A Homemade Christmas


I love our Christmas tree! Imperfect, too tall, too wide, too sparse, it’s a “wild” tree. Chopped from the woods, it was free, which totally works with my budget. I’ve been posting (and will be continuing to post) some of my homemade Christmas gift ideas–because everyone on my gift list is getting something homemade. Living way out in the boonies, an hour from a mall, tends to distance a person from the commercialism of the holiday season. Having little money widens the gap even further, and in fact, makes the gap into a friend. And decorating my tree with store-bought decorations suddenly seems completely undesirable. (Even ones I already own.) Shiny balls from Wal-Mart and yes, even lovely Hallmark ornaments are out of place and out of my sync with my Christmas.

There is no commercialism in my Christmas. No store-bought gifts, no store-bought decorations, no store-bought tree. I could call it a big fat bummer and be depressed. Or I could call it a blessing and, with the temptation of spending money removed, make the most of the opportunity to fully experience Christmas in a more organic way. What is most amazing to me about this immersion in an organic Christmas is that my kids aren’t even asking for anything. Which isn’t to say they won’t get any Christmas presents–they will. Family will send gifts, and at the last minute I’ll count up my available cash and give them what I can so they can do what teenagers enjoy most–their own shopping. And they will have filled stockings with their favorite candies and fresh decks of playing cards. But they are so removed from the hullabaloo of Christmas lights and store displays that they don’t expect anything. They aren’t caught up in the holiday madness because they just aren’t exposed to it. I think it’s one of the most amazing things about moving out into the country. The materialistic atmosphere just evaporates somewhere about halfway down our rock-dirt road and something else, something freeing, seeps into your soul. We don’t need all that stuff here. And that feels good.

So I’m decorating my Christmas tree in sugar cookie cutouts, gingerbread men, dried oranges, garlands of popcorn and cranberries, mixed only with what ornaments I have that are handmade and/or vintage family hand-me-downs. Combined with the scent of the white pine tree, my house smells incredible.

I’ve been keeping busy this week, a little at a time between work and life, prepping ornaments. It’s quite a production.

I like things to be simple, so for the home-baked ornaments, I’m using only sugar cookie stars and gingerbread men. Simple makes a statement when it’s in quantity, and boy am I making quantity.

The sugar cookie stars are sprinkled in a variety of colors (everything I had on hand).

You can see my sugar cookie recipe here.

To use sugar cookie cutouts and gingerbread men as ornaments (and gift tags), poke a hole with a toothpick into the cookies while they’re still fresh from the oven. Then use a needle to poke ribbon through the hole to make an ornament hanger.

I love gingerbread men. They are so much fun! (I still have a lot of gingerbread men decorating to do.)

You can see my gingerbread cookie recipe here.

To prepare the fruit, I slice oranges thinly and bake at a low temperature (about 200-degrees) for three to four hours, then let sit a few days to finish drying. I stick cloves in the oranges (before drying) to make them pretty and it also adds to the fragrance.

Popcorn garlands take a long time to make. It’s a good thing to do late at night while you’re watching TV or talking. Stringing popcorn is kind of like snapping beans. It seems like it takes forever but it’s worth it. I love the look of popcorn garlands.

I strung about ten pieces of popcorn then one cranberry as my pattern. Not that I was really counting…..

I’m still working on my tree, but I’ll post a pic when it’s all decorated, along with some closeups of some of the handmade and vintage ornaments that are going up as well. Now tell me about your tree! What do you like to put on that’s home-baked or handmade?


  1. AndiK says:

    Gorgeous! I’m quite impressed!

  2. ChaoticMom says:

    Wow those are amazing Suzanne! Your tree will be better than any of those high priced fancy ones!

    We are still using the artificial tree we bought over 10 years ago that’s missing at least one branch. We have low ceilings, so it’s short enough and my husband is allergic to the real thing. I don’t bake anything to put on my tree, but it is covered in the ornaments my kids have made over the years. It seems like every year they each (I have 4 kids) bring home at least one new ornament they made in Kindergarten or Art class or whatever. As for the non-home made ornaments, they are mostly ones I got to take from Mom’s tree, and other ornaments that mean a lot to us. For a long time my husband’s grandparents would get each kid an ornament with their name on it each year, but as we had more and more kids and they got older they’ve had to stop sending those, but we treasure the ones we have, and the kids always love putting on “their ornaments”. We never did like that fuzzy garland stuff, so we use strings of wooden beads. I remember one year we did string popcorn, but the girls were too impatient to make it again. We used to have one of those big fancy light-up angels on the top.. we’d gotten it as a wedding gift. But this year the girls said they felt it wasn’t right for our tree and they got out an old tarnished spikey star topper that looks just right. So our humble tree is kind of like Charlie Brown’s tree. It looks shabby until all the love is put into it, and then I think it ends up looking pretty special.

    Thanks for sharing yours. I can’t wait to see pics of the whole tree. I’m so excited! I’ll bet your whole house is gorgeous!


  3. Ulrike says:

    Don’t the critters eat the decorations?

  4. Barbara says:

    Hello, My first visit to your blog and compliments to you. I will visit often and adding a link to my blog. I also live far from town, 45 minutes and one does disconnect from the commercialism when living this far out. Your tree and all it’s ornaments are wonderful.

  5. Tressa says:

    The year my husband and I went to the back 40 (acres, that is) and chopped down our own cedar was the best. Time has faded the reality of the tree growing MUCH too big by the time we returned to our front door. DH had to “straighten” and “shorten” the tree with some creative cutting. After we shoved it into the corner and decorated it, it was the most beautiful Christmas tree, ever.

    This year is tight financially. A move, hospital bills, new water heater, plumbing bills and chosing to help a family member in need have given us the opportunity to bring out our old “stand by” tree. It’s 3 feet tall and plastic. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed decking it with paper chains. (We do have store bought ornaments, but they just didn’t feel right.) DH and I enjoyed watching them. This year and for this moment, our little tree and paper chains are the best tree, ever.

  6. beekudzu says:

    Those are the absolute best trees. Ours is filled with special ornaments we’ve collected over the years, a few from our tree when I was a little girl and those really cute ones that my daughter made when she was little, which are my most precious. My favorite is Baby Jesus in a walnut shell.

    This year, we have a big puppy to contend with and money is a little tight, so we didn’t buy a big tree. Instead, our little house will have 3 big Norfolk pines that we put on tables. We’ll hang only the most special ornaments on them. The hard part is going to be deciding which are the “most special” ones.

  7. beekudzu says:

    I forgot to say how much I like your tree, Suzanne. I can’t wait to see the finished version.

  8. Stephanie says:

    You are one amazing woman. I can’t wait to see your completed tree, and you have inspired me ~ yet again. I have never made a homemade ornament, but next year I’m putting a small tree in our kitchen, and will be following your lead.

  9. Heidi says:

    I cant wait to see the tree baby!!! We do paper chain, popcorn and cranberries. We used to put what few bulbs I have left on there, but Big Son said they were ugly compared to our tree….. SO thank you for the recipe for gingerbread men. I am going to try them! I bet the oranges are beautiful!!

  10. Patricia Herman says:

    Suzanne I absolutely LOVE your ornaments and tree. Your Christmas will be wonderful without all the commercialism. Thank you for posting all these recipes – I am printing them off to use next year.

    You are an inspiration in what the real meaning of Christmas is – its about spending time together and enjoying life.


  11. Leah says:

    Your tree decorations are so creative and pretty! I’d be afraid my :catmeow: :purr:’s would try to eat them. Not becaue it would hurt them but mine would just trash the tree LOL!I bought some clear round oranaments once, took the tops off and put different colors glitter in them and make ribbon hangers for them. Can’t wait to see the finished tree!

  12. Kacey says:

    Sounds nice to live away from the commercialism of the holidays. (well, if you can keep your TV off! That’s the worst!)

    My cats would have a field day with that tree though.

  13. Peggy says:

    Suzanne, you are making wonderful memories for you kids and yourself.My 3 daughthers are now telling their own children about the wonderful Christmas they had on the farm each year. They don’t remember how poor we were just all the fun and excitment of a country Christmas. Can’t wait to see your tree. I am loving your recipes… thanks for sharing

  14. Janet says:

    Looks like yours is going to be a pretty tree. I only put up a small tree this year, but I filled it with my home made ornaments. I make ornaments every year and I have tons, but I love doing it.

  15. Cathy J says:

    Have you ever made the ornaments in which you combine = parts cinnamon (or allspice, clove, whatever you like) with applesauce to form a dough for cookie cutting?

  16. Suzanne says:

    It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the season and thankfully you are raising a generation of non-entitled adults. Heaven knows that around here, with the blanket of McMansions rolling in there are plenty of teenagers blanketed in entitlement. YIKES. I love the natural trees decorated in birds nests, popcorn strings and the fruit slices. After Christmas we’d put it outside for the birds to have a feast.

    We were very poor newlyweds when my husband was in the military. Christmas was spent a thousand miles away from our families and we actually cashed in some pop bottles to be able to buy small gifts. I remember getting small makeup bag. It was simple and I didn’t feel deprived of “things”. Being so far from the love of family I realized what was really important.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  17. Susan says:


    Your tree with its homemade finery is very inspiring. I have done the same old thing for years now and my kids just weren’t very excited about decorating this year. I think a Homemade Christmas is just what we need to make next year the most memorable holiday ever. Thanks for the ideas!

  18. Esther says:

    Dear Suzanne,

    I was lucky enough to be on a yahoo group that suggested to check out your blog and included the link only a few weeks ago. I have become a daily reader. I truly look forward to having a cup of coffee with you and your family early every morning.

    You embody the essence of what I believe are the desires of more people than you know.

    I finally get Christmas. Reading what you write echos the voices in my head and heart. Simple and abundant love is all that we need. No video games, no electronic doodads,
    no chia pets. Finding what is in your heart and living the life that you know is what is right for you is the best Christmas anyone can experience. I am certain that most every day of your life is a kind of Christmas.

    I don’t know if I will even decorate this year, I just lost my Mom and the shiny, happy, garish and beautiful ornaments dont entice me at all. But seeing your homemade tree and reading your thoughts and feelings makes me feel connected to it anyway. I know next year will be different. I just wanted to convey to you what you have done for me this year

    I wish you peace and happiness this and every season.

    Esther in SC

  19. MARY says:

    :butterfly: Suzanne, I love your tree! It’s so beautiful!! I live in a “dollhouse”, therefor, I have a doll-sized tree. It’s decorated with all the ornaments my little girl has made. I also started an ornament collection for her this year, so there will be store-bought. It’s cute and festive, but not drop-dead gorgeous like yours!! Deck the halls!!!!!!! :treehugger:

  20. TeresaH says:

    I bet your house smells delicious!!! I don’t have room for a tree here. Next time I do I want to try homemade ornaments too.

  21. Suzette says:

    I can’t wait to see the finished tree. I think it will be amazing!

    My decorations are totally commercial, because time is the commodity I have the least of at the moment. But, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t LOVE to have a homemade Christmas…if the rest of the world would just slow down and let me do it!

    I can almost smell your tree from here.

  22. Angelia M says:

    Suzanne, your tree will be absolutely beautiful! I love your cookies, gingerbread men, orange slices, etc.

    I can remember when I was young we did the popcorn, cranberries and my mom would take oranges – tie ribbons around them and stick cloves in them.

    we have no tree, once again, this year, but this year (other than DH being scrooge – only with decorating – LOL) we have no room, we have 6-month-old twin granddaughters and always spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my sister and her family – she has four children.

    I absolutely love your way of living – the kids not asking for anything – how amazing. You are truly blessed in so much more than money could every buy.

    I enjoy your blog so much, first place I go when I am able to take a break from work (or before).

    Thanks for the smiles 🙂

  23. Jen R (aaron-n-jen.com) says:

    Hi Suzanne! I absolutely love your tree. Next year I’m planning on doing the same kind of thing. This year I had 20 credits this semester and just not a whole lot of time (although I made time for plenty of other things like reading stories to the kids, playing games with the kids, etc.). We’ll still have store bought presents, but that’s because the kids get things like wooden blocks that I need for our homeschooling curriculum. They think its amazing fun to play with the blocks (or make-it-yourself volcanoes) and read their books, and I think it is great that I spare my budget. 😉

    Other than that, I truly don’t get into all the “I have to have the Tickle-Me-Elmo” or whatever is big this year. And we don’t buy electronic toys! I dislike the Leap Frog series – it’s another electronic substitute for overworked and overtired parents who can’t find the time to sit down and read to their kids. That’s not to say I haven’t used the electronic babysitter in my life (TV), because I have, but I am working towards using those crutches less and less…

  24. Becky says:

    Suzanne, I have always had critters in my house and can’t put food type ornaments on my tree. I sure hope the cats leave yours alone. Of course, then it would make your Christmas a little more exciting.
    But we do make homemade ornaments. Well we did when the kids were younger. Not so much into it now. When Boo was younger, we always made enough for his class at school.

  25. jane says:

    Homemade, bought, antique, hand me downs, garage sale, memories of kids making, special friends gifts – whatever the ornament or the theme – fresh or artificial trees – the important thing is why we do it and to recognize what is important and who and why. Whatever vehicle we choose in our celebrating, decorating, semi homemade or homemade, store bought – especially in our economy now with so many losing jobs and losing retirement etc, we are still at war, losing our soldiers (last night on national TV in an interview, Pres Bush admitted finally admitted there were no Al Quida in Iraq- he went to war to get Sadam, when the interviewer questioned him on it saying so you are telling us there were no Al Quida in Iraq to cause this war, he said and i quote” So What”, homemade or store bought matters little, it is why we celebrate the birth of Christ and how that decision by God to give us that gift will change our lives so we are more loving, more grateful for our opportunities, more forgiving, more understanding of what is important and why. How we give to others, how we help those in need, less focus on ourselves, how we make the world a better place is Christmas and what is really important. Georgia knows that and lives it.

  26. Kari says:

    My family lives on a fairly tight budget so I can stay home with the kids so Christmas is not sparse, but we we think really really hard about every purchase. I love hand made gifts and ornaments, so your cookies on the tree are right up my alley.

    About 3 years ago I thinly sliced up a few oranges and apples and dried them in the dehydrator. They made fantastic ornaments with a bit of ribbon to hang them. The light shines through the orange slices so nicely -but I like your idea of cloves stuck in them before drying. I may try that this year.

    Unfortunately, both of our cats like popcorn so a cranberry/popcorn garland is out, but I have always wanted to do that.

  27. IowaCowgirl says:

    The tree looks awesome! (especially since it greatly resembles our tree!) We have a “ditch cedar”, decorated with the applesauce/cinnamon/glue ornaments in all different shapes. I draw the line at popcorn garland; although I’m insanely jealous of yours, I don’t have the patience to sit and string it….

    Merry Christmas!

  28. Minna says:

    Well, I have sometimes made ginger bread ornaments and I have also saved the wrapping from those chocolate balls you can hang on the tree. Then I have just put a ball made out of paper pulp inside.

  29. Mim says:

    I have been suggesting for a few years now to my 4 brothers & 2 sisters for us to have a home/hand made Christmas…but everyone seems to be too busy..maybe if I start early enough this year they will agree to it.. Most of my ornaments are hand made… My son (27 yrs old in Feb)made this countdown garland in kindergarten. Mittens cut out of construction paper & attached to a piece of red yarn. The numbers 1 ~ 25 are written on the mittens. Wouldn’t take a million dollars for it…. :treehugger:

  30. Donna says:

    Why Suzanne, that’s the PRETTIEST tree and the neatest idea!!! I would LOVE stringing the popcorn/cranberry garland, because I DO love tedious jobs – I worked for hours to get my mother’s add a bead necklace untangled. LOL I love puzzles…
    All the cookies and dried oranges are such a FUN idea – esp. for the children!!!!! I think the closest I ever got to having edibles on my tree was candy canes. LOL But, I do have vintage ornaments, and ornaments from our Disney trips, and dolls from Europe…meaningful things to me. I like trees like ours, that have sentimental meaning!!!! You are very creative and talented. Your tree will be valued by your children and 52, for EVER.

  31. stefinity says:

    You are amazing! I’m so impressed that you have the time, energy, and ability to make so many homemade goodies. I still have homemade ornaments that my teenage boys made in preschool and beyond…. some of them are made from egg cartons, recycled christmas cards, tin can lids, or just paper, but they are special beyond words.

  32. Lucy says:

    I love those homemade ornaments. Every year I say I’m going to do it but I never do. Adorable!

  33. Kris says:

    Suzanne your tree is absolutely beautiful! – I love a homespun Christmas!
    Here is what we did this year:
    Gather pinecones (free), outline the tips with glue and then roll in a mixture of cinnamon and ground cloves, let dry and then place in your tree or hang from twine for an ornament. You can even add a bit of glitter for shine.
    OR – Have you made pomanders before? Wrap ribbon crosswise around an orange leaving enough to make a loop and bow. Push in whole cloves in the exposed part of the orange. The orange will dry out and the cloves act as a preserver so the fruit does not rot. As the fruit dries and shrinks you will have to readjust/tighten the ribbon. You can also eliminate the ribbon and just put in a pretty bowl for a centerpiece.These will last for years and smell WONDERFUL. Those cinnamon-applesauce ornaments are fabulous too and last for years.
    Have a Merry, Blessed Christmas!

  34. shirley says:

    Suzanne, I hardly ever comment because I don’t feel like I have anything significant to say.Until now.
    I have felt something missing from Christmas for several years, and haven’t been able to get into the spirit.
    I finally realized it was the fact that I was bombarded with commercialism and greed. The real meaning of Christmas has been lost in the stampeding crowds,Nativity scenes declared unconstitutional,Merry Christmas replaced with Happy Holidays, I could go on and on, but I won’t.
    I love to watch The Walton’s Homecoming because of the simplicity of it. Family , home, love.
    We’ve lost thousands of our brave young men and women in this senseless war and thousands more are scattered all over the world. I don’t think they are worried about how to get the latest electronic gadget or big screen t.v. All they want is to be home.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing your blog every day, and especially for today’s post. You wrote so eloquently about what I feel.
    Your family is blessed to have you, and your extended family(readers) are blessed as well.

  35. shirley says:

    Oops, I forgot to say your tree is the kind I want and I’m going to have it this year.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  36. MJ Krech says:

    I emailed a link to your Homemade Christmas blog entry to my sister. She added it to HER blog! You are inspiring people all over the county! Thanks! :hug:

  37. Barb Wilson says:

    Hey Suzann that is what I call a wonderfull xmas tree , it reminds me of my childhood days & the good times we had my grandmother always done her tree like that , making things to put on it it just made everthing so special, all the hollidays we had back then ,I could set & think back of the good ole times we had back them , & on u`r site u bring back all the good times u do a wonderfull job Suzanne I love the pic`s of the boys chopping down the xmas tree

  38. kd (small caps) says:

    YOU have the whole idea of Christmas in a nutshell! I love the non-commercial approach. Well done!

  39. Melissa Marsh says:

    Wow, Suzanne, I am so proud of you and your children for not following the commercialism of Christmas. It must be a refreshing RELIEF not to have to deal with it.

    I’m trying very hard not to get sucked into the commercialism and I wish I could get my daughter to follow along. But she’s only 8 and she is IN LOVE with the Disney movie, Bolt, so I had to get her a stuffed Bolt toy. I keep trying to tell her that Christmas isn’t about getting, but giving. Maybe my words will eventually sink in.

    Can’t wait to see what’s on your tree! I have a variety of ornaments on mine, most of them from my childhood or those that my daughter has made.

  40. catslady says:

    I tried the popcorn string one year but alas my dog thought it was for her. I always have animals so I had to give up on anything edible. I love what you are doing. I’ve neglected putting out all my doodads that I’ve collected over the years but the tree is always my big focus. We just had our tree trimming party with friends and family and everyone really looks forward to it. I have 40 years of collected ornaments – homemade ones from the kids or that I made, special ones given as gifts, some collected on vacations, and a few from childhood although I seem to lose a few of those every year (especially the year the entire tree fell over).

  41. JeannieB says:

    I agree with all the above, Suzanne, you are a beautiful woman and I am so grateful that you share your life with us.
    We hear so much bad news about the economy, jobs are lost everyday and it seems that there is an apartment fire 2 or 3 times a week in my city. But when I come here, I feel so much better, love your blog and can’t live with out the forum and my Chicken friends.

  42. Melanie says:

    Very simple and VERY beautiful, Suzanne. LOVE IT. I think a lot of people feel the way you do,especially this year and in these times we’re living in. Unfortunately, by the time Christmas rolls around, most years I am just EXHAUSTED trying to make the “perfect” Christmas for my family, no matter how early I start. You’ve definitely given me some food for thought! Have a Merry Christmas.

  43. Miss Lila says:

    I don’t think the “true” meaning of Christmas had anything to do with fancy, shmancy, lite-up trees or hundreds of unwanted, unneeded gifts around the tree. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but IF I did, I would do it just like you do!
    You have more of the true meaning than anyone I’ve met.
    And I think you probably have more peace of mind.

    Have a great time stringing that popcorn Girl!

    Miss Lila in Atlanta

  44. Lorie says:

    I love your tree and ornaments. I think everything from nature is more beautiful than anything manmade ever could hope to be. And making everything from home, lets you spend time together and appreciate the season and each other. We too are having an old-fashioned Christmas. Not everything is homemade, but lots of things are. No Christmas shopping for me, only homemade goodies.
    Merry Christmas!!

  45. Brandy says:

    Your tree is gorgeous! Our tree has the handmade ornaments my kids have made over the years, and this year. *G* And ornaments that I grew up with and inherited after my mother passed.

  46. Janelle says:

    Your photos make feel so warm and fuzzy inside! Can I come over?

  47. Kim W says:

    Awesome, awesome, AWESOME!! I just LOVE a simply, country-fied tree. Now…I have to admit right away that our tree is a fake one … BUT … as we don’t live where anyone lets you cut your own w/o COST, this is a $$ saver for us. We got this particular tree last year & I HAVE to say that I think it’s SO beautiful – it’s white lights glow in a way that make it look positively surreal. And, like you, we have put away the newer ornaments and only use the rustic/vintage ones. I haven’t wanted to simply sit and stare at a Christmas tree since I was a little girl – until this one. It breaks my heart to take it down. :treehugger:

    Thanks SO MUCH for the recipes. By the way…are your gingerbread men soft? I’m looking for a recipe for SOFT gingerbread men.

    Blessings from Ohio…

  48. SuzieQ says:

    You have the true Christmas spirit…We, in past years when kids were at home, have made ornaments from sweetgum balls..You take toothpicks, dip one end in a good tacky glue and insert in a hole on the ball…continue until all holes are used. Let dry and then spray with white, gold or silver spray point or they can also be left natural..We used to hang them on the tree, make wreaths or stack into a tabletop tree and decorate it with candies wrapped in colored metallic foil..so cute and so much fun..MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.. :clock:

  49. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Kim, they’re soft right after they’re baked and if we’re going to eat them, we eat them within a day or so. Otherwise, they get hard (not too hard to eat, but not SOFT). That’s why they work really well for ornaments and gift tags. They are really good, though!

  50. Diane says:

    I can wait to see your tree. Love the cookies you are going to hang. My dog and cat would eat those. lol. I am sure CoCo is looking in and wishing she could have a small taste of your tree.

    My tree is an artifical tree. A month a go we were going though some of my mother in laws stuff and I came across a bunch of snow flakes she had bought. We figure she bought them to decorate her tree and for some reason never used them. She was one to always save stuff for just the right moment and just the right moment never comes. Anyways I took them home and there was more than enough to do my tree. I like to collect ordiments also. I got a bunch from a swap group I joined this year. So they are on another small tree I had. Simple and no fuss.

    After reading about you bakeing cookies and having a homemade Christmas I just realized that I was missing something this year in our Christmas. The homemade part!!! Not that we will do big on gifts. But something about giving something handmade from the heart does something for me at this time of year. Thanks for the reminder. It kind of late for this year. But I think I might start a list for next year. 🙂

  51. Christine says:

    I barely managed to even get my tree up this year. Just not in the mood. I’ve got a terrible case of the winter blahs. But now that I see your dried oranges and I just happen to have some oranges that need used up I’m headed to the kitchen. I’ll bet that smell might snap me out of it.

  52. jane says:

    I just have to say agian – we all live in different places, some of us live in apartments, houses, rented, owned, large, small, brick, mansions, by the sea, in the mountains, in downtown chicago. some of us take the bus, some of us take the train, some of us have cars. we buy our trees or ornaments, we make them. Just because we dont live in the country or hand make our ornaments or gifts does not mean we are having less of a Christmas. Just as buying everything does not mean we are having less of a Christmas. We celebrate where we are, who we are, and our traditions are different all over the world. That is what makes the world go round. I always hate it when I hear people say well you know they live in an apartment, the come from a broken home as if this mother iwth her children is not a home. We dont pay attention to our attitudes and ideals and we think too much one way is best. It is not about any of it. It is about Christ in you, how God works through you to make the world around you better.

  53. Granny Sue says:

    Lovely ideas! My tree is pretty much finished, and simpler than in past years. This year’s tree features homemade ornaments, including the beaded balls my mother made about 20 years ago and some my sons made when they were little boys.

    I dried apple and orange slices in November and tied them on just string along with torn calico strips to make garlands. I dried my slices on Warm in the electric oven and they came out so pretty (I posted directions and pics on my blog). I also made paper stars for the tree and those directions and pics are on my blog too. Simple, but so pretty. The dried fruit slices smell so good!

  54. Mary Lou Middleton says:

    I am sooo jealous. My mother and daddy always had a fresh cedar tree. Pine trees weren’t available for cuttiing.
    We would choose a scrawny tree on purpose, so we could dress it up and make it beautiful with our homemade ornaments. Then, we would cut a star out of a piece of cardboard, cover it with foil and fasten it on the top with hair pins.

    Many years later, I discovered why I was always sick on Christmas Day. Now, I am limited to using an artificial tree.

    Thank you for sharing your tree and the recipes.

  55. Sue says:

    Suzanne I think you are such an AWESOME person who can do anything
    Love the tree

  56. NorseCookie says:

    Suzanne, your tree pictures are awesome. I can almost smell the spices and evergreen from here! … and I’m guessing – just guessing – at some point, there might be a helpful kitty adorning a branch too. A couple more ideas for people working on their own trees: when I was a kid, we would make these (although admittedly not this pretty) https://www.diyalert.com/node/4090, and if you’re one of those people with precise folding skills, origami stars would be very pretty. Cheers and hope you’re staying warm!

  57. Heidi533 says:

    I love homemade decorations. I can’t even begin to imagine how amazing your tree smells.

  58. Estella says:

    Can’t wait to see your tree all decorated!

  59. DeeBee says:

    I’m pretty sure if I hung real food on my tree that my cats would eat it. I have weird cats.

  60. Kim says:

    Suzanne,I live in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia and in years past we would take our son into the woods and let him pick out a tree for Christmas.He now has a son and last week end the two of them went in the woods in search of a tree and came home with a “wild”tree just as you described.I have not put a tree up in the house in many years.After my grandson was born I wanted to do something different with him so what we do is: Collect pine cones out of the yard and roll them in peanut butter and birdseed tie a string on the end and Dec.21 ( The Winter Solstice and my Birthday) We hang them in a white pine that I can see from my kitchen window. My grandson really enjoys doing this.And the birds love it! Kim J :butterfly:

  61. carol says:

    I am the baby of my mother’s three daughters. My dad passed away when I was less than two years old and Mama had a rough row to hoe when it came to making a living for us in the 1950’s. She was a waitress and I remember, when I was maybe four or so, every night starting in November, Mama would come home and separate her tips…she kept the quarters, my oldest sister Bobbie Jo got the dimes, Mary got the nickels and I, being the baby, got all the pennies! This was our Christmas money and it’s what we bought gifts for each other with.You couldn’t buy much with pennies but we didn’t need much. Like your family doesn’t need much, Suzanne. And I believe, like me and my sisters, your children will grow up knowing what is truly Christmas.

  62. Sheila says:

    I enjoy making homemade things myself , I would love to make those cookie ornaments and popcorn garlands but I’m afraid either my dog would eat them or my cat would destroy the tree trying to play with them LOL.Not to mention we sometimes have mice (and I don’t think I wanna go there LOL).But you definately know the true meaning of christmas suzanne , you are a truly blessed woman and like everybody here , I say god bless you and yours and may he keep you safe. Merry christmas and may you have a blessed new year :).

  63. JOJO says:

    I know this is am older Christmas posy, but I love re-reading it and looking at the picture of Morgan holding the cookies, my how she has grown.
    I have to say I have not been near a mall for 3 years and dont do the Christmas shopping either, I laugh at the ads on tv and it the newspaper. Can you beleive stores opening at 1AM for holiday shopping?? I dont miss it one bit, I love the idea of a real old fashioned Christmas and getting back to the real meaning of Christmas–how close are we to losing that? I am so happy to see some of the younger posters taking their families to where they should be. Some times I feel like I have shut out the outside commercial world, and it feels so good.
    Thank you for helping us all to remember when….

  64. JOJO says:

    Sorry about the spelling–it isnt because I have been in the egg-nog, just didnt have the lamp on!

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