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10 foods you can use for holiday decoration

  • fooddecorations.jpg

     (iStock)

  • food_nutscandles.jpg

     (Vera Kratochvil)

  • food_cranberries.jpg

    Cranberries are versatile and brighten up any room. (Petr Kratochvil)

  • food_gingerbread.jpg

    Use extra thick batter to give your gingerbread ornaments more durability. (Petr Kratochvil)

Food is especially abundant during the holidays. We’re bombarded with delicious treats and holiday candies, but when we can’t force down another thing, we’re left with a pile of leftovers.

So what to do with all the scraps? Instead of tossing them, transform them into cute holiday decorations that will add a creative, festive touch to your space. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many decorations you can easily create from a few peppermint discs and gumdrops. The decorations listed below are easy enough for kids to help out with as well.

Cranberries
The eye-catching, deep red tone of cranberries allows them to work perfectly as a centerpiece. Take a clear bowl or vase of any size and place a wide candle in the center. Then, fill the container with cranberries. For a more romantic feel, fill a container with cranberries and water and then place floating candles in the midst of the cranberries.

Gumdrops
Make a winter wonderland in a jar by assembling gumdrops of different sizes and colors onto lollipop sticks. Construct little snowmen, snowflakes, Christmas trees, or Santa Clauses. Before you place your gumdrop creations into a small jar, hot glue a thick piece of Styrofoam to the bottom of the jar. Poke the finished creations into the Styrofoam and then sprinkle some coconut shreds into the jar for a snowy landscape.

Peppermint sticks
For a homemade candleholder, line unwrapped peppermint sticks vertically around the base of a wide, tall or short candle using hot glue. To keep the sticks extra sturdy, tie a ribbon around the center of the candle.

Peppermint discs
For a colorful holiday tree, hot glue unwrapped peppermint discs to a Styrofoam cone starting from the base up. Place a peppermint disc on top for the tree topper. Create an assortment of candy trees and use as a centerpiece or mantelpiece.

Lemons, limes, clementines
Rather than using sliced fruit, use whole fruits to create a vibrant, fresh-smelling wreath. Place the fruits in a dry place for a few days so that the insides dehydrate. Then, hammer a thin, long nail through the center of each fruit. Pull the nail out and thread a long piece of wire through the hole so that an even amount of wire hangs out of each side of the fruit. Twist the halves of the wire together in the back of the fruit and wrap both sides of the wire around the wreath so the fruit securely attaches to the wreath. Space or group the fruits as you please.

Gingerbread cookies
Decorate gingerbread cookie cutouts and use them as tree ornaments. Before you make the gingerbread cutouts, make sure the dough is especially thick for durability. After you cut out the gingerbread shapes, poke a hole through the top of each cookie. Bake the gingerbread and let cool. Decorate with frosting and candies. Once the decorations dry or harden, string small pieces of ribbon through the holes and tie the ribbons into a loop. You now have homemade ornaments.

Pasta
Use uncooked pasta shapes (wagon wheel pasta works best) to create an assortment of snowflakes. Spray paint pieces of pasta white or silver. Add glitter, if desired. Once the spray paint dries, place the pasta pieces on a piece of wax paper in a snowflake pattern. Glue the pasta edges together. Once the glue dries, gently peel of the wax paper. Carefully hang with string.

Marshmallows and graham crackers
S’mores no more. This time of year, use marshmallows and graham crackers to make snowmen. Stack 3 marshmallows onto a lollipop stick. Cut off any part of the stick that is not covered by the marshmallows. Dot the marshmallows with eyes and buttons. Glue the bottom marshmallow onto a square of graham cracker. Sit the snowmen on your mantle or use them as a centerpiece.

Candy canes
Combine a couple of tall candy canes to create a card or picture holder. Place three wrapped candy canes back-to-back so that the curved edges work as a base. With the canes upside down, face the hooks outward in a tripod orientation. Tie a ribbon around the middle of the straight portion of the candy canes. Slide a picture or card into two of the hooks.

Cinnamon sticks
Tie together cinnamon sticks to craft coasters that double as room fresheners. Line up cinnamon sticks vertically with long sides touching. Cut the sticks so that they are even in length. Make a square wide enough for a cup to fit onto.

Take a long piece of thin ribbon or yarn and wrap the middle of it around the outermost stick once, about an inch from the end of the stick. Tie the string halves together into a tight knot. The knot should hide in between the first and second stick.

Take one half of the string and bring it over the next stick. Take the other half of the string and pull it under that same stick. Tie the ribbon halves together in a knot again. Continue this pattern in a horizontal straight line to the last stick. Tie the leftover string into a small ribbon. On the other end of the coaster, weave and knot through the same sticks the same way with another piece of string.

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