Recently I have seen a group of scouting leaders share ideas for decorating their community Christmas trees this year.
And as some of them have elaborate ideas, it’s no wonder they are talking about it in October!
Christmas tree festival guidelines
While it can vary from community to community, most places have guidelines as to what can and cannot be used in the tree festival. For instance, some place provide the trees so all are equal in size and structure while others allow different interpretations of ‘Christmas tree’ although possibly with size restrictions.
So if you are trying out a Christmas tree festival idea, make sure it fits into the guidelines and theme of your festival.
Scout Christmas tree ideas
All of the following wonderful ideas have been suggested and used by scouting and guiding groups in the UK. Some may be specific to such youth groups, but many of these ideas could be used for a childcare centre, kinder, school or sporting club just as easily, or with a few tweaks.
And many of these ideas can be combined for a more colourful result!
Decorations to hang on the tree
- thread some cotton through some badges and hang them on the tree. Just use group and district badges, badges to suit a theme (eg red and green badges) or try Christmas theme badges (Scouts Australia produces a Christmas badge each year). Brighten things up further by winding some fairy lights (battery operated are easy for a display like this) around the branches and badges.
- get the kids to make Christmas stars, using group colours as the backgrounds
- hang ribbons on the tree to reflect your group colours – add your group scarf to complete the scene, maybe as a tree skirt hanging from the lowest branches. Add more of a scouting feel by knotting some of the ribbons 🙂
- print out your group or scout/guide logos, get kids to colour them in and decorate them, laminate the drawings and hang them as ornaments.
- use cardboard rings (like cut up paper towel rolls) to make the fleur de lys and let kids decorate them. They could be colour coded by section (eg Joeys use brown, cubs use yellow, scouts green and so on) or all be based on group colours.
- make decorations out of paracord! Try a candycane or a Christmas tree
- make some mini scout scarves and hang them alongside other decorations
- get some cheap Christmas balls and paint the Fleur de lys or other scouting/guiding images on them.
- make it a celebration of the last year by hanging pictures (photos or hand drawn pictures) of group events as decorations. The pictures could be stuck on circles of coloured paper and laminated, attached to small stockings, glued onto Christmas balls or made into paper chains.
- get kids to make gingerbread or salt dough ornaments and decorate them to hang on the tree. Maybe have gingerbread people decorated to look like cubs/scouts/guides. The decorations can then be given as gifts to a group of people (nursing home residents, the volunteers running the festival, etc) – and if the gingerbread was presented in bags on the tree, they would be tasty gifts, too!
- if you have the resources, cut out decorations from wood – simple shapes with a jigsaw or more elaborate designs with a laser cutter. Kids can paint of add glitter for a colourful decoration. Of course, a similar thing can be done with thick cardboard if you don’t have the resources or want the kids to make them by hand.
Be creative – the cut outs could be Christmas themed or scouting themed (a tent, campfire, rolled sleeping bag, backpack, etc)
- use toothpicks and string or icy pole sticks and glue to make stars to decorate and hang
- make a garland from woggles! Especially if you use some colourful ones, this is an easy way to make the tree cheery and scouty!
- paint or add pictures to one side of a disc (CD or DVD) for colour and sparkle. The Love Santa bauble templates could be used for this!
- turn a gumnut or acorn into Santa!
- get kids to make pompoms (with glittery wool is awesome!) and hang them as a garland or stick them over a Christmas ball (or any other ball really!)
- make an icy pole stick campfire
- tie ribbons onto cinnamon sticks (for a nice smell) or sticks the kids find for simple, pretty decorations
- ask the children to design new badges and hang their designs as decorations
- turn it into a communitree by decoupaging pictures of the group scouting in the community
- get the kids to make jar lid decorations
- hang a photo of each group member, in uniform, on the tree. Stuck on cardboard of suitable colours, in a circle, star or other shape, these are personal and create interest. Or stick the photos on some decorations instead – think of lots of Santas hanging from your tree, each one with a different smiling face!
- make Christmas bells out of coffee pods (saves them going to landfill, too!) You can stick photos of the kids on them, too.
- Spray some small pine cones or gumnut bunches with coloured paint to match your group colours. Hang on the tree with pompoms in matching colours and a fleur-de-lys on top of the tree
Note the ideas above were inspired by scout leaders in the UK (thank you to 1st Facebook Scout Group) but were written by me and adjusted at my discretion, so I take full responsibility for them :).