If you’re looking for a snowy day activity, this DIY dried orange slice project is the perfect way to get your kids involved and create something cute to decorate your home with at the same time!
I’ll admit that I knew that oranges were a traditional stocking stuffer for Christmas. However, I wasn’t quite sure how the tradition started. I’m a little bit of a history lover, and I knew I needed to read about how this whole “oranges during Christmas” thing got its start. When I did some research I actually found a few stories that explain this century long tradition. It seems like there were a few different ways this could have started!
- Saint Nicholas Brought Gold for poor maidens to use a dowries (I had to look this term up, it’s a type of payment or gift that maidens would give to their proposed husbands)
- Years ago, citrus was actually considered a luxury. Something that was mysterious in its origin and in high demand at the end of the nineteenth century.
- During The Great Depression, many pined for the idea of being able to give the gift of oranges as they were considered a luxury for families with modest means. So they would give the gift of oranges as a way to splurge for the holidays.
It’s so fun to learn about how some of the traditions we keep today got their start. Since oranges are a traditional Christmas staple, I decided to incorporate them into my simple and cozy Christmas decor this year. I’ve seen some of my friends decorating with dried orange slices and I loved the idea! When I tried it for myself, I found out just how simple it was to make and I knew I had to share! It’s not often you get the chance to make something so simple and so cute at the same time!
How to Dry Orange Slices
- 4-5 Oranges
- Cutting board
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Cookie Cooling Rack
Step by Step Directions:
- Start by slicing the oranges. I sliced mine all about the same thickness. Not too thick, not too thin. You what them somewhere in the middle so they’ll dry out and so they won’t crumble when you create the ornaments or garland.
- Next, place the oranges on the cookie sheet. I used a cookie drying rack to raise them up off of the sheet. This allowed them to dry out faster. I also laid mine on a piece of parchment paper on top of the drying rack. I’ll be honest and say I read somewhere that I should do it that way but I’m not really sure why.
- Next, take a paper towel and dab the oranges to soak up some of the extra moisture. The entire idea is that you want to dry them out as much as possible. So by doing this, you take out the extra juice and speed up the drying process.
- Set your oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit. Place the oranges in the oven and let them roast for several hours. The longer you can leave them in, the better. Mine probably stayed in for three hours.
- You will know they are ready to be pulled out when the peel turns a deep golden orange/brown. They will also start to lift a bit and that will be another indication.
How to Make Dried Orange Slice Ornaments and Garland
- Dried oranges
- Twine or some other type of string
Step by Step Directions:
- Some of the oranges you dried will likely have a hole in the center. This will make it easy to string the twine through. Some of them will not. I took a pair of scissors and gently cut a hole into the center of the oranges that did not.
- Next, you will take a 4” piece of twine and feed it through the hole in the center of the dried orange slice.
- Tie the ends of the twine into a knot and cut of any excess twine at the ends.
- Hang your ornaments on your Christmas tree!
- To make a garland instead of ornaments, you will just feed a longer piece of string or twine through the center of the orange and continue to feed the twine through as many oranges as you would like to add to your garland. The amount of twine and oranges will depend on the length of your garland. I recommend measuring where you plan on using the garland first and then going from there.
I love how simple these dried orange slices were to make. In keeping with my simple and cozy Christmas decor, they make a great addition to our tree. I also ended up making a couple of garlands to hang and love the added pop of color they bring!