Favorite Christmas Ornaments- Using Little Handprints and Footprints

One after the other each ornament is unwrapped.

Shining. Glittering. Sparkling. Simple. Meaningful. Precious.

In clumps on the front and sides of the tree, all but a few hang on the bottom branches, just waiting to be rearranged when little hands are tucked softly in bed.

Old ones and new ones each with their own story. A baby’s first Christmas. A jingle bell rescued from the garbage. A gift from great-grandma. Pipe cleaners lovingly strung together.

I take a peek into the box marked, “Extra Fragile!” and breathe in the little treasures. I marvel at the tiny handprints and footprints tucked into this little box.

We talk of how tiny they used to be, and how wonderfully God made each one. We praise Him for how, just like a simple tree, we can raise our hands that have grown a little bit bigger since last year, and praise God too. And we wonder at how God continues to work in us, filling us with His beauty and grace- taking something that was once dead and making it a most glorious sight.

As reminders of His goodness and His amazing grace, the incredible growth He continues to work in our hearts, and His unfading beauty, ever so carefully these little gifts are strung high above the rest…

Penguin Footprint Ornament… perfect for a little baby’s first Christmas ornament.

penguin footprint ornament(Baby Ariya’s footprint last year! I wish I had done this with all our kids!)


*ball ornament (large enough to fit baby’s footprint)
*white and black acrylic paints
*tiny google eyes (or dots of paint)
*glitter glue, foam pieces, felt, and/or paint for nose and scarf (we used orange foam and red glitter glue)
*super glue
*permanent or acrylic marker (choose a color that will be seen well on the ornament)
*warm soapy water


1. Paint baby’s foot with a thick layer of black acrylic paint and press down upside-down on ornament (heel should be close to the top and toes pointed down… roll the ornament against the foot). It helps to have baby strapped in a highchair with a tray where he/she can’t grab their little feet and/or have someone help you. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out right- just gently wash the paint off with warm soapy water and a paper towel. Let it dry before you try again and/or move on to the next step.

2. Paint the side of baby’s palm with white acrylic paint and press down as the “tummy” of the penguin. Let dry.

3. Glue or paint on eyes, nose and scarf. Let dry.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 on the other side of the ornament with the opposite foot.

5. Use acrylic or permanent markers to write baby’s name and date on the ornament.

6. Tie a ribbon at the top.

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Snowmen Handprint Ornament… Precious little handprints.

snowment handprint ornament

snowmen handprint(Kayla’s snowmen handprint ornament from two years ago- when she was 4!)


*ball ornaments (that fit in palm of child’s hand)… any color except white (we chose metallic blue, silver, and purple)
*white acrylic paint
*permanent or acrylic markers of various colors
*warm soapy water
*snowmen poem


1. Paint child’s hand with a good layer of white acrylic paint. (Paint quickly before it dries on their little hand.

2. Quickly and gently place the ball ornament in their hand as if they’re holding it from the bottom with their fingers pointing up.

3. Push gently on each finger and then have them open up their hand as you remove the ornament. Once again, don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out exactly right, just gently wash it off with warm soapy water and a paper towel, and let it dry completely before you try again or move on to the next step. (Oh, and count the fingers! :) One of Bella’s turned out with six fingers! Still cute but not quite accurate- hehe!)

4. Once dry, use acrylic or permanent markers to add special features to the snowmen fingers… hats, scarves, earmuffs, buttons, eyes, nose, mouthas well as write the child’s name and date on the back. Let dry.

5. Hang with a ribbon.

6. Add this cute little snowman poem. Don’t forget to add the child’s name. (You can hang it on the ornament with the ribbon, or simply place it in the package with the ornament.)

snowmen ornament snowmen handprint

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Precious Angels… Little hands and feet together to make beautiful angels.

angel(Angel Alyssa when she was three!!)


*white thick paper, foam pieces, and or thick/sturdy felt pieces
*glitter, sequins, confetti, etc.
*pipe cleaner
*photo with child’s head looking forward 
*popsicle stick or tongue depressor
*glue (both regular glue or mod podge AND hot glue or super glue are helpful)


1. Trace around child’s handprints and one footprint on white foam, felt or thick paper.

2. Cut out and decorate with glitter, confetti, sequins, etc. (paint glue or mod podge on).

3. Cut out outline of child’s head from photo. (For extra sturdiness attach to a foam piece.)

4. Form the pipe cleaner into a halo.

5. Glue together the pieces using the footprint as the angel’s body, the handprints as the wings, and your child’s head as the angel’s head. It may help to glue a popsicle stick/tongue depressor onto the back to make it more sturdy and to help it all stick together. Then glue on the halo and a ribbon to hang the angel from. We used hot glue for this part… regular glue would work, but would take a lot longer to dry.

6. Hang from ribbon.

angel(Oops! Forgot to un-tuck Kayla’s one year-old halo!)

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Clay Handprint Ornaments… my most treasured ornaments.

Alyssa's handprints
(Alyssa was 2!!)

my handprints
(See the date??? Those are mine that my mom made with me when I was 2! So special!)


*Baker’s clay…
4 cups flour * 1 1/4 cups salt * 1 1/2 cup water * food coloring
(add as desired- each of our girls used a different color for their handprints… green, red & purple)
Mix flour, salt and water together (slowly add more water if crumbly) – Knead together until smooth. 
*acrylic paint/markers
*baking supplies
*sharp knife (for adults or well supervised older children)
*toothpick or straw
*scrap piece of paper (thicker paper works better) and pencil
*OPTIONAL clear varnish


1. Trace child’s handprints on paper and cut them out.

2. Make clay and roll out to desired thickness (about 1/3 inch).

3. Place paper handprints on dough and carefully cut around the handprints using a sharp knife.

4. DON’T FORGET to poke a small hole at the top (palm) of each handprint using a toothpick or straw. (If you do forget, you can superglue/hot-glue a ribbon on at the end.)

5. Gently remove excess dough and place handprints on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes to an hour (Bake until hard, but not brown… they should look dry, not burnt).

7. Let cool completely and then write name and date on with acrylic markers/paint.

8. If you’d like- coat with clear varnish.

9. Tie a ribbon at the top.

(If little fingers break off, glue them back on with super glue… if you did not add varnish, you could also try re-baking them at a low temperature.)

Elliana's handprints
(Elliana was 2!!)

Kayla's handprints
(Kayla was just 7 months old!!)

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These ornaments bring such precious memories and have also been great ways to remind our children that just like they are growing- Jesus grew too! He did not stay a baby, He grew! He lived and He died and rose again, becoming the Savior that we all desperately need!

Yet I also know that you do not need one more thing that you “have” to do with your children! The whirl-wind of Christmas and presents and trees and ornaments and shopping and cookies and advent activities and… and… and… and… can drown out the beauty of CHRIST in Christmas! So please, please, please don’t feel pressured to make these ornaments with your little ones. But, if you’re looking for some special gifts for them to give, one of these might work for you! :)

Linked to The Better Mom, Monday Mom Musings, Titus 2sdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, and Women Living Well.


  1. I love the ball idea, thank you!

  2. These ARE precious! I especially love the anges made from both hands and feet, as well as the clay handprint ornaments. How very special for you AND your kids that you have your own! Thank you for some new ideas for our December crafting.

  3. These are adorable! I think I’m going to do the clay hand prints with my kids this year! :)

  4. Darcie Norton says:

    These are some of my most cherished ornaments (since as grandma, I often get one of them!). What a precious way to remember each child and say a special prayer for them as we hang them on our tree (which we still need to get to this year!). Miss you guys and cannot wait to see everyone the week after Christmas!