THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FOUNTAIN AVENUE KITCHEN.

Choosing the right gifts for the many special people in our lives can be a daunting task. What present will be just right? Ultimately, the quest can be time-consuming and expensive, sometimes adding more stress than joy to the holiday season.cinnamon-ornaments1-1170x780

And let’s face it. Even the most well-intentioned gifts are often stuffed in a drawer or closet, never to be used or enjoyed.

When my boys were little, we’d pick a craft that they could make on their own (perhaps with a little help from Mom) and the recipient could put to good use. Projects ranged from pinecone birdfeeders to hand painted picture frames. Christmas tree ornaments were always a safe bet. Rather than becoming clutter, ornaments can go straight to the tree.

In addition to their clear purpose, handcrafted ornaments improve with age. As the years go by, who doesn’t love to look back on crafts made by the precious hands of a young child—or even a teenager for that matter? They take us back to an earlier time and place, rekindling memories that bolster the holiday spirit.

My children were always proud to give gifts that they created instead of bought. Even now that they’re older and have a little spending money of their own, we still brainstorm something to make for their dad and grandparents each year. In addition to being practical and thoughtful, it’s become a fun tradition.

The following recipe uses a combination of pantry and household items to create a dough that can be rolled out and cut into a variety of shapes and sizes. The shapes dry into sturdy, long-lasting ornaments that aren’t edible but smell wonderful. Left unadorned, they have a rustic look, but for added fun, they can be decorated in a variety of ways. We love the addition of some festive sparkle. Use them as a gift topper or a present in and of themselves.

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