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December 2001 Issue
Getting Festive for the Holidays
by Patty Waage
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Children also will enjoy collecting pinecones and pine needles for a lovely Christmas potpourri. You can gather them while out shopping or picking out your very own Christmas tree. I'm sure that if you live in the city, you could ask the lot attendants if you could gather the needles that have fallen off of the trees that they have for sale. Pinecones can also be found at a local craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

 

Sweet Smells of Christmas

  • 2 T. whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 handful pine needles
  • 1-2 pieces orange or lemon rind
  • 2 c. water
Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer all day if you wish. Add water and refrigerate and reuse.
  • Yields: 1 batch potpourri
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes plus simmering time
 

 

Christmas Potpourri

  • 1 qt. fir needles
  • 1 c. dried, mixed fruit -- without membranes, thinly shredded
  • 1 c. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 c. dried basil
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves -- coarsely crumbled
  • 2 c. coarse salt -- not iodized
Mix and pour into little calico bags.
  • Yields: 5 cups
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
 

Another unique decorating idea is a dried fruit garland. Andrea Miller suggests that you slice up a citrus fruit such as a lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit into 1/4 inch slices and then string them together with bits of ribbon or string. Then you can hang them in a window to dry. You could also place the garland in a dehydrator -- just make sure to keep all the slices separate so they will dry correctly. This makes a fun and pretty garland you can hang in a window or over your lights. The light shining through the citrus fruit adds a wonderful glow to any room.

 

Pomander

This easy-to-make pomander would make a great gift for mom on Mother's Day or a cool (and sweet smelling) ornament to hang at Christmas.

  • 5-6 oz. whole cloves
  • 1 lemon or 1 orange
  • 2 T. orris root
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Lemon or orange oil
  • Tissue, cheesecloth or netting
  • Ribbon
Push the cloves into the rind of your lemon or orange. Try to cover the whole surface. Mix together the orris root, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon or orange oil in a small bowl or plate. Roll the fruit around in the mixture. Wrap the fruit in tissue paper, cheesecloth or netting, tie with the ribbon and place in a drawer or hang in a closet.

To Make a Christmas Decoration / Gift:
Cut a piece of ribbon 34-38" long. Place the middle of the ribbon at the top of the fruit, and draw the ends down to the bottom. Cross and twist the ribbon and draw it back up to the top, as if you were tying a package. Tie it into a bow at the top.

If the ribbon wants to slip and slide, you can secure it with a little dab of glue at the bottom of the fruit where it crosses.

You can also dab a little paint and/or glitter on the cloves if you want your pomander to be a little more colorful.

  • Yields: 1 pomander
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
 

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don't forget to take time out for you. A nice relaxing bath with festive candy cane bath salts makes a wonderful and refreshing way to relax. The recipe calls for sea salts, but I always use a tablespoon of glycerin instead. It can be found at your local pharmacy or Kmart. You could also make some of this up for friends or a Secret Santa gift for the office. Just package it in a decorative jar or bottle with instructions on how to use it and a list of the ingredients in case of an allergy.

 

Candy Cane Bath Salts

  • 2 c. Epsom salts
  • 1/2 c. sea salt
  • 4-6 drops peppermint oil
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring.
Place one cup of Epsom and 1/4 cup sea salt in a bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil.

Place the remaining ingredients in a second bowl. Mix all of the ingredients well. Layer the red and white salts in a clear bottle or jar. Half-liter Naya(tm) water bottles work well because they have the stripes. Tie the bottle with a ribbon and some small candy canes. This makes a great holiday gift for friends

  • Yields: 2 1/2 cups
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
 

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

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