Citrus Christmas Tree: Making Dried Orange Slice Ornaments

We’re back to share the second half of our tree-decorating adventure (sped up with a bit of festive music to get you into the spirit). We last left off with this video of us setting up our pre-lit artificial (faux? reusble?) tree only to discover that a strand of lights in the middle of the tree was out. But fixing it was as easy as listening for the buzzing bulb and replacing it with one of the extras they included along with our tree. Then it was time for the ornaments, and this year we decided to deviate from our usual white/glass/silver scheme (seen here). Maybe it was a weird citrus-pregnancy-craving-inspired decision, but out of nowhere I was jonesing for bright oranges, lime greens and lemon yellows… and a new color scheme was born. So here we are hanging some store bought ornaments mixed in with a bunch of DIY ones that we whipped up on the cheap. Oh yeah, and there’s a quick shot of baby belly at the end for everyone on bump watch:

And because we like to include a little video rundown for those at work who can’t just push play, here’s a shot of our tree all citrus-ified thanks to a ton of orange and lime green ornaments we picked up (on clearance at Michael’s) along with a bunch of DIY ornaments that we made to really hammer home our love of all things lemon and lime (after all, it was the theme for our backyard wedding). And adding pops of orange really complemented the green tree for a super festive and fun finished product.

We mentioned that beyond the glittering store-bought ornaments we jumped at the chance to hand make a few “natural” accents, so John came up with the idea of drying slices of oranges and lemons and turning them into ornaments. Love it. He’s really the brains of this operation in case you guys haven’t noticed.

Not only was it a fun and unexpected way to bring more of that festive citrus color to our tree, but it merely set us back a few bucks for two oranges and three lemons at the grocery store.

And luckily when we googled “dried citrus” we actually found a few tutorials (woo hoo!) and were thrilled when we pulled one up that was beyond simple. Step 1: cut citrus into quarter-inch slices.

Step 2: bake in oven on cookie sheet (actually a cookie rack if you have one, but we didn’t so we made do) for 2-3 hours at 225 to 250 degrees, checking often to be sure nothing’s burning. It helps to crack the oven door from time to time to release a bit of the built-up heat to encourage drying as opposed to singeing.

After a few hours (and a bunch of checking) we ended up with gorgeously dried orange slices that we couldn’t wait to add to our tree…

… and marginally less gorgeous lemon slices (they cooked less evenly and the seeds were a lot less attractive, so we’d recommend oranges over lemons for those of you looking to do something simple and stress free). Of course there were still some pretty lemon slices that we used as well (the good ones actually looked like stained glass when they dried) so they weren’t a total loss.

Then we just popped them onto pretty silver ornament hooks snagged for a few bucks at Pottery Barn (they’re a smidge cuter than those green wire ones from Target or CVS) for a delicious looking end product that’s especially eye-catching when it’s illuminated by the lights on our tree (so we learned to hang them a few inches in front of a white bulb for that sweet “glowing” effect). Favorite project ever. And we ended up with dozens of ornaments for just a few bucks.

*Bonus: we’ve heard that citrus can be used to discourage curious cats from climbing your tree, so if you have a faux or natural tree at home that you’d like to protect from a cat attack, these dried citrus slices might be just the thing.

We also turned three dozen faux lemons (we grabbed two large plastic tubs of them for $8 each at Ben Franklin) into “ornaments” by wiring them onto the end of a bunch of branches on our tree- just to inject more hits of yellow and add to our quirky citrus theme.

It was as simple as sticking “v-shaped” green wire (we purchased a spool of it for 99 cents at the craft store) into each of the foamy faux lemons so we could wind it around each branch to secure it. It was also a nice complement to all the hanging ornaments since we now had a bunch that appeared to be “sitting” on the ends of the branches. Easy and almost mouthwatering, no? Again, maybe it’s a pregnancy thing, but I could eat an entire lemon every day of the week.

We also picked up some pretty green pears from Target last year (during an after-Christmas sale) that were meant to be used as vase filler (see the little pear in the bottom right corner of the photo below?) so we just tied a loop of glittering silver ribbon to each of the stems to create a way to hang them up on the tree. Sure they’re technically not citrus but they work with the whole edible theme- and they’re perfect for our playful green, orange and yellow color scheme.

So that’s the tree-decorating rundown for ya complete with all of the homemade “ornaments” that we fashioned from things like vase filler, faux fruit and real fruit alike.

We love the punchy colors (which actually fit right into our living room thanks to the lemon-yellow rug) and the happy vibe that it brings into our entire home for the ho-ho-holidays. Oh and stay tuned for more seasonal decorating posts along with our favorite roundup of cheap-o holiday gifts coming soon.

But enough about us- we wanna hear all about your holiday decor. Do you have a new color scheme that you’re dying to break out this year? Or a tried and true “theme” on your tree that makes you smile every year? How about those whose theme is to have no theme at all? Anyone with a penchant for popcorn garland or edible candy cane ornaments? Do tell.

Psst- Looking for more holiday decorating and entertaining ideas? Check out this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post, this post and this post to tide you over until we share even more in the coming weeks.

Comments

  1. says

    Love the color scheme guys!! The tidbit on drying oranges/lemons will come in handy, thanks for sharing.

    I am all about color schemes and themes for trees, this year magenta is all up my alley … or maybe its because last year I scored on magenta ornaments at an after Christmas sale at Pier One!! I wont lie though, I really love the citrus colors you used, hhmmm, maybe next year!

  2. Janis from Scotland says

    Love this so much……….very talented pair you are. The smell must be lovely as well even if they are dried. Notice you have three stockings up and assume it’s Burgers. I found this hilarious since we put ours up and that of our four cats………..mad but funny and nice. We’ve been out buying them surprise for their stockings on Xmas Day.

  3. Megan says

    Love it! At our house we have a tradition that we buy a Christmas ornament whenever we go on a trip or a vacation. Then when we are decorating the tree we can reminisce about all of our fun family trips. My parents started this tradition when I was a kid and now my husband and I have started doing it in our house. Can’t wait to see more of your Christmas decorations :)

  4. Sibyl says

    Love it. Every year I try to mix up the color scheme. This year I used plum, lime green and a sort of orange color and mixed in lots of clear glass and the tree just absolutley glows. I like to really layer the ornaments so, I tuck some far back in the tree and then place some more to the outside of the tree. It gives the tree much more depth. I also tuck in shiny ribbon here and there, I hate for it to look to uniform and perfectly wrapped. I then use shiny twigs covered in iridescent beads and place them in various places and also use them as the tree topper. The tree is in our entryway and is 9 feet tall so, the whole tree usually takes me a good day and a half. Mostly because my two year old will only allow me to work on it for short periods of time!!

  5. Stormy Smith says

    Beautiful!

    We actually bought a real tree for the first time ever this year and went with a red theme. We bought led lights that glow a light blue and all red ornaments with the exception of our annual homemade ornaments. Every year since we moved in together we’ve handmade an ornament. We plan to continue the tradition when we have our own little “bean” and someday have a tree full of our own ornaments that tell the story of our life together. We spend less than $10 on the supplies and it is always a fun day!

  6. carrie says

    love the new theme, and the peeking out behind the tree at the beginning of the video had me cracking up! it’s great to see that the decorating is a joint effort. we did our tree on sunday. we got halfway through the first box of ornaments (of 3) and my husband declared that there was no more room left on the tree and that he was done! so i kept at it empyting the boxes, and at the end my husband says “wow, it really does look nice with ALL the ornaments on it.” Go Figure!
    happy holidays, and adorable baby bump!

  7. says

    Yay!! Everyday ever since we put up our christmas tree ornaments, we’ve been arriving home to find ornaments scattered all over the floor. The lemon slices just might be the perfect solution for us, since our color scheme this year is gold and black! PERFECT. Thanks for the cats vs. citrus tip!

  8. Amelia says

    beeeee-u-tiful! so fresh. great idea. I’m hoping to add some nice orange and purple decorations to our tree! love it.

    ps. i didn’t see that “bump” picture anywhere?

    • says

      Hey Amelia,

      My little belly full of baby is actually easily seen at the end of the video, right when we high-five. Of course you can also spy a glance of it in the video screen grab (which indeed shows the high-five and my growing bump). Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  9. Allison says

    Megan – my husband and I have the same tradition! Whenever we go on a vacation or a weekend away, we always get an ornament. It is great to reminisce about the places we have seen or gone. We have high school ornaments, college ornaments, etc. I love it!

    John & Sherry – do you guys have more sentimental ornaments? For instance, I am sure a “baby’s first christmas” ornament is in your future! What do you do with them? Or do you prefer not to have those?

    • says

      Hey Allison,

      We have a few vacation ornaments as well, along with some other super sentimental ones (like the moose one we picked up on our Alaskan honeymoon) and of course we foresee lots of baby related things in years to come. The great thing about ornaments in our house is that they go everywhere- far beyond the bounds of the tree. In glittering bowls, atop silver candlesticks, inside our glass based lamps, etc- so although you might not see the sentimental ones on the tree (depending on the color scheme, last year they all made it on because it was less punchy and citrus themed) they’re definitely strewn throughout the house in a plethora of places to be enjoyed. In fact, stay tuned for more ornament ideas and general holiday decorating posts coming soon…

      xo,
      s

    • says

      Oh yeah the house smelled delicious while we baked them and even once they dried the citrus smell lingers on. Kind of like subtle all-natural potpourri. Mmmm.

      xo,
      s