Making the Christmas Tree

Making the Christmas Tree


It is an easy task to make Christmas the happiest day of the year if we but only put a little thought and effort into fixing the tree and the presents. It does not take a great deal of money to make children happy, for usually they are satisfied with small things. But we older people will never forget the happy Christmas days of our childhood, when we were the recipients of pleasing little gifts from old Santa Claus.

Many little children have never seen a Christmas tree, their parents taking no pride in doing anything in that line for their own and their children’s satisfaction.

When a medium sized evergreen or cedar can be obtained, a real beautiful tree can be had with but a small amount of trouble and expense. In the city , of course, the tree and most of the decorations have to be bought, but in the country it is not necessary to buy them, as they can be found or made.

Corn popped so that the tiny kernels are transformed into great, tender, white flakes, strung into long strings by means of a fine needle and thread and hung in festoons among the luxuriant green branches of the tree, make a real beautiful decoration.

Festoons of stars are also lovely. They are cut from bright and light-colored wrapping paper and cost but as to measure three inches from point to point; lay the stars on the table about eight inches apart, or as far apart as is desired, and fasten a point of each star to a long thread by pasting small pieces of paper of the color of the stars over the thread. These strings of stars are very pretty and effective when festooned among the branches.

An imitation of frost can be made by immersing the articles to be crystallized in a strong solution of alum water. Take one and one-half pounds of rock alum, put it into a jar or granite vessel and dissolve it in three pints of boiling water, when lukewarm hang rough twines or cords into it, suspending them by means of a stick laid across the top of the jar. As it takes some time for the crystals to accumulate on the articles it is best to begin the work some days before the articles are needed. Cotton batten pulled into tapering shaped to resemble icicles may be suspended in the solution, and when crystallized make fair imitations of real icicles. The solution may be re-heated and more articles added.

The frost work can also be made from a solution of common salt and water by boiling one quart of salt in two and one-half quarts of water for about fifteen minutes. The salt will not quite all dissolve, but stir it and pour it while hot over the artiles to be frosted. Place in a dark room or the cellar where it will not be jarred; let it remain for twenty-four hours, then gently lift out and hang up to dry. In a few hours they will be as white as snow.

The gifts should be fastened on the tree as effectively as possible, and may, of course, be as simply or as elaborate as the contents of the purse will allow. There are a lot of little fancy articles, such as pin cushions, needle books, handkerchiefs, stuffed animals and pictures tastefully framed, which may be made at home to help out with the supply of presents, and these little home-made gifts are always greatly appreciated.

There should be candy, apples, oranges, nuts and popcorn, and all these look best hung in small sacks made of fly net. Small spice cakes and cookies are nice to help out with the edibles, and if these are frosted and decorated with tiny candies they will be very dainty and palatable. Only pure candies should be used, for the welfare of the children and older folks, too, must be considered. Let fruits and nuts predominate, it being far better than too much candy, which is likely the spoil the health and also the temper.

Popcorn balls and popcorn candy are nice to place on the Christmas tree. These may be bought or made at home. To make the popcorn balls take one cupful of granulated sugar, one cupful of baking molasses and one half cup of water, into which has been put a tablespoonful of vinegar. Boil slowly together without stirring until it will harden into a ball when dropped into cold water, and when it threads from a spoon add one-fourth a cup of butter.

After this is done add one-fourth of a teaspoonful of soda and pour in a fine thread over the corn, stirring rapidly all the tie. It must be formed into balls quickly with the hands before it has had time to harden.

Wet hands in cold water, take up some of the corn and press it into a ball. When all are done they may be wrapped in waxed paper if desired. Put them away in a clean, cool place until wanted.

For the popcorn candy take four quarts of popped corn and one cup of molasses. Put the molasses in a kettle and boil until it candies, then put in a lump of butter half the size of an egg; stir in the corn until well mixed, pour out in a buttered dripping pan and flatten out; when cold cut in small squares or brick-shaped cakes, and it is simply fine, and a few peanuts scattered through while making will add to its value.

Fudge made of either white or brown sugar is excellent. Take two cupfuls of granulated sugar and one-half cupful of sweet milk, and boil slowly until it threads well, pour into buttered plates and when cold cut into squares.

This may be varied, of course, by stirring in a little chocolate or shredded cocoanut [sic] or both. The brown sugar fudge is made in the same way, and if liked, a few nut meats may be added.

If the fudge is beaten well before being poured into the buttered plates it will make it creamy and improve its flavor. Much depends upon the boiling, as if not cooked enough it will fail to harden properly, and if overdone it will be too hard. A little practice will soon enable one to et it done just right, and righly made it is far superior to bought candy and is pure and inexpensive.

There are numerous other ways of making things for the Christmas tree, and perhaps something you will make will add just as much beauty and charm as something I could tell, but in any event, have the tree and decorate it will and enjoy Christmas.

By R.B. Rushing


Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture