Christmas Memory Ornament

Capturing Holiday Memories In A Christmas Ornament

Every year, we receive Christmas cards featuring photos of friends and relatives, some of whom are separated by time and distance. The annual Christmas photo cards give us an updated glimpse into their lives, and we look forward to seeing how their children have grown over the years. Many families put a lot of time and effort in creating their annual Christmas photo greeting card and too soon after the holidays, the photo cards are put away and forgotten.

Turning a Christmas photo card into a Christmas memory ornament makes a great gift. Use the photo card that you received last year, make a simple ornament shape, and send the photo Christmas memory ornament back to the family this year as a surprising and thoughtful gift. As your friends and relatives decorate their tree, the gift of the photo Christmas memory ornament lets them revisit their own holiday photos each and every year.

How To Turn A Christmas Card Into A Christmas Memory Ornament


  • Christmas Photo Card (or other photo)
  • Thin Craft-Grade Plywood (or similar material)
  • Mounting Spray
  • Red and Green Spray Paint
  • Acrylic Craft Paint
  • Clear Spray Lacquer
  • Ribbon or Twine


  • Scroll saw, Band Saw or Coping Saw
  • Drill and Drill Bit
  • Sandpaper
Step 1

Cut and crop the photo from the Christmas card. The size and shape of the subjects in the photo will determine the size and shape of the ornament.

In this example, I cut out a circle from the Christmas photo card. A heart shaped template fits the circular photo quite nicely, and I'll use the template to make the ornament.

Step 2

Trace a basic shape on to a small piece of thin craft-grade plywood. Simple shapes such as hearts, stars, trees, circles and diamond shapes are easy to draw and cut out, and these shapes work well for making ornaments. Use the cropped photo from the Christmas card to help size and shape the ornament.

Step 3

Cut the plywood ornament shape using a scroll saw, band saw or coping saw. Sand the edges smooth to remove any splinters.

Step 4

Paint the ornament. Red and green paint in aerosol spray cans works well, making it quick and easy to paint several ornaments at a time. Don't forget to paint both sides of the ornament, as well as covering the edges. Depending on the surface of the wood, it may take two or more coats of paint for an even coating of color. Let the paint dry thoroughly.

Step 5

Attach the photo to the ornament. Spray adhesive works well, or use your favorite scrapbooking glue. Following the manufacturer's directions, spray the back of the photo, let it dry and then position it on the ornament. Press the photo firmly to the ornament and smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 6

Decorate the ornament with acrylic paints. Use random dots of white paint represent falling snowflakes, and don't forget to paint the back side of the ornament. Add a Happy Holidays message with the Year for remembrance. A light coating of clear lacquer from an aerosol spray can protects the photo and adds a little bit of shine to the ornament.

Step 7

To hang the ornament, drill a hole through the top / center of the ornament. Cut a piece of ribbon or twine, thread it through and around the mounting hole, and tie it in a loop. Your handcrafted Christmas Memory Ornament is ready for giving many years of holiday memories.

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Tell Us About Your Favorite Handcrafted Holiday Ornament
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  • sierradawn Dec 28, 2013 @ 12:01 am
    I enjoy crocheting little Christmas stockings to hang on the tree. Congrats on your LotD. Very motivational lens!
  • SlashedReads Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:22 pm
    Why do we buy everything? I have never looked back on something and said, Oh I remember the day I went to the store and bought this. Thanks for keeping memories making alive.
  • Snappysnapper Dec 23, 2013 @ 5:53 pm
    Great idea, will have to try this .
  • rauspitz Dec 23, 2013 @ 4:49 pm
    Very nice work. Congratulations on getting LotD!
  • bercton Dec 23, 2013 @ 12:05 pm
    Very creative indeed!
  • Cari_Kay Dec 23, 2013 @ 10:49 am
    What a great idea! I love this! Merry Christmas to you!
  • d-artist Dec 23, 2013 @ 9:30 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! Great idea, love it...I try every year to make memory ornaments by painting scenes from family and friends interests...thanks for sharing!
  • Susan52 Dec 23, 2013 @ 9:24 am
    Wonderful idea! Wish we would have done this when our boys were little and we lived so far away from their cousins. Keeping the ornaments and reviewing the pictures each year would have been great fun. Congrats on your so very crafty Lens of the Day!
  • Merrci Dec 23, 2013 @ 9:07 am
    Sweet and clever idea! How fun it must be to unpack the memories each year. Congrats on LofD!
  • Henji13 Dec 23, 2013 @ 8:54 am
    It love this idea!
  • StephenJParkin Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:58 am
    Very easy to do and it really captures a families history what a lovely idea! Well done on the LOTD.
  • vallain Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:56 am
    I hope this inspires many people to make these meaningful ornaments. Great idea.
  • grammieo Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:34 am
    Lovely idea, so simple yet effective. Congrats on LoTD!
  • pawpaw911 Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:21 am
    Great idea for a unique family ornament. Congratulations on LOTD.
  • esmonaco Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:11 am
    A wonderful idea and step by step instructions, as I'm not very craftey but would like to give this a try. We receive so many cards with pictures, and your right they just get put away. Thanks Again. Merry Christmas to you and you family, and Contratulations on LOTD.
  • susan-zutautas Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:07 am
    I love this idea, and will be taking lots of pictures this year to make Christmas memory ornaments. Congrats on your lens as being chosen as LOTD!
  • Dec 23, 2013 @ 6:34 am
    very nice lens... congrats on LOTD
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Dec 23, 2013 @ 6:02 am
    Wonderful to see this LotD this morning. I always appreciate your creations. What a great holiday craft. Thanks for an excellent tutorial. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas.
  • PaigSr Dec 23, 2013 @ 5:55 am
    This is simple and easy. Loosely translated even I could pull it off. Nice Idea. Nicely chosen as LotD.
  • discountcopiercenter Dec 23, 2013 @ 5:18 am
    So Creative. Perfect craft work..Thanks for this gifty lens. Congratulation on getting Lens Of The Day. Merry Christmas.
  • atsad141 Dec 23, 2013 @ 12:31 am
    Wow, just amazing lens.