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Top 5 Edible Homemade Ornaments

Holiday Baked Goods Image Gallery These gingerbread ornaments can go straight from the tree to your mouth. See more pictures of holiday baked goods.
©iStockphoto.com/timscottrom

The winter holidays bring many opportunities for families to take part in traditions. Food is a big part of this, from turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving to eggnog and fruitcake at Christmas. Decorating houses is also a long-standing tradition in the United States. Some families go for broke with garish displays that cover their entire property. Others keep it a little more low-key and stick to decorating the inside of the house, especially the Christmas tree. If you feel like getting crafty this Christmas, you can combine the food and the decorating with some edible homemade ornaments. This is a fun activity that the whole family can be involved in.

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It's a holiday classic -- the popcorn string around the Christmas tree. Nobody knows exactly how this tradition started, but it's still alive and well in homes all over the United States. For best results, pop your popcorn the day before, because stale popcorn holds up a little better. But since it's fun to eat the popcorn as you string, you can pop some more while you're decorating. If you want to get fancy, you can color the popcorn green and red using vegetable dye. You should make sure the popcorn you use for the tree is plain and not flavored with butter or salt. For best results, use a size 14 needle and white, green or red thread. For ease of use, try to make one long string of popcorn, tie it off at the end and then get some help from your kids layering it around the tree. To add additional color, alternate the pieces of popcorn with cranberries.

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Gumdrops will add color and sparkle to your Christmas tree.
Gumdrops will add color and sparkle to your Christmas tree.
©iStockphoto.com/belknap

This ornament is so easy to make, it's a great project for kids of all ages. All you need is some 1- to 3-inch (5- to 7-centimeter) Styrofoam balls, a bag of colored gumballs, a box of toothpicks, a spool of ribbon and some ornament hooks. Take the gumballs and stick them into the foam ball using the toothpicks, one at a time. Keep going, alternating colors until the foam is completely covered in gumballs. Next, you need to hang it, so take the ribbon and tie it around the center of the gumball drop. Then, add your hook hanger and find a firm branch to hang it on. Try using traditional Christmas colors for the best effect.

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Lifesavers, the colorful, round hard candy with the hole in the middle, have been used for all kinds of crafty projects because of their vibrant colors and appeal to children. You can use these fruit-flavored candies to make an edible ornament for your Christmas tree. All you need to make these holiday treats is some black string licorice and a lot of Lifesavers. If you want to stick to red and green, you're going to need to weed through the bag and pick those out. A rainbow-colored wreath is a good option if you don't want to go through the trouble of fishing out the Christmas colors. Cut the licorice into foot-long strips and loop the Lifesavers through until the section of string is full. This should take about 12 to 15 candies. Then, simply tie the string off and hang it on your tree.

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A little icing and some colored candies and you could have a whole forest of Christmas trees.
A little icing and some colored candies and you could have a whole forest of Christmas trees.
©iStockphoto.com/THEPALMER

This isn't one you can hang on your tree. Instead, it's a miniature, edible version of the tree. For this one, you need some ice cream sugar cones, green cake frosting, M&M candies and some Popsicle sticks to do the messy work. Lay out some wax paper on the counter, and unwrap and lay out all of your ingredients. Invert the cone so that it's point-side up, and then use a Popsicle stick to spread on the green icing. Make sure it's completely covered, but don't glob on too much. You want a nice, even coating. Then press the M&Ms into the tree as your candy ornaments and you're finished. You can also use gummy bears or any other small candy as your ornaments. The only problem with this decoration is that your kids will probably eat it long before it lands on the mantle.

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This edible, decorative ornament is fun because of the transformation that takes place in the ingredients. Take your kids to your local cooking or holiday store and have them pick out their favorite Christmas cookie cutters. Then, buy a nice assortment of colorful hard candies. For best results, stick to Jolly Ranchers and Lifesavers. When you get home, wrap the cookie cutters in foil and spray them with cooking oil to avoid sticking. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) and lay the cookie cutters out onto a cookie sheet lined with foil. Then lay out the colored candies in a single layer inside each cutter. You can sift through to get single colored ornaments or go for multi-colored. Bake the ornaments for about 10 minutes, or until all the candies are melted. Remove the ornaments from the oven and poke a hole for your ribbon hanger near the edge of each one while it's still hot. Once it's cooled, string some ribbon through the hole and hang it on the tree.

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Sources

  • Albright, Barbara. "Treats for the Tree." familyfun.com, 2009. http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/feature/famf117ornaments/famf117ornaments.html
  • Brantley, Amy. "Edible Christmas Ornaments: Perfect for a Traditional Christmas Theme." associatedcontent.com, December 13, 2007. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/473605/edible_christmas_ornaments_perfect.html?cat=74
  • Carter, John. "How to Make Edible Christmas Ornaments." gomestic.com, November 18, 2008.http://gomestic.com/cooking/how-to-make-edible-christmas-ornaments/
  • DeSpirt, Debbie. "Homemade Christmas Ornaments." suite101.com, November 11, 2008.http://holiday-kidscrafts.suite101.com/article.cfm/homemade_christmas_ornaments
  • "Edible Christmas Decorations." easyfunschool.com, 2009. http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1270.html
  • Pietsch, Lisa Thibault. "Making Child-Friendly Christmas Ornaments." Associatedcontent.com, November 16, 2005. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/14168/making_childfriendly_christmas_ornaments.html?cat=25
  • S., Emma. "The Proper Way to String Popcorn for Your Christmas Tree." associatedcontent.com, November 23, 2007. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/448839/the_proper_way_to_string_popcorn_for.html?cat=33

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