Homemade Holidays

Fun, festive, and easy-to-make decor for your holiday table

Candles flickering, casting a warm glow. The scent of cinnamon and cloves on the air. “Snow” dusted gingerbread trees adding a festive (and tasty) contrast. 

Want to set an inviting table this holiday season—without splurging on expensive, store-bought floral arrangements? Why not take a more natural approach and try some of these easy to make DIY decorations to add color and warmth to your winter celebrations.

Cinnamon-Stick Candle

You will need:

  • Pillar candle (3” diameter or greater)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Floral shears
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Additional embellishments (if desired)

How to make it:

1. Measure stick against candle height; cut cinnamon sticks to size with floral shears (for a 3” diameter candle, you will need approximately 20 sticks).

2. Run hot glue along cinnamon stick, and then attach vertically to side of candle. Keep glue on low-temperature setting to avoid melting the candle.


3. After first stick is dry, glue next stick snugly against it; repeat to cover candle.

4. Wrap twine or ribbon around candle and tie off.

5. If desired, use hot glue to affix additional decorative elements, such as miniature ornaments, dried berries, buttons, or cloves (pictured).

Orange Pomander Tealight

Orange pomander balls are a natural perfume, as well as a cute accessory for the home. Transform them into a votive or tealight candle holder, and you have a multipurpose decoration that looks as good as it smells.

You will need:

  • Medium-sized orange
  • 1/2 cup whole cloves (or more, depending on your pattern/design)
  • Ribbon or greenery for additional flourish (optional)
  • Tea light 
  • Poking instrument (e.g. small sharpened dowel, bamboo skewer, toothpick)
  • Sharp knife (paring knife, craft knife, or both)
  • Marker or pen

How to make it:

1. Place tealight on top of orange and trace diameter of candle with marker or pen.

2. CAREFULLY cut around the circle with craft knife or paring knife. Cut on the diagonal, angling toward the center, following the traced line.

3. Remove and discard cone-shaped cutout from the top of the orange.

4. Press the tealight down into the opening—it should fit snugly, leaving the top of the candle flush with the surface of the fruit. Use the knife to trim away more orange if necessary.

5. Mark your design on the orange. Then, using your skewer or toothpick, poke a pattern of small holes in the skin of the orange (do not make the holes too big, or the cloves will not stick. You can always make the holes bigger, if need be). Get creative! Try swirls or lines or even geometric shapes.

6. Insert small end of cloves into the holes.

7. If necessary, trim a small circle of skin off of the bottom of the orange to get it to set flat on the table.

Snowy Gingerbread Trees

This time of the year, who isn’t a fan of multitasking? These gingerbread trees make your table festive—and your guests’ tummies happy.

You will need:

  • Gingerbread cookie dough (we like this recipe from BakedByAnIntrovert.com) 
  • Icing (see below for recipe)
  • Pastry bag for icing (if desired)
  • Star-shaped cookie cutters in a variety of sizes—3 or more works best; we used 5 for medium sized trees, and 10 for larger ones. (You can also trace a pattern on card stock and cut the cookies by hand) 
  • Parchment paper to roll out and bake on.
  • Any additional decorations (powdered sugar for snow, colored icing for tree trimming, silver or gold sugar pearls, etc.)

How to make it:

1. Prepare dough according to recipe. For ease of use, separate into 2-3 batches, and freeze or chill, working with only one section of dough at a time.

2. Roll out dough to ¼” thick on parchment paper.

3. Use cookie cutters to cut out stars. For taller trees, use 2-3 of each size, per tree. For each tree, make an extra star of the smallest size for the top.

4. Ball up extra dough, re-roll and cut additional stars (or make extra cookies!).

5. Bake according to recipe directions; allow to cool.

6. While cookies bake, prepare icing.

Sift approximately 3 cups pure icing (confectioners’) sugar through a fine sieve. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 egg white until mixture is just broken up (do not whip into peaks). Beat in the icing sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. Using a wooden spoon mix in 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Separate into multiple bowls if different colors are desired. For precision icing, use a pastry bag or a bottle.

7.  Assemble trees. Stack stars starting with the largest at the bottom, ensuring that the points of the stars alternate. Depending on how many sizes of stars you have, and how tall you would like your trees, you may use 2-3 of each size, per tree. 

8. Use a dollop of icing as “glue” between each layer. Use a little if you want it to remain hidden, or more if you would like it to double as “snow”.

9. Decorate! Get creative—pipe trim onto each tree, use icing to affix silver or gold pearls, dust with powdered sugar for snow.

10. Enjoy!

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