Sweet new tradition brings magic to Christmas season

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

­RESERVE — Doreen Sanders of Reserve hadn’t put up a Christmas tree in her home for more than a decade. With small grandchildren and a new baby joining the family for the first time in 12 years, Sanders decided it was time to start a new tradition with a tree that’s as “sweet as her sweeties.”

Back in early October, Sanders and her sister, Tanya Edwards, started preparations for a grand Candyland-themed tree decked out with homemade ornaments. The end result is a beautiful assortment of delicious treats that look good enough to eat, according to Sanders’ three young granddaughters who have yearned to take a bite.

Even adults who watched Sanders and Edwards hand craft each dessert under the car port have mistaken the ornaments for real sweets.

Each piece was created with attention to detail and a whole lot of love.

Styrofoam was used to form the gumdrops and lollipops, while spackle went into the creation of muffins, cakes and ice cream that now hang around the tree. To form the ice cream cone texture, Sanders and Edwards used the no-slip rubber mats that are traditionally placed under rugs.

Gumball machines were designed using large, clear Christmas bulbs, cups, and lid tops that resemble metal dispensers. Pillow stuffing was reimagined as cotton candy using glitter and sidewalk chalk to add pastel coloring. Play-Doh became delectable Oreo cookies, and paint and birdseed went into the creation of each caramel apple.

While Sanders is no stranger to sewing and embroidery, she had never attempted this type of craft project. YouTube tutorials were a helpful guide and a source of inspiration.

“I would get up early in the morning, and I wouldn’t stop until about 6 or 7 o’clock. After we started doing it, we just loved it,” Sanders said. “I’m going to keep it up. It might be a different theme every year.”

With so many sweets decorating the house this Christmas, Sanders sees a Candyland themed party in baby Micha’s future as the family prepares to celebrate her first birthday in January.