By Gail Vanik
What a weird, crazy year this has been, but if there’s one thing that 2020 has done, it’s been to bring us all home. This refocus on home, family, and community got me thinking about what you can do with garden-centered decorations in your home this season to create memories and feel more like the traditional holidays you may remember from childhood while staying safe.
Remember the scene in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” movie when they cut down their Christmas tree in the forest? If you haven’t had a real tree in many years, consider one this year. No matter whether you choose to cut one yourself from the forest, or purchase a cut tree from one of our local vendors, adding the piney, outdoorsy fragrance of a real tree adds a scent to your home that nothing artificial can match. Picking out your tree is an open air, family activity that creates wonderful family memories.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas at our house without that tall, stately tree in the living room complete with needles and sap, of course. It doesn’t matter how large your tree is because in the eyes of a child (or grandchildren) they’re all magnificent!
Once you have your tree, make decorating it an event. Gather your family, some eggnog, a cookie or two and go to work. Put the carols on and turn the TV or computer off. Bring out the old heirloom ornaments. The ones your kids created as children. The one that came from Aunt Sally or Grandma Ruth. The one that holds the memories of your first house, your kids’ first words, your favorite pet, a family vacation. All treasured memories and holiday chronicled milestones of your life. Hang icicles on each other. Be silly.
If there was ever a year for it, this one is when silly is needed most.
Consider creating new, handmade decorations. No matter if you use pine cones from the forest, a bird’s nest you found in a tree, make them from cinnamon applesauce, or string popcorn and cranberries, there are great ways to decorate using natural materials that can be found as close as your garden or yard.
The same goes for other holiday decor. Make an evergreen wreath or other decoration in a local class to hang on your door or over the mantel. You can also use the trimmings from the bottom of your tree to do this. Use evergreen or holly boughs on the mantel to bring the fresh scent of pine indoors, then decorate with lights and ornaments or bows for a festive look. A tip of mine is to put waxed paper down underneath of those boughs to keep the sap and needles from ruining your mantel or tabletop. Another old-fashioned decoration is to stick whole cloves into oranges and spread them throughout your decor. It’s a great way to add spice to the air!
Add a traditional poinsettia for a burst of color during the holiday season. Even if you haven’t had one in years, you’ll be surprised how festive this plant can make you feel. If you don’t like the traditional red ones, consider some of the other colors like white or glitter, which is a splotched pattern, or the newer varieties like winter rose or mouse ears. There’s a poinsettia for everyone and the Montezuma-Cortez High School Band Boosters and Dolores Fire and Rescue are selling them as fundraisers this year, so it’s not only a great way to decorate your home, but also a way to support our local civic groups as well.
As we refocus on family and home this holiday season, have fun with your holidays using the simple, natural materials found in abundance in our area.
Gail Vanik can be reached at 970-565-8274 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.