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NUTS for Ornaments
One Victorian tradition is to write a fortune to hide inside the shell. The two halves of the nut can then be glued back together. The shell is then typically painted gold or even covered with gold leaf and a dollop of glue is used to attach a ribbon or string. The golden walnuts are symbols of luck and fortune, hung on the tree to be cracked open on Christmas morning. Any small treasure can be hidden inside, as long as it isn’t something that will be damaged when it is cracked open!
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NUTS for Ornaments 

One Victorian tradition is to write a fortune to hide inside the shell. The two halves of the nut can then be glued back together. The shell is then typically painted gold or even covered with gold leaf and a dollop of glue is used to attach a ribbon or string. The golden walnuts are symbols of luck and fortune, hung on the tree to be cracked open on Christmas morning. Any small treasure can be hidden inside, as long as it isn’t something that will be damaged when it is cracked open!

Unlike the stunning trees decorated with colorful baubles at the mall, Christmas trees with handmade decorations have charm and warmth and tradition. Over the years, Christmas tree ornaments can transform into keepsakes that mark the time of when they were made or received and hold memories of holidays passed. Trimming the tree can be a trip down memory lane.

One half of the walnut shell could be used to hold a little scene or other sculpture. Colorful polymer clay can be used to create a winter scene and then be baked in the oven according to package directions (usually at 225 degrees for 15 minutes).
Photo by Claire Chapman

There are many different ways to make ornaments, but bringing items in from outside can be reminders of the gifts of nature during the colder months of the year. Sustenance that can be saved for winter was especially prized; so much so that nuts were often hung on Christmas trees and broken open on the 12th day of Christmas. Walnuts, in particular, are rooted in both pagan and Christian traditions as symbols of good luck. Historically, they have been thought to represent strength, wisdom, and fertility. We now know that there is some truth to that lore because nuts are antioxidant-rich, have a high-content of brain-boosting omega-3 oils, and an abundance of minerals. Whether for luck, beauty, or nourishment, they have been used as ingredients in many festive dishes and as holiday decoration for hundreds of years.

Air-dry clay can be sculpted into woodland creatures or a snowman and then painted.  Miniature figurines can be glued into a bed of moss and covered with glitter. The ideas are endless. Photo by Nathalie Krull

While a walnut can be enjoyed by simply being cracked open with a nutcracker, there is another technique that can be used to split a walnut along its “seam” so that the shells can be saved and used to make ornaments. By carefully using a hammer and a chisel or a knife placed in the groove on the side of a walnut, the shell can be split into two halves. The nut meat can be removed and eaten or saved for a recipe, leaving the divided shell ready for crafting.

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