents on Christmas morning. But since moving to Greece we have discovered that the tradition here is to open the gifts on New Years Day because that is St. Basil’s nameday. That is what Santa is called here. (There is also a St. Nick but he is celebrated in November.) Anyway we came to Greece and I didn’t change my tradition because I wanted my kids to enjoy their presents for the full 2 weeks they were off from school, and not have to wait another week to open the gifts. So that is one of our traditions. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Hi Mary, It’s always so interesting to have such different traditions that you try to ‘meld’ together. And there’s nothing wrong with celebrating both! I mean, who’s going to complain about getting gifts twice in one week!? How old were your children when you moved to Greece? how long have you been there? My father was in the Navy and I spent several years in Hawaii and Guam, but I don’t remember the ‘big’ traditions being very different from what we had back in the states. We didn’t have a fireplace in either place, so there was no ‘Santa coming down the chimney’, but I don’t remember that issue causing me any concern.
      I’ll show/tell the ornaments after Christmas!
      Thanks for visiting today, Lynn

  3. I love having family traditions. Our daughter is 3, so every year we’re making new ones.

    I don’t know how to sew, but the ornament gift bags are adorable! I’d love to be able to make something so personalized for my family.


    1. Hi Lindsey, thanks for stopping by today. You are at such a great place with your 3 year old…perfect time to starting new traditions. It’s so much fun to see the holiday through their eyes.
      I enjoyed reading your post on finding the positive things in life…such a good reminder for us, every day, and especially during the busy holidays. Thanks for sharing it.

      Hugs, Lynn

  4. Lynn, these bags are so pretty, and I’m sure they are as much of a keepsake as the ornaments. How special to pull them out to decorate and to store your special tree ornaments! And each recipient knows how much thought and care you put into choosing it and making the bag. They will always have these and can pass them down to their family and continue the tradition. How lovely. You have all begun such a lovely event that will be added to as the family grows! I love it. Really, I’m moving in! LOL

    1. Hi Nikki, I initially thought about using the same bags each year, but you’ve got me thinking that it may be fun to make new ones each year…great plan, we’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty pleased with the bags and they were quite easy to make. Now I just have to wait until Christmas morning when everyone opens them up and we get to giggle a some of them. Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your good vibes here.

      Have a great weekend, Lynn

  5. I have gotten my daughter an ornament each year for some thirty years, and now her three daughters also. It’s getting more difficult to find something special. Any suggestions for new places to look? Love the little bags. I make a point of adding the year somewhere on the ornament with a gold pen.

    1. Hi Ann, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that mom isn’t reading this…think I’m safe. I found each family member’s favorite food (some are a bit of a joke) at Sur La Table for this Christmas. I got them right after Christmas last year and found them on sale. I agree with you that it’s hard to find something new each year and we definitely have ‘variations on a theme’ for many of our ornaments. It’s definitely something that I keep on the lookout for all year and am always open to using items that are not ‘traditional’ Christmas ornaments.

      I wish we had been as good as you at marking the year on each ornaments…we’ve been hit or miss on that. Good luck finding ornaments for your daughter and grand daughters and thanks for visiting today.


      1. I have one granddaughter who likes to knit, Hallmark had a ornament that is a ball of yarn with needles, so cute! Past hobbies and interests have been able to be translated into ornaments. But now they are getting older . Thanks for the new idea. Merry Christmas.

  6. I loved reading about your traditions, and the Christmas ornament bags sound wonderful. And yes I am dying to know what you’ve chosen and why, you’ll share after Christmas won’t you? I’m really looking forward to building Christmas traditions with my son. In a few years time he will act as the elf giving out the presents from under the tree, at the moment it’s still my job! I love it 🙂 x

    1. Good Evening Rebecca, so glad you stopped by for a visit. Just had a lovely time waltzing through your blog…first of all, a very attractive blog. Your photography is quite lovely. And you will be so glad you’ve documented these days with Frey. I was never a journaler and now that my oldest is in college, I would love to be able to sit down and read the stories of when she was a baby.
      You’ll have fun being Elf and Frey will be so fun at Christmas, it will surely be magical. Soak it up!
      I’ve pinned your coconut and pistachio bark to add to our Christmas treats. Thanks for sharing it.

      Have a great Sunday, Lynn

  7. We had a few traditions growing up, but now that I am a mom, my husband and I are starting to figure out what traditions we want to make for our family. Our oldest turns three in a few days, so she is just starting to get excited about Christmas! It’s going to be so much fun this year!

    1. Oh Jessica, you are going to have so much fun seeing Christmas through the eyes of your 3 year old! I remember those days so well! Love my big kids, but this time of year I do wish I could shrink them back down to a 3-year old. Magical! Enjoy Christmas.


  8. Lynn, these are such fun traditions! I love the bag you made and the red snowflake is the perfect festive accent. I know the ornaments inside are really special to your family. I love that you search for just the right one and then get excited waiting for the reveal. That’s so sweet. Hugs, CoCo

    1. Thanks Coco, I am really excited about gifting these this year. Don’t you love that as a parent we count the days down to give the gifts when as a child we counted the days to get the gifts. These are going to prompt some great laughter around the breakfast table on Christmas morning. 17 days!!!
      Thanks for visiting.

      Kisses, Lynn

  9. What a fun tradition! And I love the bags you created for gifting your ornaments. My mom still gives me, and now my husband, a special ornament every year. It’s the gift I most look forward to 🙂 Thank you for linking up to our Creative Spark Party – I’m featuring your festive ornament bags this week! Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks Emily and thanks for featuring my bags. The family traditions we make and pass down are one of the reasons why Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Now that my kids are getting older, I realize how much they matter to them too.
      The bags are all filled and ready for Christmas morning. Can’t wait for everyone to see their gifts!
      Have a wonderful Christmas


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