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December 2003 Issue
Decorating the Tree with Your Kitchen's Bounty
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Christmas brings with it a tree that becomes the centerpiece of many a holiday tradition. Many people try to incorporate decorations that depict their interests, hobbies and even careers. Don't allow yourself to be left out of the fun -- take your love of cooking find its way to the tree too!

In this special holiday feature, we're taking a look at using your talents in the kitchen and some of our very favorite ingredients to transform the Christmas tree into a decoration that's been touched by the kitchen and your talents. Just remember that, with the exception of the candy canes, these decorations are for enjoying with the eyes only -- no nibbling!


Popcorn and Cranberry Garlands

    If you want to add a warm and comforting feeling to your tree, try your hand at making popcorn and/or cranberry garlands for your tree. You'll need a sewing needle, thread and popped air popcorn (no butter or salt here!) or fresh cranberries. Simply thread the needle and carefully pierce each piece of popcorn or cranberry and continue until a string of adequate length has been created. The great thing about garlands like this is you can string them in the back yard after the holidays and let the birds, squirrels and other critters enjoy them! In fact, I make special garlands just for them and decorate the back yard shortly before Christmas and enjoy several days of great bird watching as they feast.


Gingerbread Ornaments

Sprinkling the Christmas tree with lovely ornaments that resemble our favorite holiday cookies makes it an inviting place to enjoy some of the real ones with mugs of cocoa!
  • 3/4 c. cinnamon
  • 1 T. ground nutmeg
  • 2 T. cloves
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 T. ground allspice
Mix all of the ingredients together and roll out into a thin sheet. Cut with assorted holiday cookie cutters and punch a hole for hanging in each. To dry, place on a cookie sheet and bake in a low temperature oven (200 degrees F) for about 2 hours. Set them out on paper bags to finish air dying. These ornaments are good to coat with glue or shellac. Sprinkle them with glitter while they are still damp. String a ribbon through each hole for hanging once the ornaments are dry.
  • Yields: about 12 ornaments
  • Preparation Time: about 5 hours total


Candycane Heart Ornaments

    For a simple, yet lovely ornament, try hot gluing two candy canes together so that they overlap and form a heart. String a pretty ribbon through the heart and hang on your Christmas tree. As long as you don't have any holes in the plastic covering the candy canes, you can continue to enjoy them throughout the season!

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