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Recipe for a Christmas tree

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By Nora Sweat

I know many of you have your Christmas trees up, but I want to tell the recipe, you might say, for a Christmas tree.

First, there is the tree. While growing up, we always had a cedar tree from our farm. Later, Mike and I bought our first trees from a tree stand until the fresh tree succumbed to the artificial tree, but where is the aroma of a fresh tree?

Secondly, after securing the tree, come the lights. Again as a girl growing up, the lights for that cedar tree were very large. Later, we all have become used to much smaller lights in all shapes and colors. The latest in tree lights are LED light, which give a beautiful glow and are very energy efficient. The pre-lit tree has emerged, too. You can’t really afford to throw it away; you just simply add strings of lights over the ones on the tree.

Next comes garland or ribbon. Ribbon can be put on the tree vertically or horizontally and most garlands are placed on trees vertically in scallops.

Now comes the part I enjoy the most, the placing of ornaments. If you follow a theme, you might have been collecting ornaments for that tree for some time. If the tree doesn’t have a theme, then a collection of family ornaments find their way to the branches.

The Sweat household has just finished the ten trees in our home. I know it’s ridiculous, but my husband, Mike, absolutely loves decorating for Christmas. Even our front yard, smaller because of the construction of a four-lane road, has not limited his yearly decorations.

We wall trees in both bathrooms that complement the existing bathroom colors. One even has sea shells hanging to go along with that bathroom theme.

We have two 4-foot trees, one in my office and one in the kitchen. The office tree has ornaments from family vacations and cities I have visited on professional trips. Some of my favorites are an angel of wool from Missouri sheep, a small Macy’s shopping bag and a train from Union Station in St. Louis. The top of the tree is a cover from one of my books.

The other 4-foot tree is in the kitchen and belongs to our dog, Sandy. It’s decorated with Golden Retriever ornaments.

The big kitchen tree is decorated with miniature kitchen utensils and includes everything from a small Kitchen Aid mixer and a cookie sheet with a snowman cake.

The guest room tree is a white flocked tree with all gold ornaments, gold skirt and an angel topper dressed in gold. Our bedroom tree is a traditional tree with cranberry, gold and brown ornaments and cranberry colored poinsettias all to match the décor of the room.

The next tree is the one in our family room. It is a themed tree with 100-plus trains from all over, from vacations, gifts and purchases during the years. The tree has red lights and a red skirt to match the red carpet.

The final tree is my favorite, our dining room tree which is the largest and the widest of all our trees. It has white lights and icicle garland. I have many crocheted white snowflakes. Some were done by my mom.

I am a recipe this week that is reminiscent of my Christmas trees, Christmas Ribbon Salad. Enjoy your decorating and make memories while you do.

Christmas Ribbon Salad

2 packages lime gelatin

5 cups boiling water, divided

4 cups cold water, divided

2 packages lemon gelatin

8 ounces cream cheese, cubed

8-ounce can crushed pineapple, not drained

¼ cup chopped pecans

2 cups whipped topping

2 packages cherry gelatin

In a bowl, dissolve lime gelatin in 2 cups boiling water. Add 2 cups cold water; stir. Pour into a 13-by-9-inch dish coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate until almost set, about 2 hours. 

In a bowl, dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup boiling water; whisk in cream cheese until smooth. Stir in pineapple and pecans. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon it over first layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In a bowl, dissolve cherry gelatin in remaining boiling water. Add remaining cold water; stir. Chill until syrupy and slightly thickened. Carefully spoon over the second layer. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Yield: 15 servings

Nora’s Note: This could easily be made sugar free and low fat by adapting the ingredients.

Source: Taste of Home, 2013

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of HardinCounty and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.