These super easy DIY Gingerbread Ornaments add warmth and coziness to your tree. Plus it’s basically every kids dream – certainly Max’s favourite blog post of the year!
I really love the idea of anything homemade on the tree, but have a specific soft spot for the edible ornaments. The last 2 years I decided to add gingerbread man/woman (gals wear pants too after all) cookies to ours, and no one was happier than Max!
It’s turned into his personal snack tree lol! Little bites here and there have showed up each morning and honestly nothing makes me smile bigger. Someone had a great idea to put some of the half eaten ornaments off the tree and keep it as a memory for him down the road. It will be a nice reminder for him when he’s older as a memory of our Christmas traditions.
Adding cookies to the tree is actually something I started doing with shortbread cookies when I was younger. As a young teen I would stay home while my parents went to Christmas parties and bake cookies, make homemade ornaments and decorate the tree. There is something really lovely and nostalgic for me about repeating modified versions of some of my traditions as a child. Suddenly I’m 13 again, baking up a storm while Alan Jackson’s Christmas album plays on repeat.
How to turn a cookie into an ornament
Making an ornament out of a cookie is really simple. All you need is a straw (plastic works best), a cookie cutter and of course some cookie dough!
Step 1 : Make the dough & cut into shapes
Make the dough (recipe below), chill and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thick. Cut into desired shapes (I used a gingerbread “man” ornament). Place on a prepared baking sheet.
Step 2 : Use a plastic straw to cut out a hole for the string
A plastic straw works better than a paper straw, but use whatever you have. Cut a small hole using the straw at the top of your ornaments. Bake the cookies according to the recipe and cool completely.
Step 3 : Tie the ribbons
Using thin ribbon or twine cut into around 12″ long , tie it once at the base of the cookie, work your way up the ribbon or string about 3″ and tie a bow. Trim the ends if needed and hang on the tree!
More Gingerbread Ideas
Feeling extra crafty this year you can sub the spices in this for our DIY popcorn string as garland and dried orange slices. It’s fun and you can do it with the kids! You can also sub the total volume of spices in this recipe for our DIY Gingerbread Spice (which doubles as an adorable gift idea). If cookies are your thing check out these cute Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies (uses a different recipe of my mom’s which is darker, but you can use this recipe to make these). And I’m a sucker for this Upside Down Pear Gingerbread Cake or these Pear Gingerbread Muffins!
This gingerbread recipe was adapted from the one and only Anna Olson. It does have a lighter in color than some other recipes, which shows better on the tree!
Gingerbread Man Ornaments
These DIY Gingerbread Ornaments are the cutest thing to grace the tree this year and simple to make with the kids this holiday season! This recipe was adapted from Anna Olson's.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup fancy molasses
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses until fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
In a separate medium bowl sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, all spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix to combine (I start using a spoon or my mixture then finish with my hands).
Divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, form into thick disk (easier to roll) and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (you can bake in batches if you only have one baking sheet).
Roll each ball of dough out on a lightly floured clean surface until around 1/8" thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and use a metal spatula to lift each cookie to the baking sheet, leaving about 1/2" apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. You can re-roll the scraps once (gets too dry after that in my experience).
Using a plastic straw, cut a hole in the top of the head (or near the top of any shape you're using). Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Bake the cookies until they are just golden brown, around 12-15 minutes and remove from the oven. Cool on a cooling rack.
Cut a ribbon or piece of string 10-12" long and wind it through the hole half-way. Tie it once at the base of the cookie, move up the string or ribbon about 3" and tie a bow at the top. Hang on the tree!