Homemade Natural Christmas Decorations Using Citrus Fruits & Spices

6 Materials
1 Hour

Do you like your holiday decor au naturel? Well then, this inspiration for homemade natural Christmas decorations using fruits & spices is for you. You'll find tips to make it easy & better.

Shiny, sparkling Christmas decorations are certainly eye-catching and the stores are full of them at this time of year. I love me some holiday bling but natural is oh so appealing too. If you want an easy idea for homemade natural Christmas decorations (which also smells good!), look no further. All you need to do is gather some citrus fruits and whole spices and you’ll be well on your way to a festive table or mantle decor.

I grew up in the charming New England countryside in a very small town in Connecticut’s Litchfield County. This was long before the days of the internet and television with over 1000 channels to entertain and keep us fixated. I played outside year round and did a lot of crafting to keep myself amused. This was 1 of the projects that I’d do every Christmas to use as a centerpiece and also to give as gifts to the neighbors.

This isn’t a step by step DIY but more of an inspiration to give you ideas. It’s pretty self-explanatory but I do want to give you a few tips to make it easier and of course more beautiful. Years ago I owned a commercial Christmas decorating business in San Francisco and used a lot of glitters and shine to make those decorations really pop in lobbies and large spaces. I still love some serious Christmas sparkle but natural touches thrown in here and there make me happy.

Here are the materials I used:

Citrus fruits – I used naval oranges, pink grapefruits & cutie clementines.

Spices – Whole cloves, star anise & juniper berries.

Fresh cranberries.

Manicure scissors.

Soft pencil.

Hot glue.

Tips & things good to know:

Buy your citrus fruit as fresh as possible.

This way your decorations will last much longer. I pawed through the bin of oranges to find the ones which were most orange. The pink grapefruits were picked off my neighbor’s tree. The cuties will be the ones to go 1st because their skin is so thin.

If you use cranberries, buy them fresh.

The frozen ones will be too mushy to use once defrosted.

Buying bulk spices are cheapest & works the best.

I bought way more cloves than I needed because some are small &/or the heads are missing. If you buy packaged star anise, you may get 2 or 3 whole ones. I weeded through the bulk jar to get as many whole ones as I could.

Any leftovers you can use to spice hot cider or wine. I like to throw them in a pot with water, oranges slices, rosemary sprigs & have it simmering on the stove during the holiday season.

Be creative when creating patterns.

You can do something simple or be as intricate as you’d like. This is where the soft pencil comes into play. You can outline the design & follow it as you go along. The cloves will cover it up.

Use manicure scissors to poke holes.

If you’re decorating more than 1 piece of fruit, this protects your paws from getting too sore when sticking in the whole cloves. A nail or fine knitting needle would work too – anything with a straight blade.

Most of the cranberries fell off.

The only reason I could think of why this happened is because they’re so soft, plump & very smooth. I ended up adhering them with a dab of Locite GO2 Gel & they’re holding on 5 days later. I probably won’t use them next time because they’ll be the 1st to go. They sure are pretty though!

The fruit with the cloves is sturdiest.

The juniper berries & cranberries are still on days later but are best not to move around. The glue has a harder time adhering them to the smooth skins. The fruit with the cloves only you can practically play catch with!

Oranges make great pomander balls.

Simply ties a ribbon around oranges studded with cloves only & you’ll have a pomander ball. You’ll see me do this in the video below.

Here are some ways you can display your natural decorations:

These would make a beautiful centerpiece or could be used as mantle decor. Mine are going to grace my coffee table. Here are a few ideas for displaying them on a tray.

I love the smell of the oranges and cloves as I’m making these and so will you. Days later they still smell good and will look good for weeks and weeks. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that this inspires you to create some beautiful, natural decor of you own.

Check out  our Christmas category for more decorating ideas & DIYs.

You might find more inspirations in my book  Mother Nature Inspired Christmas Ornaments.

Not natural but worth a look:  Ornaments To Make Your Christmas Sparkle.

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Joy Us garden

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Bmi32050820
    on Dec 6, 2018

    What is the pan or electric skillet in the first picturre? Really pretty. How long do u think the fruit will last. One week or two? Thanks betty

    • Joy Us garden
      on Dec 7, 2018

      Merry Christmas to you too! You can really get creative with the patterns if you'd like. Nell

  • Fantastic post! Pretty and easy. I use an ice pick to make my pilot hole for the spices. And for some odd reason I am having a hard time finding fresh whole spices? Did the spice fairy buy everything at Thanksgiving?

  • Pad31467865
    on Jan 7, 2019

    Perhaps the number of cloves put into an orange or lemon determines the "rot-time" issue?

    • Joy Us garden
      on Jan 7, 2019

      Hi - Now that 2 months have passed since I did this project, I can tell you the results. The cuties & grapefruits went soft & eventually rotted. They were good for at least a month though. The oranges didn't rot; they just dried. The oranges/cloves still smell nice if you get real close to them. Nell

Join the conversation

4 of 9 comments
  • Sandy
    on Dec 6, 2018

    I have just dried fruit some time and some rot and some do not I wonder why. I have had a dried lemon for years and it is as hard as a rock. Cloves are very expensive but I do like the way they smell..VERY NICE FOR GIFTING...

    • Joy Us garden
      on Dec 7, 2018

      Hi Sandy - In my experience the fruit just dries but the rot factor is good to know. Cloves aren't too expensive if you buy them in bulk. I love the smell too! Merry Christmas, Nell

  • Spam
    on Dec 6, 2018

    Beautiful! What a great idea.

    • Joy Us garden
      on Dec 7, 2018

      Thank you! It's nothing new & a project I used to do as a kid. Time to bring an old standby back. Happy Holidays, Nell

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