In our in our house we’ve decided to start a tradition of leaving Christmas decorations up till January 5, which means that we can continue to enjoy them throughout the “12 days of Christmas” (yes, the traditional period of “Christmastide” only begins on December 25). Appreciating this duration in our season of Christmas might even help avoid the commercial and materialistic extremes of what Bill Bailey has called the “primary gifting period”.
This all means that we took down our tree last night, which is the reason for writing about Christmas ornaments now even though its too late. Things like this could work really well for Easter too, so publishing it now gives you all time to have a go yourself.
A self-imposed rule of using only hand-made ornaments has meant that our tree has been sparsely decorated even though it is only 2 feet tall. This year I finally completed some projects that have been in the cupboard for more than 12 months, and want to share them because I personally enjoy reading about other people’s creativity. I get particularly excited and inspired reading about the crafty and creative exploits of a friend who can make nearly anything. Not only did she make some fantastic looking Christmas birdies, banners and garlands, but she managed to blog about it before Christmas day!
The first special ornament on our tree was a pomander that I made from a lemon off our very own little potted tree. It is a dried citrus fruit cured with spices, and I followed this pomander recipe.
I poked the cloves into the lemon in four quadrants, leaving clear strips for the ribbon. Since the whole thing shrinks quite a bit as it dries, my strips ended up too narrow, but I don’t mind the ribbon being a bit crinkled and folded. This ornament has a beautiful spicy aroma, which mixes wonderfully with the traditional conifer scent.
Using a home grown lemon and some recycled ribbon made this an extremely low-ecological-footprint and personally satisfying decoration. It is plenty durable enough to last a few years at least, and can even be stored in the wardrobe to put its aroma to good use until next Christmas.
Decorating eggs is a tradition in many cultures, and is an excellent way to make light Christmas tree baubles. I drill the egg shell through at each end with a 1 or 2 millimetre bit in a battery drill, which is much easier than trying to delicately poke around with something pointy and sharp. The drill at fairly high speeds will get through the shell with hardly any pressure, and this helps avoid smashing the whole thing.
With a hole in each end, the contents of the egg can be blown out and made into breakfast! It does require quite a lot of pressure, and doing lots at once can leave you with sore lips and light-headded. It is a good idea to rinse the shell out with water to make sure that no potentially smelly contents are left inside.
My first trial was decorated with coloured permanent marker, which was surprisingly successful. However, the best way to put a solid base colour on the shells is with nail polish. This has a nice gloss, and strengthens the egg shell at the same time. I used gold metallic acrylic paint (water-based) to put a thick and chunky pattern on this set, but there are plenty of other options. The really nice thing about egg ornaments is that it is trivial to find storage boxes for them!