Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dairy free ways to decorate your tree.

Last weekend we bought and decorated our Christmas Tree. A common enough occurrence in many households, at this time of the year, but it was momentous in that it was the first real tree we've had since Baby was born, and the first that she's helped to choose and decorate! It was also momentous in that we bought it early - the first weekend of Advent. Usually it goes up a few weeks later, in our household. Also, The Hub (for the first time since I've known him) was the one to suggest buying it - usually he's not so fussed about whether we have one at all!

So, it was, that late, on an outrageously cold Saturday afternoon, we chose and decorated our tree. And here it is!

Once Baby had gone to bed, I redecorated bits of it (couldn't help myself) and added just a few finishing touches - namely chocolate! 

The thing is, for me, a Christmas tree is not complete without a few hanging chocolate decorations. My memories of Christmas (as a child) were that Dad may not have spent out on a new tree each year, but he did the right thing when it came to chocolate. 

I looked around on the Internet for a bit, but research didn't yield the dairy free options for which I was searching, although I did like the look of some fillable baubles, sold by Love Lactose Free Life

Then I had an idea! 

The idea came from some time back, when I visited a friend. She wasn't dairy free, just trying to make her money go further and she was employed, together with her children, in making her own chocolate tree decorations! The idea came back to me and it seemed perfect!

The Hub questioned the wisdom of loading the tree with chocolate - pointing out that Baby had the self-control of any normal little one and wouldn't be able to leave it alone. 

Equipped and ready to go!
However,  I couldn't imagine a Christmas tree without chocolate on it! Plus, I had a bit of a bee in my bonnet - I had already bought the chocolate (Sainsbury's Free From Chocolate Coins and Mint Crisps). The coins pictured here are silver and gold, as I bought them a few weeks ago,but at the moment they seem to have changed to  a lovely festive red and green. 

It didn't take me long to gather the rest of my equipment: metallic thread (ours was by Korbond and I think I bought it at the supermarket), stickers, sellotape and scissors. I was ready and determined to give it a go!

One I made earlier
The method is simple! You just take some foil covered dairy free chocolate coins, and stick a Christmassy sticker on the flat side.  I had some stickers left over from last year. These stickers came from the Early Learning Centre, but I also used some from a packet I bought at Accessorize. 

On the other side, where the foil is gathered, you stick a loop of metallic thread (or a slender ribbon, if you prefer) with some sellotape (the stickier the better) and hey presto, there you have it! 

The only thing I would add, is that you need to make sure that you stick the sellotape near the top, or else the coin will hang at a bit of a strange angle! 

I would love to have had Baby help me with this job, as she loves stickers, but even I thought that was a step too far for her self-control! 

The easy option
If that sounds a bit faffy to you, you could always buy some little gift bags instead, fill them with some chocolate coins and hang them from your tree (as you can see, in this picture). The bags I used came from Tesco and come in packs of three, but Hobbycraft also sell these kinds of bags, in their Wedding Favours section.

I had originally considered actually making my own tree chocolate, by melting some dairy free chocolate and filling some chocolate moulds, that I bought from The Works - only 99p and 3 for 2, at the time! 

The only reason I didn't was because I wasn't sure how good they would look once had foil wrapped them. Well I ask you - how do you get a small square of foil to wrap to neatly around a snowman or a Rudolph? However, it would be a possibility with these bags, because I think the bags could hide my unsightly wrapping quite easily!

Candy Canes seem to be dairy free!
After the chocolate was hung, I added some candy canes. I'm sure they are an American thing, but you see them everywhere, in the shops now. Just for the effect, I bought a few from a Christmas shop in Basingstoke. 

These are strawberry flavoured, as I thought Baby would prefer that to peppermint. I've checked out the ingredients and they seem to be dairy, soy, wheat etc. free. Baby hasn't suffered from the one she's attacked so far - yes her self-control is virtually non-existent!

Still surviving!
The chocolate hasn't survived too well either! A few have gone missing - I thought they were out of reach, but obviously not!! The rest have been moved to higher branches!!

So far, the gingerbread decorations, that we made have survived - well... the two that made it as far as the tree anyway! However, I know that Baby has her eye on them...

My next plan is to try making some dried orange and lemon slices or maybe a pomander, using an orange stuck with cloves, but I think I'll save those for another day.

Meanwhile, how's your dairy free Christmas preparations going? I hope you have a good 'un!

Would you believe it? Having just written this post, I've unearthed some dairy free decorations after all! £2.99 for a pack of six, they are available online, from The Vegan Store. This online shop also sells a lot of other great dairy free and egg free products!

Update Nov. 2014
It seems that D and D Chocolates now sell chocolate Christmas tree decorations (see here). These are made with sunflower lecithin rather than soya and are also gluten and nut free, so a great choice for those with allergies! 

Related Post:

Baking with Baby 8 - Gingerbread... Bears?


  1. What a good idea!! I'm going to
    Copy it. Thank you x

  2. Brilliant blog post! I found some MooFree chocolate santas in the end for my little neice but she ended up being quite poorly so she only ate one and struggled through that. Ah well. There is always next year. Love this idea. We too always had chocolate money and little chocolate xmas figures in foil. And we never ate them all at once because we were good children. That's not to say a few were snaffled behind mum's back, but generally we begged for them and won them as rewards. Loved reading this and thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it :) Hope your niece is feeling better now - rotten for her, feeling ill over Christmas. x