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I like clementines at Christmas. Really, I like clementines any time, but I usually have to bide my time all year until November, when they appear in the shops once more. Clementines spell “holidays” for me. There was always a big bowl waiting for the moment you realized that a thirteenth red or green-wrapped chocolate kiss really wasn’t going to cut it.

Other things I like at Christmas: hand-made tree ornaments, making Christmas cookies, delicious smells.

When I got a craving for a clementine or two right after seeing this post, everything clicked into place. (For more of the pictures that have sparked my imagination this Christmas, check out my Christmas pinterest board.)

NTS carefully avoids noticing most of the strange things I do around the house. When he went for tea and found these lying on top of the scrap bowl, though, he couldn’t help laughing.

Holey orange peel, Batman!

Holey orange peel, Batman!

This project is so easy your child(ren) could do it with limited adult input.

1. Carefully peel your clementines, ending up with as large pieces as you can. I got mine off in two big pieces. The smaller your cookie cutter, the less it matters how big your pieces are.

2. Use your cookie cutter on a cutting board to cut out shapes. It’s just like cutting out Christmas cookies, but without the trouble of rolling!

Or, if you’re like me and don’t have any small cookie cutters, use a decorating tip from an icing bag as a small circle cutter. Or whatever sharp object you have lying around. You could easily cut triangles or squares with a knife or scissors.

3. Thread your embroidery needle with a string of your choice–I like the crochet cotton I happened to have, but I suspect anything thicker than thread will work. I used a sharp embroidery needle, since it was the first one that came to hand, but if you threaded a large plastic needle for your child, they could probably manage from there.

threading oranges

I left the string attached to the ball while stringing because it was faster than figuring out how long a piece to cut.

stringing oranges

4. Thread the pieces onto the string, either through the center or near the top. I threaded them in large groups, then spaced them out once they were all on there.

spacing oranges

Pulling the string through with my left hand, occasionally letting go of a piece with my right. Just like throwing out lobster buoys.

5. If you have any whole cloves, push a few into pieces of orange peel, right into the same hole used for stringing.


6. If you live in a damp climate, dry your string out over the wood stove or radiator for a couple of hours before hanging, to prevent any chance of mold. You could also put it on a tray in the oven on warm until it feels reasonably dry. I’m pretty sure this isn’t necessary in New England, where the air tends to get cold and dry in winter, but in Scotland, where I run the dehumidifier 24 hours a day, it seemed like a good idea.

7. Decorate something. Be merry! If your kids are anything like me, they’ll be clamoring to eat clementines for at least an hour afterward.Or maybe it’s just me.

orange garland on tree