An Early American Christmas: Holiday Book with Craft

An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola, is a wonderful resource about Christmas celebrated in the 1800s.  The author does a great job imagining how a German family (“with rich Christmas traditions”), from “the old country”celebrated this tradition.

The book describes how families handmade candles.  They would put berries into some water over a fire and stir until a wax would form.  They would then dip sticks into the wax and there you have candles.  Candle making like that in the 1800s would be an interesting project to work on and very educational.

The girls enjoyed making paper crafts like that of the 1800s to go along with this particular book.  They made patterned paper chains, paper gingerbread men, paper Christmas trees, and paper snowflakes. Here are just a few of our creations on the left. They turned out really cute.  Our house is turning into an 1800s house, just love it.

Craft Instructions for gingerbread men and trees

Gingerbread Men-Things you need


  • Variety of colored paper and patterened paper (Scrapbook paper works nice)
  • Gingerbread man template.  You can print one off of
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Sequins, etc.

Trace the gingerbread man template on several sheets of paper and cut them out.  Have children color on them or add sequins or their own design on the gingerbread men. 

Christmas Trees-Things you need

  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sequins
  • Scotch tape

Draw a rounded triangle for your tree.  Cut them out then tape the rounded corners together and so that you see a pointed top. (Like that in picture above).  When this is achieved decorate and place star or on top.  These are nice because they stand on their own.

I was beyond ecstatic to find this particular book at our local library as I was searching for a Holiday book and craft to go with it.  This was the perfect pick for our family as they learned so much about past traditions.  They were most definitely intrigued and even wanted to create “food” decorations such as apple rings on a string.  How fun is that?

What Christmas book and craft have you done with your children?  Please share your ideas.  This is always a fun Christmas project not only for the kids but for the family as a whole.  Merry Christmas!