As a kid, we had a wonderful Christmas tree. Each year, my father would cut a fresh tree from our property and bring it into the house. The tree was draped in colorful lights, packages of silver tinsel, and a combination of decades of handmade ornaments. With the oddball assortment of macaroni-framed pictures, paper chains, or walnuts housing baby Jesus (labeled Christmas in a nutshell), the tree was more quirky than Department-store beautiful. In other words, it was perfect.
We would swarm around our parents who kept guard over the ornaments. We each had a favorite, and it was important to find it before another sibling could hang it on the tree.
My sister would look for the "Harold Angel" ornament. This was a stuffed fabric ornament of an angel cat from one of those pre-printed fabric panels sold in the early 1980's. The ornament was not much to look at -- but it came with a story. You see, we had a big, grumpy cat named Harold. He was anything but angelic. The idea of him with a halo and angel wings made us all laugh. Once my sister found the ornament, she'd break into song: "Hark the Harold angels sing..."
My favorite was made by my father. When I was in elementary school we had a family activity of making Christmas ornaments from salt dough. My dad made an ornament of my mother holding me while I was holding my doll. My mother's hair was made from dough pushed through a garlic press. The homemade ornament lasted for several decades until the fragile spaghetti-like hair started to break. Split ends were disastrous!
Over this Thanksgiving, I sat down with my kids and we made salt dough ornaments together for the first time. Hours passed as we laughed at our creations. I hope you enjoy making the ornaments as much as we did.
Recipe2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Mix with hands. Knead on flat, unfloured surface. No flour is needed on the kneading surface if the dough is of the right consistency. If it sticks -- add more flour to the dough. Roll dough out to 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters to make shapes. Poke a hole in the dough to allow for a ribbon for hanging the final ornament. Bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours on a non-stick baking sheet. Turn ornaments over one time at about 2 hours. Cool. Ornaments are now ready to paint with acrylics.
Our dogs are represented in the fun.