Memories of the Beach Christmas Ornament

This year we spent a fair bit of time playing on some pretty amazing beaches! From Turks and Caicos in the Spring to Jamaica in the Fall, our family has been blessed with fond memories of snorkeling, boat rides, and building castles in the sand. To keep those memories alive and well all year long, the boys and I sat down this week to craft up some fun little Christmas tree ornaments that will remind us to count our blessings during the holiday season.

beach christmas ornament

Whether you spend your Summer’s relaxing on the beach or love to travel to sandy destinations, this is a quick and easy craft that will flood you with memories come time to hang it on the tree!

Memories of the Beach Christmas Ornament

You’ll Need

Sand from your favourite beach destination



Small shells

A glass or plastic Christmas ball

Hot Glue


Permanent Marker


Strain your sand to filter out any dirty debris that might be in the sand. Next, Place the funnel into the ornament and pour in the sand. 

pouring sand

Fill about half way. Pick our your favourite tiny shells that will fit through the ornament hole and drop them inside. I placed the ornaments in the left over sand to hold them upright on their own so the boys could use two hands without worrying about the balls rolling over. 

beach ornament

I used hot glue to secure the top. The sand can create a bit of weight and I was worried it could let go, also you wouldn’t want any sand leaking into your ornament box during storage. Best just to seal the top with a squirt of hot glue. Be aware that if your top is metal like mine, it can become quite hot once the glue is in there. Make sure an adult is doing this part and work quickly and carefully. 


Using a permanent marker, like these gold and silver Sharpie Paint markers, write your desination and the year you travelled on the ornament. I bet you have way nicer handwriting than me! lol It’s never been my forte and times like this I regret it! 

writing pm

The only thing left is to tie on some pretty ribbon for hanging. We experimented with a few different types including some raffia for a natural look, but in the end the boys went with their favourite colours, blue and green. Choose whatever you love best. 


beach christmas ornaments

And there you go! Your very own personalized travel ornament for warm Winter wishes at Christmas!

beach christmas ornament

Happy Holidays! 


  1. tiffany steadman-collins says:

    I love this! Nothing better then displaying your memories during the holidays. Something super simple to do with the kids also:)

  2. That’s such a great idea- I love it! We do photo ornaments that show a photo of our family from each year and I love reminiscing as we pull them out- these beach memories ornaments would have the same effect! 🙂

  3. I love that idea. I have recently started using “shadow boxes” for memories. Also, my sister gave me a make your own snow globe for XMAS. Sort of stressing it….

  4. That is beautiful and what an amazing keepsake. Just a question though: Does it matter how much sand you use before it gets too heavy or is any amount good? These would make great gifts for the kids to make for their grandparents next year if we go on our first “big family” trip that we’ve been talking about.

    • momvstheboys says:

      Any amount will be fine as long as you glue the top on to secure it. But leave room so you can see the shells. Also remember that the heavier it is the more it will pull down your tree branch.

  5. What a great idea!!! Love that suggestion for saving some memories. My girls always want to bring shells home but I don’t want them all over the house so I usually tell them to leave them behind. (It’s also illegal to take them off some beaches in BC.) This would be cool, though, one year… 🙂

    • momvstheboys says:

      Wow it’s illegal to remove the shells? At both resorts we were hard pressed to even find shells. After a very early sunrise stroll one morning, I found out why! They rake the beach to remove all the debris, which removes all of the shells.

      • I think it’s illegal to remove shells from BC parks… so if you’re not in a park, it’s probably okay… we didn’t know when we first moved out there and we took a starfish from the beach (it was already dead and stiff), but we were later told that anything on the beach is supposed to stay on the beach. It’s probably different at a resort. 🙂

  6. What a great way to remember a family vacation! I really like how this is an easy DIY that isn’t all that messy!

    • momvstheboys says:

      In all honesty, the sand was a little messy! lol Unless you make them ahead of the game and do them up outside in the summer!

  7. Kathy Allen says:

    I have been making these for years. People love them. I love to take a small clam-type shell and glue a tiny pearl into it–yeah, I know pearls form in oysters! Sometimes I add a metal charm with the ring clipped off–a seahorse, starfish, ship’s wheel, etc. for more interest. I have used a large bag of play sand or more expensive art sand sometimes–easier (and more legal) than lugging it home from the beach. Also, the shells ALWAYS come home with a bit of sand on them so you have SOME authentic beach sand. A bit of fine glitter is great to give them a winter frosted look but the static often makes the glitter stick to the insides of the ball. Shaking these gently is better than shaking a snow globe!

  8. carol stojanik says:

    What happens if it gets turned. Do the shells go back on top?

    • momvstheboys says:

      no I would try to keep it upright, the shells will get mixed into the sand if it’s shaken. You should still be able to see them but it may not be as pretty

  9. Love! We’ll have to smuggle some sand back on our family vacation this winter!

  10. Victoria Ess says:

    These are a beautiful idea!

  11. Love this idea; a lovely reminder of a day at the beach

  12. Debbie White Beattie says:

    I love this ornament and now I want them for my house.

  13. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    A very neat idea, kids always collect shells and stones at the beach and this way there’s a nice memory of the days spent at the beach. 🙂

  14. We have the same thing from our cruise, but we didn’t put the shells in – that would be so fun!

  15. Darren Scrubb says:

    Nice reminder of the sunnier sides of the world at Christmas in the colder regions in the world.

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