We are a little more than a week out before Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating, movies (this may be driving Dave a little nuts), music, and cheer is in full swing over here at Eleanor Rose Home! I decorated our home early last year and I’m following that same path this year. I love the cozy, warm vibes the holiday decorations give our home, so I think the longer we can enjoy that, the better. One of the things I love most about Christmas, are the traditions; the things I and my family look forward to each year. For someone who doesn’t like change and thrives on routines, traditions are comforting for me, knowing there is something I enjoy and can count on year after year. I look back fondly on the traditions my family celebrated when I was a child, and will cherish those memories forever. I hope when my children are older, they will have the same nostalgic feelings about the holidays that I have. For the past couple of Christmas’s, one of the traditions I’ve started is creating a dried orange garland. It’s a simple and beautiful way to add Christmas cheer to our home, and the wonderful smell of citrus permeates our home. I’ve always wondered why oranges are a symbol of Christmas and why they are a tradition for some, have you? No one is quite sure how it began, but many believe it started around the time of the Great Depression. This was a time when families could not afford to buy presents, so citrus, which was hard to come by in those days, was gifted instead. Children would wake up Christmas morning to find oranges and other citrus’s in their stockings (I wonder how my children would feel about that)! And so, the tradition of Christmas oranges began.
At our house, we have a few traditions that we look forward to each Christmas (including the orange garland). Some of our annual traditions are, watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation the day after Thanksgiving, enjoy our yearly Christmas visit from Nana & Poppy who live in Iowa (unfortunately this has not happened the past couple of years due to COVID), bake Christmas cookies, attend the Christmas eve party at Dave’s cousins house and eat delicious Lebanese food, the kids searching for the “Christmas List” Christmas morning to open presents and sitting in our jammies eating chocolate croissants while they open their gifts, and spending the rest of Christmas day at the other Nana & Poppies were craziness ensues from all of the grandkids!
If you are looking to start a new Christmas tradition, try this fun and easy way to add holiday cheer to your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have beautiful, fresh Christmas décor in your home. Creating something from scratch makes this all the more special. Christmas orange garland is proof of that!
Here are the items you will need and instructions on creating your own orange garland that you can hang in your home.
Christmas Orange Garland
Twine or String
Needle or Sharp Tool
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Slice your oranges with a mandolin. Any size orange/tangerine/mandarin will work. I like using a mandolin, because this allows the orange slices to be a uniform size, thus allowing equal drying time in the oven. (Be extremely careful with the mandolin!) I slice the oranges on the thickest mandolin setting which leaves the orange slices about 1/8″-1/4″ thick. I have found this is the perfect size for proper drying.
3. Place your sliced oranges in one layer on the parchment lined baking sheets. Make sure to not overlap the oranges. Once your baking sheets are full of orange slices, place one sheet on the top rack of the oven, and the second sheet on the lower rack.
4. Bake orange slices for 2 hours. Flip each orange slice, so that the top and bottom are dried out evenly. Then, take the backing sheet that was on the bottom rack and place on the top rack. Place the sheet that was on the top rack onto the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for another 2 hours.
5. Based on the thickness of your oranges, they are probably done at this point (once I get to the 3-4 hour mark, I do check the oranges often. I have been known to forget about them and then burning them). If orange slices are still sticky and floppy, bake orange slices for another half-hour to hour. Thinner orange slices may take less time, so just keep an eye on them.
6. Once orange slices are done baking in the oven, I leave them on the baking sheet overnight, just to air dry for a little longer.
7. Now that your orange slices are all dried out, it’s time to decorate with them! You can use them to make a garland, ornaments, or I even keep them in a little bowl for a little festive decoration too.
8. For the garland, measure out the twine you are going to be using for the area you want to hang your garland. Tie a thick knot at the end so oranges do not slip off the garland. Use a large plastic needle to thread the twine through the oranges. I like to poke the needle through the pith of the orange so that the orange is a little more secure on the twine.
9. Continue threading the orange slices onto the twine, until the desired amount of orange slices have been added. Your garland can be as full or as sparse as you like. I place my orange garland on top of a faux cedar garland, add some ribbon, and voile! You have a beautiful, homemade, Christmas garland.
What are some of the traditions you and your family look forward to each Christmas? Let me know by leaving a comment, I would love to hear from you.
I hope you love this garland idea as much as I do! Consider adding a homemade orange garland to your list of Christmas traditions!
Xoxo ~ Heidi