Many of us associate Oranges with Christmas. In some homes Oranges are placed in the bottom of Christmas stockings and we often use dried oranges in decorations. Today I'm sharing three ways we've used Oranges in our Christmas crafting this week.
1. Cranberry and Orange Garlands. Who doesn't love Cranberry Garlands? We've decided to include some Orange stars to add a little more colour and contrast against the greenery of the Christmas tree. The Orange stars are made using the peel from an Orange and a little shape cutter.
After we cut out the Orange stars we thread the stars and the Cranberries onto some gold thread. We tie an Orange star at the end with the thread to keep it all from falling off. We've used plastic craft needles but a nice thick embriodery would work well too (not too sharp at the end for the children threading).
We've used our Cranberry and Orange Garlands to decorate a little tree we have in our front porch, it's a lovely way to decorate a tree without using any plastics or store bought decorations. So pretty and the threading is great for the children's fine motor skills.
2. Orange and Clove Pomander. These are popular here and they smell so warm and calming. This is another activity that is fantastic for developing fine motor skills. My children were able to push the cloves directly into the oranges but many tutorials recommend making a hole first with a toothpick. I encourged the children to make their own deisgns but I also showed them some examples online. We haven't done this before but I highly recommend it, it's super easy, both the oranges and cloves are easy to find in the supermarket and they make the room (and your hands) smell delicious afterwards.
You can also tie the Pomander with ribbon and hang it on the Christmas tree, we have ours sitting in a bowl.
3. Christingles. This one is a little more complex and symbolic. Caspar recently attended a Christingle service so Otis wanted to make some Christingles too. Traditionally these are made for a children's service on the last Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve. We use Oranges, Sweets (or dried fruits), Toothpicks, Red Ribbon (or red tape if you have it), Foil and Candles (we use 100% beeswax).
We cut a small cross at the top of the orange and insert the candle with foil wrapped at the base of the candle. The foil will hopefully catch any drips from the candle wax. Then we wrap the red ribbon around the orange and tape it at the end to stay in place. We add four toothpicks to the orange pointing out diagonally and place our sweets on the toothpicks.
Then we take it to our Christingles service or caroling, or light them for our own service. Caspar (11yrs) and Otis (7yrs) have different religious beliefs so this was an interesting event for us. Some oranges will sit up nicely so they could also be used as a table setting, think each child could have their own and eat the sweets after the meal.
The best description of Christingles that I could find is at Why Christmas and The Moravian Church. Each item represents something. The Orange represents the world, the red ribbon is God's love wrapped around the world and the blood shed by Christ on the cross, the sweets represent God's gifts, some say the toothpicks represent North, South, East and West, others say they represent the seasons. The candle respresents Jesus, bringing light to the world. Otis in particular loved making these.
I feel happy and almost relieved that we have finished our Christmas crafting. We have a little baking to do over the weekend and a few handmade gifts to finish off. I hope you have a lovely weekend!