Monday, December 27, 2010

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

I've mentioned that each Christmas we make scented ornaments. It's something we've been doing since Morgan was 10 months old, or basically his first Christmas. The idea came from a Family Fun Magazine and it was so simple we've kept it up for 9 years now, with the exception of last year when I could not score enough cinnamon to make these little ornaments.

The first year I made the ornaments I traced Morgan's itty bitty hand onto paper, cut that out and then traced around it with a knife on the dough. Thus I created lots of little handprints and had enough from one batch of dough to give them away to each relative and still had a few handprints to spare. When Jayden was born I had to make a double batch in order to make that many handprints, but rather then an excess of leftover handprints we pulled out cookie cutters and let Morgan go to town on the extra dough.

Our apartment smelled heavenly that Christmas. The neighbors probably thought I was baking gobs of cinnamony goodness as I dried and hung ornaments. We had the sweetest little snowmen and angels hanging from our Christmas tree with a few store bought items.

By Jayden's second Christmas a double batch of dough was barely enough to make all the needed handprints! There was no spare dough for anything and I was slightly disappointed not to expand our collection of homemade ornaments.

Morgan's '06 hanging just over his '10 handprint
When we made them in 2006 we made a double batch and found we had just enough dough to cover all needed handprints, some of which are still carefully stashed away in the cupboard waiting to be mailed to relatives in America. I'm a tad slow, can you tell?

In 2008 I made sure we made up a triple batch of dough so the kids could pull out cookie cutters and go wild! We ended up with such a fun abundance of homemade ornaments that we had some hanging on the tree, some on a book case stretched through the dinning area, and another set that we string up in the bathroom.

In 2009 we couldn't all the ingredients we needed and it was a small relief to not have to juggle how much dough to make. It's also a little sad to think one day I'll be looking back on my ornaments and wonder what size my kids hands were that year. Maybe, just maybe, my son's will carry on this tradition and I can adore those new handprints instead of fussing over what isn't..

In 2010, I couldn't find big bottles of cinnamon, but I did raid 3 grocery stores for small packets of cinnamon in order to have just enough for one batch of these ornaments. It gave me enough handprints to share with both sets of grandparents and keep one set for myself. That's a grand total of 6 handprints. I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry so I made this funny choking sound and Mr S thought I was eating the dough. We did, however have just enough left over to make 5 funny snails with our newest cookie cutter. Four of them made the cutest little present toppers for four cousins.

As for how we give out the handprints.. Well, ours are often have a bit of twine running through them and are hung on the Christmas tree or the wall of the house, but the ones we give away tend to look like this on top of Christmas parcels:

I'll also add that due to some unexpected circumstances this month I was making these ornaments the week of Christmas this year. That's not normally enough time to let them dry out, especially if your area is humid or excessively cold. So on a whim I threw my oven onto the lowest setting (90 c) and popped them in on two different trays. I shut the oven and then did the unthinkable. I left the house.

Yep, I went to town to pick up Christmas photos and ink and then went to watch a parade in a completely different town. Stayed for a lovely dinner with Nana and then returned back home again. One pan was done, the other wasn't. I flipped the "undone" pans ornaments over and popped it back in for another 30 minutes. Then I pulled it out and left both pans on the counter to cool overnight. They were perfect and cut down big time on drying time!

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