The tree (always a real one) would be in the front room and we would remove the tinsel and wrap it round ourselves like scarves while my dad put the lights on the tree.
The lights had to go on first. That was The Rule. Then the tinsel, then everything else. Glass baubles that hung of my grandmother’s tree, the weird swinging Santa with a massive head that had belonged to my other grandmother, woolly santas and things we made at school.
One thing that makes these memories so vivid is that I can remember both the smell of the box and the smell of the Christmas tree.
Now when I do this with my own children, our box of decorations has its own smell. When I open the lid, the Christmas smell that comes out is the scent of the dried fruit decorations I have made over the last couple of years.
This year I decided to make a dried fruit wreath. It is wonderfully easy to do and providing the fruit is all properly dry when you pack it away after Christmas, it should keep for several years.
How to Make a Dried Fruit Wreath
You Will Need: about 60 dried fruit slices (This works out at about 5 oranges and 3 lemons if you are drying the fruit yourself. Obviously this depends on the size of the fruit and how many slices you can get out of each one), 7 whole small citrus fruit (I used 3 limes and 4 satsumas), a wire coat hanger or some garden wire, ribbon (I used red burlap ribbon), a skewer or a darning needle, tape.
If you are drying your own fruit, full instructions can be found here.
The whole fruit takes longer; if you are organised and put the whole fruit in the oven first thing in the morning with some of the slices, you’ll be able to swap the slices over at lunch time and have your fruit more or less dried by the evening.
If the fruit isn’t completely dry when you get it out of the oven, leave it on a plate near a warm radiator on on a sunny windowsill for a couple of days should finish them off.
1. Remove the hook and the twisty bits from the hanger. The best way to do this is with wire cutters, but if you don’t have any, just cut through the plastic with an old pair of scissors, then bend the wire back and forth until it snaps.
3. Slip a lime onto the coat hanger and slide it along about half way. If the hole is not big enough (or if you forgot to make one!), use the skewer or darning needle to make it a bit bigger. If it sticks on the hanger, just wiggle at along until it is in the right place.
5. Thread the fruit onto the coat hanger so that they are on one side of the lime.
10. Make a bow. The way to get perfect bows is not to tie them! Cut a length of ribbon and fold it into a loop. Fold it over a couple of times in the middle in a concertina kind of way. Sew a few stitches to hold it in place. Cut another piece of ribbon and wrap it round the middle. Sew to hold it in place. Cut another length for the tails. Fold in half and sew to the back of the bow. Carefully sew the bow to the ribbon covering the tape. I just put a few stitches on either side so that I can put the door wreath holder behind the bow when I hang it up.
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You might also like to check out this Pinterest board for more natural and upcycled Christmas ideas!
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