One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up was making the Popcorn Gum Drop Tree.
My mom would take popcorn, cover it with melted butter and marshmallows, and mold it with her hands into the shape of a tree. Once it hardened, we would gather around as a family to decorate the tree with gum drops. Of course half the gum drops would end up being eaten as we giggled and listened to Frank Sinatra’s “A Jolly Christmas”. It’s just one of those happy childhood moments. A tradition I couldn’t wait to carry on one day with my little family…
I made the tree alone, since I thought it was best not to include Annabelle in something that involved sticky-gooey marshmallows. (Can’t you just picture it in her hair?) And since Mike has a weakness for marshmallows, I thought it best if he not be involved in this step either.
6.5 oz bag Popcorn
4 Tbs Of Butter (Plus extra for your hands)
10 oz Bag Mini Marshmallows
In a saucepan melt the 4 Tbs of butter and bag of marshmallows over medium heat. While your marshmallows are melting, pour your bag of popcorn into a large bowl. Once the mixture is melted, pour it over the popcorn. Mix together using a wooden spoon, being sure to coat all of the popcorn with the melted marshmallows. Next, lay out a sheet of wax paper and cover your hands with butter. (DO NOT skip this step or the popcorn will stick to your hands and you’ll have a big ol’ mess. Trust me. I, err, know someone this happened to.) Working on your wax paper, use your hands to mold the popcorn into the shape of a tree. Once you are happy with the shape, set it aside to dry and harden.
Little Annabelle had been eyeing the Popcorn Tree for days, patiently waiting for a time when we could all decorate it together. So, when the time finally came she was beside herself with glee.
First, we had to explain to her that she had to be very (very) careful with the toothpicks. That she could pick a gum drop, put it on the toothpick, and then put it on the tree. Of course we watched her closely, but she was able to do a surprising amount of it herself and was actually quite careful with the toothpicks.
To which I, of course, said yes. After all eating the gum drops is half the fun. Although, I think they were a bit too spicy for her because she spit it out (and handed it to me) after a few chews. Of course that didn’t stop her from asking to eat another one. Which also got spit out. And, yes, also got handed to me.
I really can’t properly explain how happy these pictures make me…