Super-quick Christmas decorating

quilt from 'Tis the SeasonThe 2012 holiday season has officially kicked off! Whether you’ve collected Christmas decorating items to display in your home over years or over decades, showing off a few new pieces can infuse your home with fresh charm and cheer.

To renew your holiday decor, check out this collection of quick Christmas quilts and other projects. None take more than a few afternoons to complete—keep them in your own home, or take these creative gift ideas and lavish them on your loved ones. Some are so easy, you can make them in multiples and check off a whole list of names in one swoop! Browse through more than 30 project ideas below. (Knitters and crocheters—see our special selection of children’s gifts to make for Christmas here.)

To make your holiday stitching even happier, remember this—when you buy a printed book, you get the eBook free. Which means you can download a book instantly and start a project right now.

Enjoy your holiday—and make a little time for holiday stitching!

Cuddle Up with Christmas Quilts

Holiday Stars lap quilt

"Holiday Stars" lap quilt from ‘Tis the Season

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Pair scrappy squares and rectangles with fusible-appliqué stars and what do you get? A stash-busting Christmas quilt that’s so simple, you can cuddle up in it this year! The pattern calls for nine red and nine green fat quarters (or equivalent yardage), plus gold fabric for the stars and inner border. Finished size: 46½" x 62½".

"Be Merry" quilt from Sew Merry and Bright

This cheerful quilt offers a festive take on the wildly popular chevron pattern. And who wouldn’t smile at such a happy message? A simple four-piece square, cleverly rotated, creates the lively zigzags. Make strip sets, cut them into triangle shapes, and then sew the triangle shapes together to form squares. Use tearaway stabilizer and a machine zigzag stitch for the lettering—a super speedy approach to appliqué. Finished size: 35″ x 55″.

Be Merry quilt
Peppermint Patties lap quilt

"Peppermint Patties" lap quilt from Comfort and Joy

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Who wouldn’t love to unpack this little treat of a quilt each year? Twenty-five pinwheel blocks get a speedy sewing treatment with two-at-a-time half-square triangles. If you’ve got a collection of red-and-white fabrics, this is the perfect place to give them a permanent holiday home. Finished size: 45⅞" x 45⅞".

"Christmas Ski Trip" quilt from Comfort and Joy

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This soft, cuddly flannel lap quilt is so easy you can make the top in an afternoon. The blocks are made up of half-square triangles (made two at a time, of course) with a sashing strip between each row. Color choices are a cinch too. Go coordinated or scrappy, but keep it to two colors that contrast. Finished size: 60″ x 68″.

Christmas Ski Trip quilt
Friendship Plaid quilt

"Friendship Plaid" quilt from Quilting for Joy 

If you’re looking for Christmas quilts for beginners, look no further! Made entirely of squares and rectangles, this quilt can be used during the holiday and throughout the year. Get your sewing-machine motor started—this one’s no sweat! Finished size: 68″ x 91″.

"Vintage Cherries" from ‘Tis the Season

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This is another one of those beautiful Christmas quilts that’s subtle enough to enjoy year ’round. Make this classic design with fat quarters from your stash (you’ll need 24 in various pink, red, burgundy, brown, and beige prints). Strip-pieced four-patch units combine with squares to create a striking single Irish chain effect. Finished size: 60½" x 72½".

Vintage Cherries quilt

Give Your Holiday a Cushion

Joy to the World pillow

"Joy to the World" pillow from ‘Tis the Season

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Spread an uplifting message with this quick-to-make bolster pillow. Use black flannel for the pillow background; use fusible-web appliqué for the lettering and motifs. Finished size: 15½" x 41½".

Noel pillow

"Noel" pillow from Sew Merry and Bright

The easy lettering technique designer Linda Lum DeBono uses—which includes tearaway stabilizer and a zigzag stitch—promises a professional look every time. Make the background of this clean, bright design with just 24 pieced units.

"Holiday Stars" pillow from ‘Tis the Season

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Make two or more of these pillows at a time—some to give and some to keep! Start with quick strip piecing and fusible appliqué; then add easy button and rickrack embellishments. Finished size: 18″ x 24″.

Holiday Stars pillow
Petries Modern Polygon Hexagons pillow

"Petrie’s Modern Polygon Hexagons Pillow" from Sew Merry and Bright 

Join the holiday hexie craze! If you aren’t familiar with stitching Y-seams by machine (it’s nothing to fear), you can get up to speed as you create this fun little pillow. Gather scraps of holiday fabrics to arrange in a planned or random fashion.

Make Your Table Merry

"Winter Whimsy Wool Runner" from ‘Tis the Season

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If you’ve got someone on your gift list who loves the folk-art or country style, you can have this runner ready to wrap by day’s end. Whip up this fun project with felted wool, fusible appliqué, and blanket-stitching. No batting or quilting needed! Finished size: 14″ x 45″.

Winter Whimsy Wool Runner
Holly Button place mat

"Holly Button" Plate Charger/Place Mat from Christmas with Artful Offerings 

Elegant, pretty, and perfect for a framing a holiday meal, these place mats couldn’t be quicker to make—simply layer, fuse, and add machine-stitching details. Create a batch for a special family you know. Your gift could become part of the family’s holiday tradition!

"Holiday Stars Runner" from ‘Tis the Season

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Have you noticed a trend in our project roundup? The "Holiday Stars" lap quilt, pillow, and table runner will beautify and coordinate your Christmas decor. The steps for making this runner are similar to making the quilt and pillow—simple squares and easy appliqué combine for a fast track to festivity. Finished size: 22½" x 50½".

Holiday Stars Runner
Winterscape place mats

"Winterscape" Place Mats from The Quilter’s Home: Winter 

You can display these delightful place mats at the table all season long. Stitch four Friendship Star blocks and one foundation-pieced tree per mat. Choose a snowflake fabric for the border to add a wintry sparkle.

"Peace and Joy" runner from Sew Merry and Bright 

Start and finish this cheerful runner in a few hours or less with strips of holiday fabrics and an easy lettering technique. Choose solid-colored strips as a background for the letters to make them pop. This could make a very special gift for the host of a holiday party—match your fabric selections to the host’s decor.

Peace and Joy runner

Deck the Walls

Snowman wall hanging

"Snowman Wall Hanging" from Christmas Quilts from Hopscotch 

This little wall hanging can be created in an evening, and it makes a perfect gift. You could even stitch it up the day before Christmas if you’re desperate! For fast appliqué, try fusible web and a machine blanket stitch around the snowman. Finished size: 11½" x 20″.

"Jolly Advent Calendar" from Christmas Quilts from Hopscotch 

Advent calendars are an exciting way to build anticipation for Christmas, and this adorable calendar will delight eager children and adults alike. The countdown is easily created with cotton and wool fabrics, along with numbered paper tags that hang on buttons. Finished size: 33½" x 48½".

Jolly Advent Calendar
Snowman wall quilt

"Snowman" wall quilt from Alphabet Soup 

Here’s another quilt you can display from now until the flowers begin to bloom. The border looks pieced, but it’s actually made with a striped fabric. The pieced letters in this cute little wall quilt are so fun to make, you’ll want to design your own "alphabet" quilts that say how you really feel! Finished size: 29″ x 52″.

"Cattycanes" wall quilt from Christmas Cats and Dogs 

Got a cat lover on your gift list? This whimsical quilt may make the purrfect present. The cats are traditionally pieced and the candy-cane tails are paper pieced, making diagonal stitching a no-brainer. For an even quicker gift, make a wall quilt that features just one kitty. Finished size: 20″ x 22″.

Cattycanes wall quilt
Think Snow door topper

"Think Snow!" door topper from The Quilter’s Home: Winter 

This clever little quilt is the perfect size to hang above a door. The appliqué may look intricate, but you can quickly build this snowman with fusible appliqué and satin-stitched edges. Foundation-piece the trees in minutes!

Hang by the Chimney with Flair

Rudolphs Favorite stocking Rickrack Rainbow stocking

"So Sweet Stocking," "Rudolph’s Favorite Stocking," and "Rickrack Rainbow Stocking" from Sew Merry and Bright 

Is this the year to update your stocking collection? In these festive, funky stockings, the fabric is the thing. Ruffles, ruching, yo-yos, and felt balls add textured details without causing a time-crunch.

"Appliquéd Felt Stockings" from Candy Cane Lane 

Fray-free wool felt and fusible appliqué make the motifs in these delightful stockings easy to create. The book comes with loads of pictorial designs and embellishment ideas, so you can personalize a stocking for each family member.

Appliqued felt stockings
Primitive stockings "Primitive Stockings" from Christmas Quilts from Hopscotch 

Ever thought of making—and filling—stockings to give as gifts? Stockings are so fun to make because they’re small and quick, and they let your creativity out to play. Any of these stockings can be created in a day with fusible appliqué. Surprise a gift recipient with their own stocking, filled with little things they love.

Trim the Tree

"Folded Fabric Ornaments" from Folded Fabric Fun 

If you have a quilter on your gift list, you gotta get folding! Simply press folds into fabric pieces, then secure them to a foundation by either hand sewing, machine sewing, gluing, or fusing. Make a tree-full of ornaments over the weekend for a friend, or tie individual ornaments to wrapped presents for a gift that says, "I’m from a quilter!"

Folded fabric ornaments
Sugar Cookie ornaments

"Sugar Cookie Ornaments" from Christmas with Artful Offerings 

Fresh from the sewing-machine "oven," these delicious-looking faux sugar cookies can adorn gifts and trees and embellish fabric items. Simply layer wool felt shapes and machine stitch to make five different ornaments: a tree, star, bell, ball, and snowman.

Lovey Dovey ornament Wonky tree ornament Oh Nuts ornament Matryoshka Love ornament

"Lovey Dovey," "Wonky Tree," "Oh Nuts!," and "Matryoshka Love" ornaments from Sew Merry and Bright

Even little hands just learning to sew can help make these enchanting ornaments. Make a big batch over the weekend with wool felt, zigzag stitching, and just a touch of embellishment.

Knit and Crochet a Happy Holiday--for Kids

"Cables and Lace" from Blankets, Hats, and Booties 

Imagine the littlest of Santa’s fans in a red velvet dress, with this sweet knitted ensemble as embellishment. Cables and lace make for more than a weekend project—but the results are sure to be treated as an heirloom. For a quicker idea, make the bonnet or socks as stand-alone projects for Christmas giving; then make another project for a birthday or other special occasion.

Cables and Lace childrens ensemble
Christmas at the North Pole finger puppets

"Christmas at the North Pole" from Knitted Finger Puppets

You only need a basic knowledge of knitting to create these adorable finger puppets—plus just bits of scrap yarn. The book features instructions for making three themed puppet collections: Christmas at the North Pole (shown), Under the Big Top, and the Enchanted Forest.

"Hootie the Owl" from Crocheted Softies

Grant a child’s wish for a cuddly new friend this Christmas! These adorable owls are made using three colors of yarn—and designed so that not a scrap of yarn goes to waste. Make three owls from three skeins by switching which color is used as the main color. You can choose from 18 designs in the book featuring animals from around the world, all easy enough to complete in a weekend.

Hootie the Owl crocheted softies
Christmas tree hat

"Christmas Tree Hat" from Berets, Beanies, and Booties 

Knit up this irresistible hat for Baby in a snap—projects are all based on the simplest knitting stitches. Comfy cotton yarns make for easy care and long-lasting wear. And there are no tricky embellishment techniques to learn either: details are stitched on after you’ve knitted the basic hat shape.

"Winter Wonderland" dress from Paintbox Knits 

With the holiday season in mind, this dress can be worn all winter—it’s easy to knit and fits like a charm. Change up the colors, create a border of your choice, and add decorative button accents for a special little girl. Pattern sized for 18M (2T, 3T, 4T).

Winter Wonderland dress

Don’t forget that books are the perfect present for buffs of the quilting, sewing, knitting, and crocheting variety too!

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