Every year, my favorite Christmas ornaments to make with my students are made from two simple ingredients: cinnamon and applesauce. That’s it. It’s pretty incredible how they set up, actually!
Each year, we fill the rooms and halls with the warm, spicy aroma of cinnamon. As we were making the ornaments this year, some of my former students walked by and poked their heads in the door, and once they realized what we were doing, they smiled and told me they remembered that activity!
We started out by adding cinnamon to the bowl. I let each student dump 1/3 cup into the bowl and as fine powder from the cinnamon floated into the air, I made sure my students were careful not to take a big breath in while the dust was settling! After the students were finished, I added an additional 1 1/3 cups of cinnamon to make 4 cups total.
We then took turns adding 4 cups of applesauce to the bowl.
I began stirring it with a spatula, but it is easier to combine using hands! The kids took turns squeezing and kneading the dough, and I finished combining it by hand. It was still pretty sticky so I added more cinnamon. I ended up adding about 2/3 cup more cinnamon to make it dough that is easy to handle. Start with equal parts cinnamon and applesauce, and then add cinnamon gradually to get the dough to the consistency you are looking for.
I gave each student a small Dollar Tree cookie sheet to press their ornaments on. I used waxed paper taped to desks in previous years, but this works so much nicer!
This is the first year that I sprinkled cinnamon on the cookie sheets before the students started rolling their dough into balls. We used the cinnamon like flour is used for rolling pie dough: to keep it from sticking to everything. The more the students handled the dough, the stickier it got, so I would occasionally sprinkle some on top of their dough to make it easier to manage.
The kids rolled their dough into balls, then flattened it with their hands and took turns passing around the cookie cutters I had available.
Once the students were finished, I took their spare dough and made sure everyone had an equal amount of ornaments, with a few left over to keep on our classroom tree!
I used a straw to poke holes in the top of the ornaments and used “wraphia” from Walmart to hang them up. I’ve used ribbon and twine in past years, any of which work well. It just depends what kind of look you are going for.
We made fifty 2-inch ornaments total, each about 1 centimeter thick. We left them air dry, and after two days, they were not completely dry. They can be baked, and I’ve done that in past years I believe, but I do not remember what temperature and for how long.
Even days later, our room still smelled so festive because of all the drying ornaments! These ornaments last for years, as long as they are treated with care and packed away safely. I had a student make some my first year teaching, and his brother told me last year that four years later they are still hanging those ornaments on their Christmas tree!
One word of caution: the cinnamon may irritate sensitive skin a bit.
I always have a blast helping my students make these ornaments, and they seem to always have fun pressing out the dough and cutting out their ornaments to take home and enjoy with their families.
These would make great little gifts for extended family, coworkers, members of your church family, and so many others! There is still time to make them if you need some small last minute gifts!
If you are looking for other quick and simple dough ornaments to make, check out these salt dough ornaments.
Have you ever made cinnamon applesauce ornaments before? Did you allow them to air dry or bake them? What shapes do you like to make them into? What do you use to hang them on the tree? I would love to read about your experiences!
Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Add equal parts cinnamon and applesauce to a bowl.
Stir until combined into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more cinnamon. The larger the amount of dough, the more extra cinnamon you will need to add.
Roll out dough, using extra cinnamon to keep it from sticking to surfaces or hands.
Form ornaments using cookie cutters. Use a straw to poke a hole for ribbon to hang the ornaments.