Although it is now more decades away than I care to admit too often, there were four things I loved most about my childhood Christmases in England:
1. the excitement of the Christmas gifts being put under the Christmas tree, and then the family opening of the gifts on Christmas morning;
2. the food; all the special sweets being put out Christmas Eve; Christmas Lunch with the turkey, lots of roast potatoes, brandy butter, and Christmas pudding being set alight at the table;
3. all the Christmas ornaments and decorations going up before Christmas, and most especially putting up and decorating the Christmas tree; and,
4. the games we would play.
Food, though, did play a major part, and still does in English homes today. So, really, it is no surprise that food even became part of the Christmas ornament repertoire. Food, in one form or another, became part of the decoration of Christmas time.
From my memory, edible Christmas ornaments were usually in the form of chocolate with a silver or gold coloured wrapping that sparkled on the tree. Chocolate coins were popular, sometimes more than one in a brightly coloured string bag dangling temptingly from the Christmas tree.
I must admit, any edible ornament on the tree became a prime target, as I anxiously awaited the all clear from my parents to start devouring whatever I wanted.
Later, though, a greater variety of edible Christmas ornaments emerged, such as candy canes; then, as the popularity of edible ornaments increased at Christmas, people started to use their imagination to make their own, or the local baker would make more elaborate ornaments for sale.
Cookies, or at least cookie dough, make a good base for ornaments, as they are easy to cut into shape. You can use your imagination on adding the colour, such as with Smarties or other colourful sweets. Adding a frosting effect is not too difficult either.
If you do make dough based ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree, remember you will need to make a hole in the cookie before it cools; that’s the way the cookie doesn’t crumble. Then when they do cool, you can thread a decorative ribbon to hang them on the Christmas tree.
The Christmas tea table is often adorned by the prime edible ornament, the Christmas cake. The prettier it is, the better it is for decoration once lunch is out of the way. Cake decoration is only limited by your imagination. However, you can think of other things that are less common to adorn the table as an edible ornament. If you are skilful, you can create simple models with ginger bread, moving up a level from the old gingerbread man.
You will find lots of ideas online and in the stores, but if you can come up with something original, that is even better. Just let your imagination go and see what you come up with. At least, if it does not look too good, you can just eat it before anyone comments!