Every family has their tradition over the holiday season. No matter the religion or belief system, the festive spirit (starting with the sparkle of an eye) can be felt in the kindness of strangers. There is more patience among us – waiting in line to see Santa or perhaps even at the check out counter during the mad rush of a last minute shop. There is a communion in retreating and we are united by way of downtime. We know that soon, we can take refuge in the comfort of our own home and perhaps it is the feeling of ‘home’ that makes us sentimental. We realize how grateful we are for that which fulfills us.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Winter Solstice there is community. Whether you cook Turkey or ham there is a feast. Whether you do advent calendars, stockings before presents, gift draws, Chinese take out on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day shops, there is excitement around giving and receiving, and spending time with loved ones.

One of the most enjoyable things about the season is to express the holiday cheer through decoration. There is something wholesome and invigorating about choosing a tree and decorating it with the family – being creative together and making an event of it. Enjoying your shimmering creation into the New Year also evokes warmth and delight.

Making handmade ornaments is also a fun and rewarding activity. Here’s an easy and beautiful dried fruit ornament craft that the whole family can enjoy: Cut oranges into round pieces (cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices) and cook them on tinfoil in the oven on low (around 100 -150 degrees) for approximately 3-4 hours. The house will smell wonderfully fragrant while they cook.

Checking on the oranges frequently, turn with a spatula about halfway through baking until they seem almost dry (you want a bit of moisture left otherwise you will loose the color) and pull them out to cool where they will continue to air dry. After they cool, poke a tiny hole in the top of each slice with a small paring knife, and string hemp or twine through each orange to hang on your tree.

Another lovely looking ornament is a snowflake doily. Use silver fabric paint to add sparkle and fishing wire to hang them off of branches. Similarly, dipping pinecones (half way) in gold paint is a festive twist to a more natural aesthetic. You can use red ribbon (check your fabric drawer) and wrap them around cinnamon sticks to hang as well.

Combined together with these elements, your tree will have an organic, vintage look to it as well as a pleasant aroma. With your leftover decorations you can make napkin holders or arrangements for the dinner table.

Whatever your tradition may be this holiday season, we hope it centers around laughter, merriment and fun creativity with the family.