Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

By Dr. Meg

If Christmas trees become an expensive, gaudy nuisance, here’s a way to make them come alive again, especially for children. Begin with a trip to a Christmas tree farm, if possible. Take the whole family to participate in the choice, which rarely can be too big, full, or beautiful.

Be sure to place the tree in water the minute you arrive home. Leave it in water for at least 24 hours so it doesn’t drop its needles while you decorate. Always keep that tree well-watered, as a precaution against fires. Be extremely cautious with all electrical lights and candles as well.

Now, this step can begin at any time during the holiday season. Prepare gingerbread and/or sugar cookie dough for your main rolled tree decorations. Choose the most primitive or exotic cutters for different effects, creating cookie boys, girls, camels, angels, bells, fish, birds, chickens, sheep, and bunnies. Don’t forget the tiniest gingerbread houses to hang from the tree, too.

You color scheme determines which color frostings you make to dress your doll cookies. Create a toss-up effect with as many colors as possible, or limit cookies to dressings in white, red, and green to go completely traditional. Possibilities are as limited as your imagination. Jamie Foxx can have a black Christmas tree, if he wishes. No one can tell him otherwise when he makes it himself.

The next step in color choices involves colored sugar to pour on the frosting. This ingredient also comes in red-green-blue in the baking aisle of the local supermarket. Other sugar decorations create tiny silver balls, red and green rolls, donut toppings of all kinds, chocolate chips, chocolate kisses, licorice, cinnamon red hots, and bits and pieces to make cookie faces pop.

Wait for the frosting to set. Then, assemble a darning needle and heavy duty thread. Again, when you do It yourself, all the choices are yours. Do you want to string your cookies in dancing rows to circle the tree? Do you want to do onesies or twosies? Your decisions may emerge as the tree gradually lowers its branches and relaxes, having come in from the cold.

Finally, you can add as many toys and as much candy as you wish to complete your tree decorating scheme. Candy canes are perfect because they come with natural hooks. Popcorn is also perfect in strings, colored or au natural. Create double strings of any item you choose, including cranberries. You can store these decorations in plastic bags, or create a new tree every year.

Economy is one reason to begin this cookie tree tradition, but creativity is the best reason of all. Children can develop a variety of skills as they assist parents with this production. These include rolling dough, cutting patterns, teaming, and sewing with a darning needle, which is as important for homemakers as it is for surgeons. Repeat as often as needed, and enjoy! 

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