My daughter and I are history buffs at our house We homeschool, and for the month of December we decided to do something fun for history. Instead of continuing on with our ancient world history, we are doing some Christmas themed history. The other day we ran across the origins of the Christmas tree. They don’t know the exact date it began to come into fashion but they believe it originated in Germany. The earliest historical reference to Christmas trees dates back to 16th century Germany, In 1605 a traveler to the city of Strasbourg described the German custom of bringing a fir tree into the drawing room at Christmas time and decorating it with apples, wafers, paper roses, gilt and sugar ornaments.

I remember my Grandmother telling of stringing the tree with dried fruits, nuts, and get this… REAL LIT CANDLES! They lit it just one time, on Christmas Eve.

Well, all this got our wheels turning and we got inspired! No, don’t worry, no lit candles on our Christmas tree! We did however decide that we were going for an old fashioned Christmas theme this year. We began to dry apple slices, orange slices,using our dehydrator, but you can do it in your oven at 170 degrees as well, just dry them with the door cracked open for 2 – 3 hours.  We also made cinnamon ornaments. I will show you how we did it below.

Cinnamon ornaments are so easy to make and so much fun, not to mention, they smell WONDERFUL!

All you need is 1 1/2 cups of cinnamon, ( just get the dollar store kind)

1 1/2 cups of apple sauce

1/8 cup of Elmers glue

 

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Now the fun part! Place those ingredients into a medium sized bowl, mix and knead like cookie dough. Too sticky? Add more cinnamon. I sprinkle cinnamon on the table and some on top of the dough before rolling out to prevent any sticking.

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After cutting out your gingerbread men, or what ever shapes you decide,don’t forget to make a hole at the top for your string to hang them by. Place them on a  cookie sheet, sprayed with non stick spray. Place in an oven preheated to 170 degrees. Let them bake for 1/2 hour.  After baking take them out and let them dry for another 24 hours. You want them to be nice and hard so they wont break. These can be decorated with puffy paint for pretend icing, or anything you think would be cute! We opted to leave them plain to go with our simple Christmas theme.We took jute string, available at Walmart and made loops through the holes on top. I just happened to have some well worn kitchen curtains that I could bear to part with yet, so I tore these into strips and embellished the tops of the gingerbread boys with a “home spun” bow! You’de be amazed at what you can find to repurpose!

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After hanging the orange and apple slices, the gingerbread men and stars, we had enough extra to make a cute little garland to hang in the doorway!

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We strung some cranberries for the tree as well!

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This was so much fun, and I seriously only spend just a little over  $20.00 on everything! And it’s beautiful! Sure, its a little work, but it’s also a great way to slow down this busy season, and enjoy the little things. Working with your hands, and reflecting on all of the blessings we have, if we just stop the think about it. Don’t let this time of year stress you out and steal your joy. Take time to just stay home, spend some time with family, and realize that Christmas doesn’t have to be about getting the latest gadget or toy, it can simply be about peace if you let it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little project, and maybe inspired to relax and have fun!

P.S Be sure to let any unsuspecting husbands know that these are not edible!