'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Well, no in this house! We were very busy little elves on Christmas Eve getting ready to enjoy a new tradition we adopted after we were blessed with it from another military family at Fort Hood, TX. We woke up on Christmas morning to find that Santa had left a beautiful handmade Christmas ornament hanging on our door. It hung with a note that read, With love and appreciation for all that your family does everyday. From Santa. Of course, I cried. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I had ever received. At that moment, I knew it was a new tradition that we needed to do with our family. All the little elves in our house worked to together making ornaments. My favorite ornament to make is a pinecone ornament. I love working with objects found in nature.
You will need to clean your pine cones and there are a couple of ways to get rid of any bugs hanging in the pine cones.
You can soak the bugs out.
Wash the pine cones in a sink full of warm water with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar. Let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Then lay down newspapers (a few layers) on the workspace that you will be drying the pine cones on. The cones should be fully opened when they are completely dry.
You can bake the bugs out.
Baking your pine cones on a low temperature for about 30 minutes can be just the trick to de-bug your pine cones. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and place your pine cones on a foil lined baking sheet or casserole dish. Place the pine cones in the oven, making sure to check them often so they don’t burn. Once the pine cones have opened up and the sap has had a chance to seep out, the pine cones are done. Take the out of the oven and let them cool before you start decorating them.
Now for the fun part, glue, paint, glitter, and ribbons. Decorating a pine cone ornament is a great way to get the entire family involved. It is like therapy for me, but I think my family likes sneaking around at night and hanging them on the door knobs better. I always wonder what the family is thinking when they see open the front door and reads the note from Santa. It is a tradition I hope my children will do with their own families someday.