When I came back to Canada from my most recent trip to Mexico, I brought home some heirloom hand-crafted straw decorations; two examples are shown in the photos below:
This collection of about 15 pieces was purchased at least 35 years ago; they used to adorn the family Christmas tree every year. Now, my daughters and I usually choose a different theme for our tree every Christmas, and we decided to use the straw ornaments from my childhood this time, and give our tree an old-fashioned look:
We also used “fruit” (such as artificial sugar plums), toys (for example, nutcrackers) and pinecones, and even made garlands with real popcorn to complete the look, as seen above and in the detail at the top of this post.
While in Mexico, I went to the movies a couple of times, and there was a giant Christmas tree brightening the lobby of one of the theatres:
It also featured popcorn as decorations, but in a somewhat more commercial way:
I thought they looked like they were assembled in a rash fashion (some kernels even looked burnt), but then I got into the holiday spirit and decided it was a cute idea; they probably used leftover popcorn and boxes from the concession stand so, hey, they get extra brownie eco-points for re-purposing. They certainly were well stocked with regular and buttered popcorn, as well as caramel, pizza, cheddar and spicy flavours:
At home, I like to use our hot air popcorn machine, then add some fun toppings inspired by these and other featured flavours in Mexican movie theatres, such as Takis™ and chili powder:
For this special time of the year, whether you will celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, have already celebrated a major holiday, or observe none, please receive my sincere wishes for love, health, joy, and hope for a better world.
Fun facts about the Christmas tree: In Medieval times, fir trees were decorated with apples, and called Paradise Trees, commemorating Adam and Eve’s day on December 24, later giving origin to the Christmas tree. When the Christmas tree made its way to the US in the mid 1800s, decorating with fruit and other edibles remained popular as a cherished tradition, and popcorn strings were used as inexpensive garland, instead of tinsel.
Fun facts about popcorn: Popcorn was a well known decorative and ceremonial foodstuff in Mexican ancient cultures, quickly spreading to other regions in the continent. Its consumption at a large scale started in the 1800s when Charles Cretors developed the first popcorn machine. Later on, popcorn became widespread as a snack through times of hardship, since it was a much cheaper product than candy. In the US, people favoured popcorn during the Great Depression, and movie theatres survived by lowering ticket prices and then selling popcorn inside their premises. It also became one of the most consumed snacks during World War II, when sugar was rationed and scarce.