Holiday Decorations Made with Food

My favorite place to shop is the grocery store, so when I wanted to put something new and cheery on my mantle, I thought of food. What could be more perfect for apartment renters than decor that doesn’t have to be stored once the holidays are over?

Clementines always make me think of December. I put our bags of coffee on the mantle too.

The popcorn garland was so fun to make. It’s a craft with built-in snacking potential.

A few more ideas:

Gumdrop trees – I remember making these when I was little.

Dough ornaments – You can roll out the dough and cut ornaments with cookie cutters.

Nuts in a bowl.

Coffee beans in a bowl.

Candy canes.

Cinnamon stick ornaments and tassels.

Last year I decorated with cranberries in the advent wreath and orange slices on a garland.

The walnut ornaments we made last year are hanging over the door this year looking quite festive.

What other foods can you use to decorate?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. What a great idea! Food is such a big part of the holidays. I bought some cranberries, but when I tried to eat one, I had to spit it out. Yuck. But they’ll probably look great in a vase or candle-holder.
    Personally, I’ve become obsessed with pomegranates this season. Perhaps I’d keep them out in a bowl on the table as decorations…if they could last that long. :)
    Jennie´s last post…Simplicity for Kids

  2. ooh pomegranates, good one! Such great color.

  3. Love your mantle! And your snow hat on your tree! Super cute. And thanks for linking to M&T!

  4. I think cranberries are gorgeous, too. I also like the simple look of a bowl of red and green apples. Also, small pots of herbs would make for beautiful greenery. Last year, Lowe’s had a rosemary bush shaped like a Christmas tree. It was beautiful and useful!!
    Kim McCallie´s last post…Red Velvet Brownies

  5. Denise C. says:

    We made a gingerbread house (a pre-made kit). Oranges, cranberries. Was stringing the popcorn hard? Wishing you the happiest of holidays! :)

    • For the popcorn you get the hang of it. You poke the needle through the thick part. Maybe next year will be fancy and we’ll try popcorn with cranberries.

      • Our family tradition is to string a popcorn garland for the tree every year but if you try it with cranberries you will want to do it pretty close to Christmas. We tried it once and the cranberries rotted before the holiday arrived. I loved your orange garland least year.

  6. It looks great… I really love the oranges and bags of coffee pic.. one must have a certain sense of style to pull it off :) Alas, style is not my thing, but I certainly enjoy looking at yours. Have a lovely Christmas and New Year!
    angelvalerie´s last post…revisiting goals and motivation is this the never-ending story

  7. I just love your snowflakes!!! I find popcorn too fiddly for my little kids to thread so we thread jelly lifesavers alternating with pretzels… sweet and salty fun!!! We give them away to unexpected guests that arrive on and around Christmas Day – Instant gifts on hand!
    Scroll down this post to garlands for a picture:
    se7en´s last post…Saturday Snippet- Kromrivier Farm in the Cederberg… and Se7en Things to do there…

  8. I like scooping out apples a little bit and putting tea lights in them. I recently saw that someone used a potato as a candle holder:).

  9. I always put water in a glass vase or mason jar or something similar, and then put a handful of cranberries on top. Then add a tealight (and light it) in the middle of the floating cranberries. It looks so pretty. I love using a couple different shaped and sized containers decorated in this way.

  10. I was at a restaurant last night and they had decorated with a big bowl of squashes and gourds. It looked fantastic! (Plus, I never know how to cook gourds – so good to know there’s another use for them!)

  11. gingerbread house!!! (with graham crackers and all sorts of candy!)

    love the gumdrop tree idea – may try that with our my lil guys!
    heidi @ wonder woman wannabe´s last post…Cheap yet Chic DIY Wreath!

  12. I saw an incredibly gorgeous picture in a magazine. They had taken three graduated sizes of glass cake stands and stacked them in a tower. Then they filled each level with pomegranates, artichokes, grapes, and other beautiful season produce. In between, they had places a few orchids, and other flowers. It was simply stunning! But who has three graduated cake stands sitting around? Still, I may have to make this one happen. :)
    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Christmas Cheer Compliments of the Muppets

  13. I love the idea of floating cranberries and a candle! I have a perfect glass bowl for that!
    We used to do something with our kids that starts out as food, but you can’t eat afterwards! Mix equal amounts of cinnamon and applesauce, should make a dough. Press or roll out and use cookie cutters to cut out stars, snowment, etc. Poke a hole in the top, bake in a low heat 250 or so, until dried out, makes a great smelling ornament!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Defining your priorities for the holidays

  14. A great post. I have just finished making some snowflake cookies that I am planning on dceorating with! Thanks for your inspiration.

  15. Popcorn is easier to string if you let it sit a day and get stale.

  16. I love decorating with fruit, especially in the Fall season. I usually do green or red apples and pears. This time of year it’s cranberries, nuts, cookies and candies.
    Paige´s last post…simple Sunday

  17. I love taking oranges and decorating them with cloves. Put them in a bowl and they look lovely and smell like Christmas!
    Rachel´s last post…Enjoying Christmas- Beyond the Commercialism

  18. vermontmommy says:

    My mantle has a row of clementines across it. I also have little maple nips filled with water along with pieces of our tree that I trimmed off.

    If our mantle was wider I would put squashes on it as well in the fall.

    In the past I have used candy canes and peppermints to fill jars and add some color to the tables. Last year I found my kids wanted to eat them too often so I did not do it this year. :)

    I always say I am going to make the popcorn garlands but we have not. Maybe this year I will give it a try.

  19. Oranges with whole cloves poked into them! This is something I remember making in elementary school, now we do it every year. They smell so good.

  20. decorating the tree with cookies and popcorn and cinnamon ornaments always seemed like a great idea–until we got a dog. now we can’t even put the ornaments on the tree that are made of inedible dough. He is big enough this year to get to almost every part of the tree and he loves him some popcorn LOL!
    gretchen´s last post…hmmmm

  21. we did get some double sided paper at target and made paper garlands though :)
    gretchen´s last post…hmmmm

  22. Nothing here.
    Gingerbread houses go soft, fruit rots and popcorn goes stale in our summer heat at Christmas. 35 degrees celcius and 90% humidity today.

  23. I haven’t done so much decorating with food outside of the kitchen, but I love keeping my non-refrigerated fruits and veggies in a nice stainless steel colander in my kitchen. It makes it feel more like a real, lived-in home– particularly because we live in an apartment. I’m definitely going to keep these ideas in mind, though! They’re fantastic :)
    Tara´s last post…The Best Writing Advice You Could Ever Get

  24. We just made cinnamon applesauce ornaments. Mix together equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce (we usually use 2 cups of each), roll out, cut with cookie cutters, use a straw to make a hole for a ribbon to hang, air dry for at least 24 hours. They smell wonderful!
    Christy´s last post…A Polish Christmas Carol and Stained Glass Stars

  25. What I love most about this post is how kid friendly it is – we’ve been trying to teach our kids about “real food,” and I think you may have inspired me to write a post about how to use Christmas decorations to do that :)
    Unplanned Cooking´s last post…How to find the perfect Christmas tree

  26. “My favorite place to shop is the grocery store…” So glad to not be alone in this. Your mantle looks beautiful. Merry Christmas!
    the cottage child´s last post…Veni- veni

  27. The knit hat tree topper is too cute!

    We’ve had a few acorn squash sitting in a wooden bowl since Thanksgiving…adding a pomegranate or two should add some festive color!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Thankful on Paper – Week Four

  28. I love this post! We always spike oranges with cloves and nestle them in bowls of cranberries and popcorn. Looks so festive.

    One of my favorite memories as a child is the year my mom took me to Mammoth, CA over Christmas because my dad was deployed. There was no time to get a tree, so we grabbed branches from the yard of our rental and decorated it with gumdrops and popcorn.

  29. Love this idea…we shared it on our blog today as part of our Christmas Craft Roundup!