A Christmas tree should be a symbol of celebration for the family. When you decorate your home for Christmas holiday, one of the best ways to accomplish this is to focus on the family and other Christmas traditions, such as food-specifically Christmas sweets.
Family trees are the best kind. They should have Christmas ornaments that the children made when they were in first grade: the jar lids with pictures glued inside, the Christmas angels they colored, the candy canes they made from beads. A family tree should have the ornaments that the family has received as gifts over the years. One should be able to look at Christmas tree and see the small knitted wreaths, Christmas drums made of cardboard toilet paper rolls and felt, the ornament someone saw in a store and had to buy. All of these ornaments should hang proudly on a family tree. It should be a glorious hodgepodge of ornaments, humble and grand, all having an accompanying story and memory.
Food themes, especially of sweets, work well on a Christmas tree, and are easy to do. Candy canes are everywhere at Christmas, and one can purchase a box and hang the individual canes on the tree. Fragrant ornaments are also popular, those hearts or gingerbread men made from a cinnamon mixture and set to dry, then hung on the tree.
Gingerbread men can also be fashioned from the popular plastic clay. Molds and kits are available to do these ornaments, and they are charming on any tree.
Popcorn and cranberry garlands are a perennial favorite for a Christmas tree, and are very easy to make. First, pop a lot of popcorn. If you can get the kind in the bag and pop it on the stove or in an air popper, this is the easiest way to do it. Next, give everyone a needle (if they are old enough) threaded with a strand of heavy-duty thread about 1 1/2 yards long, a bowl of popcorn and a couple of bags of cranberries. Knot the end of the thread, about six inches from the end.
Then, get about four or five pieces of popcorn and spear them on the needle and move them down the thread to the knot. Take about two cranberries and string them down the same way. Follow with more popcorn. When you reach about six inches from the end, stop.
When everyone has finished their strings, you can knot them together at the free ends, and move the popcorn and cranberries back and forth to create a uniform look. Drape the strands on the tree.
Another easy ornament idea for a family tree is to get small boxes, such as those that over-the-counter medicines come in. Tape the ends shut and wrap them like small Christmas gifts. Hang them on the tree with a length of ribbon or with an ornament hook. This idea will allow everyone in the family to decorate a box to their liking and interests, and to hang it on the tree. It’s also good wrapping practice.
A family Christmas tree should be just that: by and for the family. All the family members should have an opportunity to place their favorite ornaments on the tree, and to contribute their own handmade ornaments. Often, something like a Christmas ornament will stir a long-forgotten memory. A family tree should reflect the lives and the love of the family in whose home it sits. It is more beautiful in the love it represents than the most glittering theme tree.