There has been a lot of talk in blogland lately about ideas for simple and homemade ornaments. I’ve (N.) always thought that gingerbread made beautiful and highly customizable ornaments. In fact now that I think about it if you have a Christmas wedding these would be a great favor.
Cookies are a great activity for kids and adults (aren’t we all kids at heart) and give you some time to enjoy the holiday season together. You can certainly create very elaborate cookies with fancy cookie cutters and a dozen different types of candy but you can also keep it simple with royal icing and food coloring. You want to make sure to use a recipe specifically for ornaments so the cookies dry rock hard (as will royal icing) and if treated carefully these ornaments could last years. If you don’t want to keep them break them up and throw them outside for the birds and you now have a very low waste Christmas project.
- 3 tabs. shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 teas. baking soda
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon of cloves, ginger and cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy, stir in molasses. Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir them into shortening mixture in 3 parts alternating with a 1/4 cup of water each time. Dough will be stiff.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Cut dough into 3 pieces. Knead to warm dough slightly, then roll each piece out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookie out with a gingerbread pattern of your choice
- Use a drinking straw to punch hole in center if ornament will be hanging.
- Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, turn oven off and let cool in oven.
- Remove from cookie sheet and place on rack to dry for about 3 days to totally harden.
There are endless ways to customize these. You could decorate your tree with every animal in the zoo or a fashion show or gingerbread boys and girls. Personally I like the idea of birds all decorated differently.
Do you decorate your tree with handmade items? What are your favorites?