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.


  1. angela says

    wow! that looks awesome and delicious! haha! i’ll have to tell my brother and sister-in-law about the dried fruit idea to keep their cats from climbing their tree (their 3 cats have ruined 2 faux trees within the last 3 years!) my husband and i also have a tradition of buying an ornament whenever we go on vacation so our tree is a mish-mash of different ornaments, but hopefully one day i can have a fancy tree like yours!

  2. Gail says

    Very nice! Perhaps this is one custom that’s gone by the wayside, but as a child I always received an orange or clementine in the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning (in addition to all the other goodies), and Santa has repeated that tradition with our kids.

    I’m not sure what the significance is of this old Christmas custom, but I like your twist (ha ha) on it, intentional or not!

  3. Jason says

    Love love love using artificial fruits in holiday wreaths, swags etc. I do it every year, but never have I dried some slices how awesome is that!!! It’s very colonial classy! I also love the colonial type fruit decorations they make on a half circle of wood with a pineapple in the middle and surrounded by apples, oranges, etc. and hung above a doorway outside usually if it’s real fruit. Never tried that yet, but I want to.

    DE – J

  4. says

    Love love love the color! And drying fruit to further the citrusy theme – what a great idea!
    Pardon me…I feel the urge to go get myself a glass of orange juice…

  5. Amy says

    My cat isn’t a fan of my decorations (I’m trying the citrus for the tree!!), so I hang ornaments from my pot rack! It hangs over the kitchen island and the bottom is a grid. This year I hung cute multi-colored bells from Target and a big snowman ornament from it. It’s a fun way to decorate my kitchen but not take up counter space.

  6. amelia says

    just noticed under your tree you have those sheep-skin (faux i believe) mats – were those from ikea? Sarah Richardson from Design Inc. had a christmas show on a couple of weeks ago and she used them us well – i love them! They look so good and add some nice warmth and romance to the tree. They are $40 at Ikea (at least in canada they are) – wish they were a little more affordable as i would need about 3 to cover the bottom of my tree. Maybe they’ll go on sale soon!

    • says

      Hey Amelia,

      So funny to hear that Sarah Richardson also uses faux sheepskins for her Christmas tree “skirt.” We love her so we feel like we’re in good company! And we’ve actually been doing it for years (check ’em out under last year’s tree). Oh and of course ours are from Ikea (and they’re definitely faux). For around $20 a pop here in the US they’re the best deal around and they last forever and can live in so many places year round (on the backs of chairs, sofas, benches, floors, etc). Hope it helps!


  7. Letty says

    So pretty! For my first Christmas in my new place two years ago, I purchased “out there” colored balls: fusia, electric blue, lime green, and silver. I really enjoyed having the array of colors on my tree. But this year, I went for a more subtle look and only used the blue, green, and silver balls on my tree and throughout my apartment. I love that I’ve been able to switch up the look without having to spend more money!

    By the way, I noticed you guys didn’t have a tree topper. How come?

    • says

      Hey Letty,

      We were waiting for that question to come up. And we don’t really have much of an answer other than: we haven’t seen anything that we love enough to take home. So for the past three years our tree has been topper-less but we still think it looks finished and gleaming when we turn on the lights each evening. Maybe someday we’ll find something that we have to have and our tree will no longer be topless. Haha.


  8. says

    That looks awesome! I bought *shame* a dried orange this year as I had no idea how to make them! Now I’ll know for next year and the whole house will be smellin’ fruity!! Your bump is massive! Are you sure you are only 4.5 months?! ;) xx

  9. TG says

    Your tree looks beautiful. I would have never thought of citrus, but it is fun and festive.

    I am going for silver, pearl white and teal. Silver and pearl white bulbs. I purchased 4 small bird houses at the dollar store and painted them white and teal. I am now looking for white artificial birds to sit on my branches. A few of the birds will be painted teal the rest will be white.

    Any ideas where I can purchase the artificial birds and strings of pearls (for garland) inexpensively?

  10. Paige says

    Ooooh where did you get those stockings hanging from your mantle? I’ve been looking for some nice neutrals ones (my usual color scheme is actually blue, silver, and white) and those look kind of perfect!

    • says

      Paige and Alicia- We got those stockings a few years back at Target. They’re deliciously neutral so they pretty much go with everything. Hope it helps! And stay tuned for more detailed shots of the decorated mantel and other areas of our house coming soon!

      TG- Off the top of our heads we can only think of craft stores like Michael’s for artificial birds and strings of pearls- but you might want to google around online and on ebay too. Hope it helps!


  11. Stephanie says

    It looks amazing!
    Great job!
    You know, they say some of the first christmas tree ornaments were fruit! So you are kinda “going back to basics”!! Haha!

  12. Keeley says

    I had that tree topper problem too, so until we found the one I love (a silver beaded snowflake-star on sale after Christmas at Pottery Barn) I used this little yarn-and-button fluffball that Anthropologie gave for free as a bow with their gift wrap! Their holiday giftwrap (free with purchase) is always great for decorating purposes!

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