Whimsical Kissing Balls

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

These imaginative updates of Victorian kissing balls make perfect Christmas ornaments for your home. The handmade kissing balls are easy to make and a fun, quick project that you can do with your children or grandchildren.

Prototypes of kissing balls were made in the Middle Ages, in England, of evergreen branches entwined into a rough globe shape. A small clay figure of the baby Jesus was nestled in the center of the sprigs of greenery; and the “holy boughs”, as they were called, would be hung from the ceiling to render blessings and good luck to all who passed under them.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, variations of our modern traditions became popular, such as the Christmas tree and the concept of the kissing ball.  Potatoes or apples were used as forms for the decorations, with sprigs of evergreen, holly, herbs, and flowers were wrapped around and tied up with a pretty ribbon.  The herbs, flowers, and plants used spoke a symbolic language to Victorians, and one could personalize the kissing ball according to the message of love, affection, loyalty, peace, and more.

We’ve modernized our kissing balls with nuts and candies of the season, to bring color and cheer to your holiday home.  Here is how to make them:

Materials needed:
6-inch floral foam balls
“U”-shaped floral pins
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Decorative ribbons
Candies or nuts in shells (use your imagination)
Spray paint in colors that coordinate with candies and nuts

Spray paint the foam ball the color of your desired candy or nut decoration, and let it dry.

Put a bead of hot glue on both ends of the “U”-shaped pin, and insert the pin into the foam ball, allowing the top to extend about 1/4-inch above the surface of the foam ball.

Apply hot glue to the candies or nuts and arrange all over the foam ball.  Let it stand until the glue is completely dry, about 2 hours.

Thread a ribbon through the top of the “U”-shaped pin for hanging the kissing ball.  Tie a smaller length of ribbon onto the hanger ribbon into a bow, if desired.

More Holiday Decorating Fun!
Decorating with Dried Apples
Candy Cane Centerpiece
Christmas Taffy Table Setting


Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Christmas.

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Reader Comments:


I have the pots and pans just love them. Love the articles recipes etc. Thank you for being you.

By Anonymous on February 23, 2011


I am a big fan and really love everything about you

By dora on December 27, 2010


Great idea

By Phil P on December 15, 2010


Hello! My 13 year old wants to make your CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY COOKIES for a cookie exchange. Please, can you tell us where to look for the "raspberry cream filled dark chocolate baking pieces". I thought it was just the Ghiradelli CANDY until I reread "baking pieces". I'm not sure what I'm looking for but they sure sound yummy!!! Thank you! Elaine

By Elaine Duke on December 12, 2010

What a simple, whimsical, fun and pretty idea! I think I will make some tonight - thanks Paula! Oh, and I love the centerpiece idea from Melinda too, gonna give that a try as well.
With much love and admiration,

By Tracey Lopez on December 08, 2010

Hay Paula,
I just saw your kissing bells and i am going to make them they look like fun and i love to do fun things like this. Hay why don’t you make them on your show one day and show us how it’s realy done.

By carol ann gore on December 08, 2010

My son loves cooking with me and helping me decorate for any holiday. He is 8 yrs old and loves to bake cookies or just about anything that will allow him to wear his blue apron. I know when I mention the kissing balls he is going to be right there to help me out on making these wonderful items. I hope you and all of your family have a Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year!

By Kathy Alexander on December 08, 2010


Dear Paula,

When my daughter was in pre-school 22 years ago the children made a pretty centerpiece quickly and easily. It’s a very festive vase.

You’ll need 3 things:

A frozen concentrate can like OJ comes in
Peppermint canes 10-20 per can and unwrapped
School glue or a glue gun—(use with supervision)
Pretty Christmas ribbon.

Before you start:

Measure the height of the can and buy enough candy canes that when glued on the can, they will cover up the can all the way around. You can either buy them just taller than the can so the crook of the cane will stand above the opening or the shorter ones that the crook of the cane will come up even with the rim of the can.  Buy more than you need to plan for elf-munching and any broken canes in the package. I am guessing you may need 10-15 maybe 20 candy canes but you really have check the size of the candy canes—(are they thick ones or thinner ? Height, etc.) and see how many you will need to cover the can. Or buy a bunch and don’t worry about it ! There’s fun for all and lots of things to do with left over candy canes !! It’s easy !! Remember 3 and 4 year old children did this !!

How to make:

1. Wash and dry an empty concentrate can and do not cut the bottom out.
2. Glue the canes on the can side by side with the crook facing away from the can’s open top.
If you use school glue allow drying time after all the canes are applied. Or, use a glue gun. Put glue on the back of the cane and stick it on the can. Keep the bottom of the candy canes even with the bottom of the can so it will sit evenly.  Make sure they are close enough together that the can will not show between the candy canes.

3. After the glue is dry, tie a pretty ribbon around the decorated can and tie a bow. If necessary, you may need to tack the ribbon down with a drop of clue to keep it from slipping.

Makes one vase and lots of fun !! Save you cans for a family project or make several for a decorative grouping for flowers or greenery. They could also hold candles. Save several different size cans for interest grouping. You might tie several different sizes of cans together (you might need to tack them with glue.) Buy different colors of candy canes for even more holiday fun.
Use candy canes with no crook. The possibilities are endless. If you are worried about the can showing through cover it in foil first, or wrapping paper.

Your imagination is the only limit. Have fun !!

For Hanukkah—use blue and white striped candy canes.



By Melinda McDaniel on December 07, 2010

Gonna make one of the gumdrop ones, if I can get to Michael’s through the snow, for the ball, u-shaped hook and a new glue gun and glue.  LOL If not will have one next year.


By Charli on December 07, 2010


  Great idea for the kissing balls with the gum drops.also it would be a great idea to make this for Valentines Day.Thanks and Happy Hoildays.

Mary jorgenson

By Mary Jorgenson on December 07, 2010


By KAREN BADSTIBNER on December 07, 2010

This is a great idea. I will be doing some of these this year for Christmas. Thanks Paula

By Becky Perry on December 07, 2010

hey paula hope thatr you and your family have a happy and mery chirstmas this year. love your cooking set i have just about all of your dihes ,they are the greatest thing to cook in. i don’t like useing any thing else but your cook set . i love all of your idea any dishes that you share with us. i have try alot of your dishes and they was great .alots of love your friend linda

By linda smith on December 06, 2010

I make “gumdrop” Kissing Balls!  They always turn out to pretty!

By sherry on December 06, 2010

hi Paula,
  i myself will be making this kissing balls. love all of your ideas and cookware(which i have). keep the ideas coming

By kris on December 06, 2010

I love watching you My mother is from Americus Ga. and you always make me fill warm and fuzzy.

By Sandy Bell on December 06, 2010

Thanks Paula…I liked very much the idea of the Whimsical Kissing Balls just like your program.

Annie Virella - from Puerto Rico

By Annie Virella on December 06, 2010

Paula, I am very excited to have found yet another great project of yours to do with our grandkids. They and myself will have a great time making the whimsical kissing balls.
Thank you so much for sharing with us,your the best!!!!!
  PS just want to say what a beautiful family you have as well as myself,we are truly blessed .
    Happy holidays ,Joan

By Joan Pushard on December 06, 2010

I love the article.. I love the balls, I gona try this today! I am so excited.. always like home made balls… but don’t like all the work in the beads and pin ones.. there beautiful, but i don’t have that kind of time.. I can hadle this one, Thanks, Charlotte

By charlotte skiba on December 06, 2010

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm