Family Advent Calendar, Advent Eve: Tree Trimming Party! Make Gingerbread Garlands and Favourite Photo Ornaments


Tonight is Advent Eve.
So, kids, this is your chance to stay up late!
This evening, we’re setting out the Christmas Tree and decorating it with all of our best baubles as well as new Gingerbread Garlands and a fresh pair of Favourite Photo Ornaments [the 2013 edition].

Easy Gingerbread Garlands for Advent from The Lunchbox Season

Gingerbread Dough [See Below: Can be made ahead of the party or purchased at the market!]
Cookie Cutters
Straw or Chopstick
Several 6m+ Lengths of Festive Ribbon 

Make the gingerbread dough using the recipe below or a store-bought dough or mix.
[In a pinch, sugar cookie dough will work, too]
Roll the dough and cut cookies using your favourite cutter.
Before baking, create a hole towards both the right and left tops of each shape with a chopstick or large straw.
[See left hand picture, below.]
Bake cookies til quite crisp, and cool. [About 15 mins at 350, see below]
Just after removing the cookies from oven, re-dent the holes with the chopstick or straw and work through hole completely.
[See right hand picture below.]
Ice if desired – We didn’t bother.
[The ribbons on our test garlands were glittery and they shed on the cookies to make a lovely glittery display!]
String on a long ribbon and tie on your tree.

Poking holes

Gingerbread Garland Dough
recipe may be doubled

3+ c flour
.5 tsp baking soda
.25 tsp baking powder
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
.5 tsp cloves [optional]
1 tsp cardamom [optional]
.5 tsp salt
.5 c butter
.5 c brown sugar
1 egg
.75 c molasses

Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and then the molasses at low speed.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients.
The dough will likely be very sticky.
Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 350.
On a floured surface (or between sheets of floured waxed paper) roll out the dough to about an eighth of an inch thick.
[If the dough is too sticky, work in flour with your hands until rollable.]
Cut dough into shapes using cookie cutters.
Use a straw or chopstick to create a hole towards both the top left and top right edges of each cut-out.
Place cookies on parchment lined sheets.
Bake for about a good 15 minutes.
Use a straw or chopstick to reinforce holes.
Cool cookies completely.
If desired, ice with Royal Icing [try this Alton Brown Recipe].
String cookies on ribbon as close or as far apart as desired.

Yes! These cookies ARE edible. Although you might not want to eat the glitter from the ribbons that drops onto them!
[If you’re looking for something more permanent, this garland can also be created with our Salt Dough or Cinnamon Glitter ornament recipes.]

favourite photo ornaments the 2013 edition
Each year, we print a small black and white photograph of each of the kids with the year the photograph was taken, and we place it in a small clear plastic frame strung on a silver sparkly ribbon. They are always the last ornaments we put on the tree, and they are gorgeous!!!
This year, we will have twenty favourite photo ornaments for our tree!! WOWZA! [Here’s a link to the original DIY].
For today’s party, I’ve already formatted the photographs, but I’m having trouble deciding whether I want to use pure black and white photos, as in the 10 years previous, or if I want to use the “snow” feature available on our fave photo editing site du jour, ipiccy.  Here are the candidates:

Should we do them with or without snow

What do you think? Snow or no snow?
Here are the final results!
Our Finished Favourite Photo Ornaments All of our Fave Photo Ornaments

You can see our 2012 Ornaments here  or have a look at the original DIY in our 2011 post.
[Or, just click on the photos below and be transported!]
20121201-140120.jpg favephotoornaments

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