Decorating xmas trees with cookies and candy is a great way to give your tree that personal touch. It is creative and the results can be astounding in terms of their creative impact. Decorating an artificial tree with baked goods is one way to make it look more homey and real.
Decorating xmas trees with food goes back to the times before Christ was born. Offerings of food were often placed along sills and windows to feed the good spirits and protect from the evil ones. The first christmas trees were in fact imitations of the pyramid shape of real conifers.
The custom of placing pickles and other foods on the steps of cedar pyramids of wood that were hand constructed was very common in Germany before the 16th century. It wasn’t until Martin Luther came along and presented the upright tree that was brought indoors and lit with candles that we became familiar with the Christmas tree that we know today.
Using food as adornments on evergreen boughs is a time-honored tradition. Perhaps the strangest one is the German custom of hanging pickles on the tree. Today you can buy German ornaments made of glass that feature pickle cartoon characters wearing tiny Santa hats. Decorating xmas trees with shortbread and ginger bread men is also a tradition that came out of Germanic and Slavic cultures.
Of course today you can buy all kinds of different cookie cutters that certainly pique one’s creativity when it comes to making edible xmas decorations. Popular cookie cutter shapes are Christmas stockings, Santa, reindeer, presents and stars. However you could also decorate your tree with shortbread or gingerbread cut into any shape you like.
There are some really interesting novelty cookie cutters on the market including ones shaped like nativity scenes. One nice idea might be to decorate your tree with heart shaped cookies. You could also make one very large angel, decorate it with edible gold and glitter and use it as a tree topper.
Decorating xmas trees with candies can be even more fun. You can hang single candies from a tree – such as lollipops and foil wrapped chocolates. Toffees wrapped in foil look especially nice on a tall slim christmas tree. Candies can also be glued together in sunburst shapes to make interesting decorations or even strung together to make a long, shiny and delicious garland.
It is also very easy to make xmas tree decorations using pins and Styrofoam balls or backing. Simply spray the Styrofoam balls with green gold or silver and pin the candies so that they cover the surface of the ball. A similar idea comes from Martha Stewart who does the same with gumdrops and miniature marshmallows.
You could also use candied fruit. In fact one age old xmas decoration is the oranges that is stuck with cloves and hung from the tree. In theory you could also use oranges as the base for any type of home made candy ornament.
One idea is to create a tree topper for your xmas tree using peppermint candy canes. This involves gluing them onto a round Styrofoam ball so that they radiate from the center in the circle. The same thing can be done with gumdrops on toothpicks and lollipops.
By the way, the candy cane is one of the most potent of Christmas symbols and it is actually a symbol of Jesus. A candy maker invented them in Indiana in the late 1800’s. He came up with the idea of bending a plain white peppermint stick. The color white symbolizes the purity and sinless nature of Jesus. The three small stripes to symbolize the pain Christ on the cross.
The reason there are three is because they represent the Holy Trinity. The one bold stripe represents the blood of Jesus. Right side up it looks like a shepherd’s staff because Jesus is the shepherd of man. Upside down, it becomes the letter J symbolizing the first letter in Jesus’ name.
So candy canes are more than just pretty confections. They have quite a serious meaning. When it comes to decorating xmas trees, one cannot say enough about popcorn. Popcorn is one of the most versatile of xmas tree decorations. Most traditional is the xmas tree garland that is strung with the popped kernels. Popcorn balls that are dyed with food coloring also make very attractive christmas tree decorations. Left white, however, these popcorn balls look like snowballs hanging on your tree.
Christmas tree garlands can also be made out of any kind of berries. Cranberries and holly berries (not edible!) make especially nice garlands because of their festive red color.
Another unique idea is to decorate your christmas tree with homemade candy apples. These bright glossy red treats look absolutely fantastic, especially on a white or green tree. A nice compliment to the color of the candy apples would be gold chocolate coins or foil covered chocolates in the shape of Santa also strung on the tree. A starburst of candy apples would make a stunning tree topper for a slim christmas tree.
When decorating xmas trees with candy and baked goods remember that our success is only as limited as your imagination. If you are stuck for ideas, Martha Stewart’s cookbooks are an excellent source of inspiration. You can also get great ideas on the Internet and by searching traditional xmas tree sites to get ideas about how these decorations are supposed to look.