Make your own natural Christmas garland

One of my favourite parts of Christmas is putting up the decorations and decorating the tree. My boys are at the age now that they want to get involved (I was going to say help!) and it’s magical to see their excitement as they see all the lights and beautiful decorations. As a family we are very conscious about sustainability and looking after the environment so this year we decided to make a real effort to make our own decorations made from natural products. It has also meant that we can spend time making them as a family on those dark winter days when we can’t get outside for too long.

The boys had great fun making a Christmas garland using lemons and garden twine and I have to admit I’m pretty proud of the end result! It was so easy to make, and our house smells amazing. I’ve put together a step-by-step guide for you to have a go at making your own. Don’t forget to share your creations with us on social @toddlebornwild.

What you’ll need

Lemons or oranges

Natural garden twine

Sugar (optional — if you want to use some slices as cake decorations)

How to make your garland

Step 1: Cut up your lemons or oranges into thin slices. Ours were about 1cm thick. We decided to keep it simple and just use lemons for our garland but using a combination of oranges and lemons also makes a beautiful garland that smells amazing! This step was definitely just for grown-ups, but the boys enjoyed smelling, touching and tasting the lemons beforehand. (Well maybe not the tasting… they pulled some very funny faces!)

Step 2: Once you have sliced up the lemons check that they are roughly the same thickness. The number of lemons or oranges you will need depends on how long you would like your garland. We used three lemons for our garland to go on our Christmas tree in the kitchen.

Step 3: Line a baking tray with foil to stop the slices sticking to the tray and lay your slices out flat. Try to keep the slices from touching each other so they don’t stick together.

Step 4: Place the baking tray in a fan assisted oven at 70 degrees for over two hours. Again, another job for the grown-ups! Keep checking back to make sure they don’t start to burn and turn the slices over regularly. When the slices have dried out, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool. Alternatively, you could place the slices on a tray on top of a radiator or in an airing-cupboard, but it will take a few days for the fruit to dry out and be ready to use. (For beautiful but simple cake decorations you could sprinkle some sugar on the slices and place them on top of a Christmas cake or Christmas pudding.)

Step 5: Cut your natural garden twine to the length you need. We got our twine from our local garden centre, but I’ve also seen it sold in craft stores and supermarkets.

Step 6: Make a hole in each slice that is just big enough to thread through the twine and thread the slices on to the garland. The boys loved having a go at threading the lemons on to the twine. Great for those fine motor skills! We left our slices so they could move along the garland and we could rearrange them but if you wanted to keep them in place you could tie a knot after threading on each slice.

Step 7: Hang up your garland and enjoy a beautiful decoration that smells delicious!

Step 8: We had a few slices of lemon left over after we finished the garland so decided to make some individual decorations. If you would like to do the same, cut strips of twine approximately 15cm in length, thread the lemon through and tie the twine in a knot so it makes a loop. Place them on your tree!

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