Monday, September 19, 2005

Yes…..It will be here before you know it.

What? Christmas! I don’t even want to think about it now, but if you are one of those people who like to use your hands and make things for Christmas, it’s time to start. For as long as I can remember, I have made a certain number of home made gifts. I just like to give something that I made all on my own. I have made homemade vinegars, Cake mix in a jar, 9-bean soup in all kinds of containers, popcorn and seasoned salt, homemade whole wheat bread with a can of beef stew, potpourri in lace, small bathroom baskets, fruit baskets, tin punch ornaments, Cinnamon ornaments and many other things.

I inherited a Gingerbread cookie recipe from my mother in law that I have made every year since. I quadruple the recipe and store the dough in the refrigerator till I make the cookies. Grandpa and Aunt Laura would rather have the cookies than anything else. They are sent to them, in pretty Christmas tins, as well as other family members. It’s one of our traditions that is special to our family. (I’ll do a blog on traditions a little later on. Now that thought is running all over my head.) I keep my mind open all year long for ideas. If I see something on sale, I can buy it and have it ready when the time comes to make it. One year I found some beautiful copper baskets on sale 75% off. I paid very little for them and I knew at an instant that they would make great potpourri containers. Later during the year I found potpourri on sale and purchased it. I already had some lace that would fit on top. Put some ribbon around the top edge and you are ready to go. It was easy to make and they turned out to be a beautiful gift. I gave these to our neighbors alone with a plate of cookies. I am going to post some of my favorite ideas this week at the end of my blogs, so keep your eyes open if you would like to make some inexpensive Christmas gifts. Here is one of my favorite things to make:

Cinnamon Ornaments:

1 can (4 oz.) Ground Cinnamon
1 TBL - Ground Cloves
1 TBL - Ground Nutmeg
¾ Cup - Applesauce
2 TBL - White Glue

In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add applesauce and glue; stir to combine. Work mixture with hand 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Divide into four portions. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters of desired shapes. Using a straw, make small hole in top of ornament. Place cutouts on a wire rack and allow to dry at room temperature for several days until completely dry. Thread a ribbon through hole.
DO NOT EAT! Makes about 20 ornaments.

Lucy’s Notes:
1) I quadruple the recipe and make about 80 ornaments.
2) I purchase the spices thru San Francisco Herb Co. (check the side bar of my blog for their web address) and save a ton of money on the spice. For those of you who live near a Sam’s Club or Costco, you can buy your Cinnamon by the pound there at a very good price.
3) I have a large stainless steel bowl that I mix my large (quadrupled) recipe in. A glass bowl works good also. If you use a plastic bowl the cinnamon and other spices could stain it.
4) The mixture should be poured out on a floured cutting board or any floured surface. If you don’t flour, the mixture will stick. Flour your rolling pen before rolling.
5) I use some Christmas cookie cutters or you could use any shape you want to make the ornaments. I have used trains, teddy bear shapes, etc. Have fun with it. Be creative!
6) Flour the inside of the cookie cutter, if you are using one with a design imprinted on it. If you don’t, they will stick. Give the cookie cutter a little shake to get the dough to come out. If the dough resists coming out, use the tip of a knife in a corner to get it started.
7) The recipe calls for using a straw to make the hole at the top, but I use an ice pick. It doesn’t make such a big hole but it is big enough to get a ribbon thru.
8) Use a spatula to move the cookies to a wire rack. Don’t let the ornaments touch each other, for they need a little room for air to get through so they can dry. Put the wire rack out of the way of children and pets. You don’t want them to eat them and have an upset stomach. It will take about two days for them to dry completely. They will turn a lighter shade of brown as they dry. Trick: Several times I have put a oscillating fan over them to hurry up the drying process.
9) Once the ornaments are dry, you can dust off any excess flour with a pastry brush.
10)The ornaments will store for several years in ziplock freezer bags. Take a straw and put it in an open corner of the zipped bag and suck out the air. As you pull the straw out, zip the bag shut. This keeps air out of the bag and preserves the ornaments.
11) These ornaments are not hard to make and they can be made in a couple of hours. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

My husband loves it when I make these ornaments because it makes the house smell sooooo good. These ornaments can be given as small gifts to a Sunday school class, school children, nursing homes and hospitals or just neighbors, friends and family. You could tie a couple of them together with ribbon and attach them to a Christmas present.

One year, right after cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner, my sisters and I made the ornaments together. We had so much fun making them. They carefully took some home on paper plates to dry. Both sisters put ribbon in the small holes and then tied them around their rear view mirror in their cars. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Ok, have fun making your ornaments….. Let me know how they turn out. Email me if you have any questions.


At 8:32 AM, Blogger TC said...

I always wanted to do more homemade things for Christmas. I love the personal touch that it gives. I will keep an eye here to see what else you do for Christmas.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger puremood said...

OK, now if only I could remember this post a little closer to Christmas! I'd love to try this.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger GodlessMom said...

Wow, how cool! I'm definitely going to have to give that a try. I just love making things for the holidays. Thanks!

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Janet said...

One of my students asked me when Christmas was just today. Yikes!

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i made those gingerbread ornaments last year and gave them all away and this year, i want to do that cake mix in a mason jar thing. someone gave me one as a gift and i thought it was the coolest thing!

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Christmas so soon? Thanks for reminding me; it's time to shop at!

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Oh great One said...

I've made these before! They smell amazing!

I have been crocheting afghans for Christmas the last couple of months. I'm on my third one right now. I love getting my gifts ahead of time. Then you can sit back and smile watching everyone scurry!

At 10:35 PM, Blogger T. F. Stern said...

It will be here before you know it... I thought you were talking about Rita as it swings into the Gulf and aims for our coast.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

This is very cool!

Since we do not celebrate Christmas, I can relate from a distance, but the Jewish New Year is just around the corner.

have a good day.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Bar Bar A said...


I envy people like you! I would like to be able to make things with my hands but they always turn out...lets say...sad looking.

You have great ideas, I will pass them along to my crafty friends.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Katya said...

i've already started buying gifts and writing out cards, its never too soon...


At 7:35 PM, Blogger Titanium said...

I LOVE Christmas time! I will try your recipe & let you know how we like it at my house.

Thanks! :)


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