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Homemade Christmas decorations

I have admitted before that sometimes I enjoy the lead up to the festive season more than the big day itself. It is very easy to get caught up in spending way too much and in recent years we have cut back a lot as Christmas was becoming unaffordable for us. However, I do love the place to look as festive as possible so what we have been doing for a few years is making some of our decorations including wreaths, garlands and ornaments.

Last Christmas I managed to rustle up some rustic looking garlands using my dried orange slices that I make each year, some hessian which I had bought a roll of for about £2 in the works, some natural looking tinsel and copper fairy lights.

The orange slices are a bit trial and error but always fun to make.

You will need:

About four oranges, any variety will do but I used navel oranges.

Tin foil

A baking tray

String or ribbon

Cloves and star anise (optional for decoration)

Set the oven quite low about 180 degrees.

Line a baking tray with tin foil.

Slice four oranges about 1-2 cm thick.

Lie them on tin foil in the baking tray, I studded a few with cloves and pressed a couple of star anise into the centre of some as an experiment.

Turn the slices over after about 45 minutes (some were a bit brown where the juices start to run out!)

Check them again about half an hour later and turn them over.

Leave them in for around two hours - I ended up turning the oven down lower (about 150 degrees) as some were getting burnt.

Make more than you need as some will not look as good as others.

I took them out of the oven and left them to cool in a bowl and dry out a bit more.

The following day I made a little hole in the slice with a knife and threaded string and ribbon through and hung them on the tree.

For the garland I twisted the hessian (burlap to my American friends) with the green tinsel and the fairy lights to male a 2 metre length. I then hung some of the dried orange slices on with string.

The wreath is made with a stripped holly branch that has been bent into a circle and then we try pieced of foliage that we have collected from outdoors so conifer, pine, holly and ivy and the finished off with whatever we have left over.

It is worth looking in charity shops where you will often find bagged decorations for a pound or two. We do love a real tree and will often buy from a local shop, some will deliver so it is worth checking out as I just love the smell of a real tree.

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