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5 Ways to Decorate Your Christmas Tree with Food

Festive food-based holiday decorations on a table.

Decorating a Christmas tree is a holiday tradition that millions of families take part in each year. This season, embellish your tree with these fun and unique edible beautifications.

Families from all around set out to pick the perfect Christmas tree winter after winter. For some, that means taking the family out to saw down the right spruce for their home. For others, it involves running to Target to find a perfect faux tree that will be cherished for years to come.

Either way, it’s the tights, ornaments, and memory-filled knick-knacks that make a tree sparkle with holiday joy. If you are hoping to try something new this year, why not embellish your spruce or pine with dried fruit or gorgeous sugar cookies.

First: A Word of Caution for Pet Owners and Parents

The aroma from some of these “edible” decorations will fill your home and create a magnificent appearance too, but the aromatic charm of them can prove a bit too tempting for pets. Food decorations are not a wise choice if you have family pets like cats and dogs that may be keen on eating them.

The smell alone will attract your pooch and many food-based decorations like salt dough ornaments can make them very ill.  The same risks apply if you have small children that like to eat everything- so if that’s the case, we recommend going another route.

Candy Canes

Candy canes on a Christmas tree against a red background.

Candy Canes are a classic winter treat, and you likely won’t make it into the new year without crunching on something with that crisp minty flavor.

The swirl of red and white look great on Christmas trees, and as the winter weeks pass by, you can snack on one here and there. Better yet, start a new tradition where your family members all guess how many candy canes are hanging on the tree. Then, let everyone choose a candy cane and eat it on Christmas eve.

Dried Fruit

Dried pears, oranges and apples.
Sharon Glasgow

Back in the good old days, rather than finding the perfect ornaments to match the color theme of your home, folks used dried fruit. The vibrant colors and fragrance it provides in your home are comforting, and although time-consuming, the steps are straightforward. Courtesy of Sharon Glasgow, we’ve found a tutorial that takes you through the steps and provides excellent images along the way. Keep reading for the condensed version.

Fruits that work well include:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Star fruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Pears

You’ll learn to slice your fruits into thin pieces and throw away the ends. Place your sliced fruit on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 5-7 hours at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip the fruit every hour or so to ensure even baking and drying.

Once they have completely dried and cooled, paint mod podge or varnish on each side, then once dried, add a string and decorate your tree.

Get the Recipe: Sharon Glasgow

Snowflake Butter Cookie Ornaments

DIY snowflake cookie ornaments glistening with sugar and icing.
Taste of Home

Shortbread or butter cookies can give your tree an effortless and cute look. You can either purchase a box of cookies that have cut out centers, so you can easily add ribbon or string. If you are feeling extra crafty, we found a recipe that makes the perfect cookie ornaments.

Once you’ve got your cookies all ribboned up, add them to your tree. If you’d like a fun activity that the entire family can join in on, try these beautiful cookie ornaments out.

Get the Recipe: Taste of Home

Popcorn Garland

Handmade popcorn garland arranged on a Christmas tree with platinum silver ornaments and white lights.
Lela Burris

Many choose to stay away from this old tradition, especially with dogs and small children in the home. However, if you’ve got a pet-free home and your kids are old enough to understand, then we say try it out.

You will need plain (unbuttered, unsalted) popcorn and needle and white thread or clear fishing wire and tape. Pop your popcorn, then thread your needle through the thickest part of the popcorn, and be careful not to poke yourself with the sharp needle.

Get the Recipe: Lela Burris

Fresh Cranberry, Sage and Bay Leaf Garland

Hand-crafted cranberry, sage and bay leaf garland.
Follow the Yellow Brick Home

In this elegant yet straightforward garland, you’ll need a package of fresh cranberries and a small container of fresh sage and bay leaf.

The creator of this beautiful and natural-looking garland says to string six cranberries, then one sage leaf and two bay leaves. Tie off the end and decorate your tree or mantel. You can use the same steps as you would make popcorn garland, but the author suggests using waxed dental floss as the fruit slides more easily. How creative.

Get the Recipe: Follow the Yellow Brick Home

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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