WHY DO WE CELEBRATE?
Whether adding festive aromas or colours to your home or tree, using food has been a traditional decoration for holidays across cultures for centuries and is especially common during the darker days of winter when we need more light and colour in our homes.
WHICH FOODS CAN YOU USE FOR DECORATIONS?
• Cranberries* are grown in abundance in BC and are in season in the early winter. Cranberry strands add beautiful colour to a tree or in a window. With a grown up controlling the needle, thread clear fishing line then have children help pass the cranberries to be speared with the threaded needle. Children can then help push the cranberries along to the end of the strand.
• Popcorn* strands are a classic addition to a tree. Use unbuttered popcorn (best if it’s sat out for an hour or two so it doesn’t crack) and thread with a needle and fishing line like the cranberry strands above. Keep an eye on children 4 and under who might want to sneak a taste and are at risk of choking.
• Clove-studded*oranges or mandarins add a wonderful aroma and have been used for centuries to bring strength, good fortune and ward off illness. They are sometimes called pomanders. Children can poke the cloves into the orange peel and a grown up can add a ribbon or fishing line loop for hanging to the top of the orange. If necessary pre-form the holes for the cloves with a toothpick to make it easier for children to add the cloves. For older children, try making patterns with the cloves—like stars, hearts, bells or smiley faces!
• Cinnamon stick shapes and characters can be created by threading twine through 5 sticks into a star shape or hot gluing on googly eyes and painting on a Santa hat and white beard. Or create a pattern with cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices threaded on twine or ribbon—it provides a great festive aroma! If all that’s too complicated, simply tie ribbon on cinnamon sticks and hang around your space for the wonderful warming aroma.
• Crisped rice balls coloured in red and green are a beautiful addition to a tree that won’t break if they get knocked off by a pet or small child! Simply add crisped rice cereal to melted marshmallows then add food colouring. Have children form balls (then wash their very sticky hands!), allow to harden then add a ribbon or fishing line loop for hanging.
*Cranberries, popcorn and cloves are potential choking hazards. Keep an eye on children 4 and under who might want to sneak a taste and swallow them.