Christmas is only a few days away and it’s time to bring out that Christmas cheer! Which, if you are a tired mom reeling from a long, exhausting year, can be a little hard. A week off in a spa with George Clooney, or Brad Pitt, no wait, Channing Tatum as as your masseuse may seem slightly more appealing… But, alas, our ‘momly’ duties call.
As a British lass, I am used to an English-style Christmas and decorations. Christmas in South Africa just doesn’t feel the same, mainly as it’s piping hot and people tend to ‘braai’ their turkeys. It’s not bad, just very different.
This year I was determined to get some English-style festive spirit into the house, but with a South African twist. A well-hidden arts ‘n craft streak seems to have surfaced since having L, so I also wanted to ‘get my hands dirty’ and give make my own decorations a whirl. Let me just state up front that my arts ‘n craft mission has only just started and I am by no means a pro, so if I can do it, it’ll be like child’s play for you.
So let’s do this thing.
1 – Baked Oranges
This is so easy and there are heaps of things you can use them for; string them together and hang them up, use them as table centre pieces or put them on your tree. As an added bonus they also make your house smell lush. Yum.
Baking whole oranges
- Slice the orange from top to bottom about 6 times. Not a deep cut, just to get through the skin.
- Put the whole orange in the oven over night on a low heat, 50 degrees c. Check the oranges in the morning, if they are still very juicy leave them for a bit longer. If they are drying out then turn the oven off and leave the oranges in there whilst the oven cools.
Baking sliced oranges
- Slice orange width ways into thin slices, literally 3mm. Put them directly onto the oven rack (not a tray as they will stick).
- They also need to be cooked on a low heat, 75 – 100 degrees c. Leave them for 2 hours and then check them. If they are still soft in the middle leave them for longer – checking them every 30 minutes.
- Leave them to cool in or out of the oven.
Creating a string of orange slices with cinnamon sticks
- Line up the oranges and cinnamon sticks. 3 orange slices and then a cinnamon stick. Do as many as you want to create the right length.
- Measure a piece of string three times the length of the oranges and cinnamon sticks.
- Using a kebab stick, pock a hole in the middle of the sliced oranges.
- Neatly tape string to one end of the kebab stick. Now use the kebab stick as a needle, and thread the string through the middle. Work from the top of your row down.
- After every 3 oranges, tie on a cinnamon stick and then continue threading until you come to the end of the oranges you have laid out.
- At the end you can tie on a whole orange or more cinnamon sticks. And then thread the kebab stick and string back up through the oranges. This time go bottom to top, so the string crosses in the middle of the orange, this helps keep the orange in place.
- Once you are back at the top again you can tie the string together and create a loop to hang them from.
2 – Stick Christmas Tree
- Take your little ones for a walk in a nearby forest or park, and pick up different length sticks that have fallen to the ground.
- Once at home, cut and assemble the sticks to resemble the iconic triangular shape of a Christmas tree. Smallest stick at the top and getting longer as you work down.
- Lay the sticks about 10cm apart.
- Measure two pieces of string that are double the length of the tree when it is lying flat.
- Start at the top, left or right, and tie a knot around the top piece. Leave a good length of string at the top for later.
- Work your way down the sticks, tying a knot on each one. Keep the string fairly close to the end of the stick
- Once you have finished one side, start on the other. The trickiest part is making the knots the same distance as the previous one, don’t stress too much about matching them exactly. It looks good with a few different angles in it.
- Once you have finished the other side you’re done. Tie the string together at the top, hang it from a wall and decorate.
3 – The South African Twist.
- Get your hands on a bunch of old Proteas. If you have a bunch that are going old, spray paint the flower and part of the stalk gold. They look amazing!
Use them to decorate your stick tree or just in a vase on your table.
And that’s it, homemade Christmas decorations done. See, easy as Christmas pie. Happy holidays mammas!
Got a little bit more time on your hands and still feeling a little crafty? Take a look at these uber cool DIY cereal box Draw Dividers.
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