‘Tis the season, after all!
Edible Tree Ornaments
Christmas belongs to everyone, but it holds a special magic for children. Most of the memories that we treasure for a lifetime are created during childhood. Help your kids to make memorable moments with edible ornaments. Edible ornaments are fun to make and even better to eat. One advantage of these ornaments is that there is less to pack away in containers once the holidays are over. These ornaments are biodegradable if the kids don’t get to them.
Start with the garland. Usually we string tinsel and other items that can be harmful to pets and children if they are eaten. In the early days of Christmas, foods like popcorn and nuts were used for garland. Little treats could be placed on the tree that the kids could eat later. Revive the old ways and have the kids string a few strands of popcorn garland using their favorite popcorn flavors. You do run the risk of more popcorn being eaten than will make it onto the tree, but the memories will be priceless. Although stale popcorn is easier to string than freshly popped, which may cut down on the losses (though probably not in this house!). Pop the popcorn and leave it sitting out for a day or two and it will go onto the string more easily. Pretzels can be strung as well. You won’t need a needle for them, which means younger kids can get in on the fun. Pretzels can be placed between the pieces of popcorn. Dried cranberries or other fruits at regular intervals can add a splash of color.
For a sparkling garland, use wrapped candies. The best chocolate candies are the ones wrapped in silver and gold. They reflect the Christmas tree lights nicely. It can be tricky to string them up without opening the foil. You can either use a needle and thread and go straight through the middle of the chocolate or, using adhesive glue, stick them to a red or green or gold ribbon and allow them to cascade down the side of the tree. You can also use hard candies. The colorfully wrapped candy complements the chocolate nicely. Hard candy usually is wrapped so the ends are easy to string together. Using a narrow ribbon, tie a knot around one end of the candy and do the same to the other end. Continue adding candy to the string until your strand is long enough to wrap around the tree.
A popular tree ornament is candy canes. The red and white striped treats are a staple of Christmas. Now they even come in a variety of colors and flavors besides peppermint. Choose colors that complement your décor and color scheme for the Christmas tree. They come individually wrapped so the candy can be shared with everyone after Christmas is over. In fact, if you have a Christmas party, let each child take a souvenir from your tree home, so they can add it to their tree (or eat it on the way home).
Find some white chocolate (or yogurt) covered malted milk balls. Put a half dozen or so of them in a 6-inch-square piece of red or green plastic wrap. Tie up the ends at the top with a piece of thin ribbon, leaving enough to hang down on the side. Form a loop with the other end of the ribbon so it will hang on the tree.
A similar idea uses your favorite popcorn ball recipe. Add a few drops of red food coloring to color the resulting balls, and add enough cranberries and peanuts to your liking. Form this mixture into balls, about half the size you would use for a regular popcorn ball. Wrap these in clear plastic wrap and tie with a thin ribbon. Use one edge of the ribbon to form the loop for hanging on the tree.
Carefully choose which decorative edibles the kids can eat from the Christmas tree. For a fake tree, the branches are made of plastic and each ornament is safe for eating. With live trees, determine if the tree has been sprayed with anything to prevent bug infestation. Any small bugs or remnants of sprays can render the food inedible after coming in contact with it. In that case, use some sort of ornament hanger to keep the edible ornaments away from the tree branches and needles.
Edible ornaments are fun to make with your kids. Shellac the ones they want to keep so they are preserved for more Christmas memories.