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:
6-inch floral foam balls
“U”-shaped floral pins
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
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.