Clove Oranges: A Christmas Treat

December 21, 2011

Way back in the day I prided myself on being a good Brownie and Girl Scout. To this day many of my fondest memories of childhood stem from the things I did, and the things I learned while in these two great organizations. We were always making something, from cards to macrame plant holders to pottery.  And at Christmas time I particularly remember making Clove Apples.  The scent would linger for days.

I haven’t thought about those clove apples in years but recently, while cruising the internet, I somehow came across an article on making Clove Oranges.  Now isn’t that just the Florida way?

Here’s how to make a Clove Orange to hang on your Christmas tree (per Home Made Gifts Made Easy):

You will need an orange, thin colored ribbon (enough to wrap around your orange twice and a bit more),and cloves.

Clove Orange Instructions

Step 1.
Wrap the ribbon around the orange, twisting at the base, to divide the orange into quarters.

Step 2.
Feed the ends under the piece of ribbon at the top of the orange.

Step 3.
Tie a simple overhand knot to secure the ribbon in place.

Step 4, 5 & 6.
Now start pressing cloves into your orange.
You can also make pretty patterns on your orange with cloves. Try making stars, hearts and more!

Once you’re finished, hang the clove orange on your tree by tying it on with the extra ribbon, and enjoy the spicy Christmas aroma!

Alternatively, decorate several oranges (or clementines, mandarins, etc) with cloves and display them in bowls around the house. This will add a beautiful aroma to your rooms at Christmas time, and looks great too!


Flamingo Mermaids, Flip Flop Lights and Fish Made Out Of Shells

December 14, 2011

Christmas in Florida can be traditional, but there’s always one house in the neighborhood that leans more towards a Florida Christmas. On their lawn you’ll find Santa sporting a swimsuit, surrounded by pink flamingos wearing Santa caps.   

As for me, I’m game for a few nautical touches to my indoor decorations, such as these lighthouse ornaments.

And this fish made out of shells.

But I won’t go overboard.

Flip-flop string lights aren’t too bad but I’m just not Floridianized enough for them just yet.

I’m definitely never going to be ready to add this flamingo mermaid. It’s just wrong on every level.

And the pink flamingo and palm tree string lights? NOT gonna happen. EVER!


Florida Gift Brainstorming

November 30, 2011

Now that I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, I can now turn my attention to Christmas. And for that, I’m doing a little brainstorming for Florida related gifts.  So far my ideas include:

  • Florida Hikers Gift Basket (Florida Hikes guidebook, Waist pack, hat, sunscreen)
  • Oranges from a Florida grower like Harvey’s Groves
  • Books set in Florida such as Swamplandia by Karen Russell or To Have and Have Not, Ernest Hemingway’s only book with a Florida setting
  • How to Do Florida television show, Season 1 and 2 on DVD

A recent email circulating promotes gift buying from local businesses, right here in America instead of adding to China’s riches. I’m all for that. And Florida offers a lot of possibilities, such as:

  • Surfing lessons
  • Day of Deep Sea Fishing
  • Daytona International Speedway tour tickets
  • Salvador Dali Museum book and tickets

With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.


Christmas and Florida

December 22, 2010

Christmas and Florida – the two terms might not, at first glance, seem all that compatible. If one thinks only of snow and ice and the North Pole and sleighs, then the two do not go together. But if, when one conjures up images of Christmas, one thinks of families celebrating the birth of Christ in religious houses of worship, exchanging gifts with one another and the less fortunate, lighting Advent wreaths and Yule logs, caroling in the streets… then the two definitely can go together.

Kevin M. McCarthy in Christmas in Florida

So what if Santa shows up in a speed boat instead of a sleigh?  And why not string lights on that palm tree?  Or float a Christmas tree on the top of your pool.  I smile at the “Florida humor,” as I call it, when the plastic pink flamingos don Santa hats, or Santa is outfitted in surfer dude clothes.  People in Florida like to have fun and it clearly shows during the holidays.

 A few fun things I’ve noticed going on around Florida include:

  •  Nights of Lights, St. Augustine :  See over two million lights draping the oldest city in America. 
  •  ICE!  (Kissimmee): With a winter wonderland carved out of two million pounds of ice, the Gaylord Palms Resort knows how to do Christmas up big. 
  •  Victorian Christmas Stroll (Tampa):  The 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel  is decked out in its finest Victorian decorations.
  •  Holidays Around the World (Epcot):  Learn a little about “international holiday lore and legends.”  

I’ve spent many Christmases in Florida, as a teenager and as an adult. But this year we are braving the winter weather and heading north, to Erie, Pennsylvania, to enjoy the holiday with Matt’s family.  The last time we flew to Erie we got stranded in Columbia, Ohio overnight. The plane wasn’t even scheduled to be anywhere near Columbia, but there we were.  Hopefully this time the weather will cooperate and make it a little bit easier to get to where we are going.

I love the snow, albeit for a short time.  And I love the cold, albeit for a short time. After several days I’ll be so ready to be back in my home state of Florida, even if the temperatures hover only in the 40s and 50s.  And I’ll be ready for another year of wandering.

Merry Christmas!