Most of our holiday traditions grew out of or stem from (love the garden puns!) an environmental need or solution.
For example, pre-winter pruning helps the shrubs or trees.
It makes them happy.
Bringing in the armloads of cut holly or red-twigged dogwood or box or andromeda will fill your rooms with joy. It will make you happy.
It will look beautiful matched with your vases, candles, and bows.
And it will save you money - which is especially important this year when everyone is making their list and checking it -- not twice but maybe like 12 times...
I've always relied on mother nature to decorate for the winter and Christmas Holidays. (see last year's holiday decorating post: http://tiny.cc/9bio4)
There is so much beauty all around if we just dream - and use our imaginations.
Of course Martha Stewart can always be counted on to tickle our creative juices.
And my friend Stephen Orr is now the Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living Magazine (yeah!) and blogs too, so don't miss Stephen's magical writing.
as can my friend Suzy Bales. Especially inspiring is her latest book, "Garden Bouquets and Beyond: Creating Wreaths, Garlands, and More in Every Garden Season."
Every year I take my poinsettias outside to the garden and then bring them back inside to the garden room just before Thanksgiving. They soon turned their brilliant red.
I attended Spanish school in Cuernavaca, Mexico some years ago.
I promise I was paying attention ^:^ but at the same time, I couldn't help be seduced by the enchanting poinsettia plants that dotted the surrounding hills like brooches on a festive outfit.
I since learned somewhere along my horticultural studies that this most definitive of holiday plants was named for our first ambassador to Mexico: Joel Robert Poinsett - who first brought the plants to the United States.
Celebrate the poinsettia's very own national holiday, December 12th!
The idea behind this act of Congress (bipartisan support, I hope!) is to give someone a poinsettia plant.
If the thought of giving this ubiquitous plant or the now similarly seen everywhere paperwhites makes you break out in a rash, then think about decorating with cut evergreens, birch, berries, steed hollies, herbs, and conifer cones.
If you are in town and can't walk out the door to borrow from Mother Nature, head to the Greenmarket and/or the corner bodega.
Green pin cushion cut flowers, eucalyptus, or hypericum berries are all good choices to decorate with. I also used with water resistant LED lights I order from http://www.acolyte.com
I used silver serving pieces filled with steed holly to accent the Advent wreath.
Then I took small cut twigs to fill a ball that nestles into two garden urn candleholders. (The greens replace the candle.)
The coolly elegant colors highlight Maria's love of all things white in her garden.
Full view with myrtle topiaries in iron planters line with burlap - a great juxtaposition of design elements. I placed a few gold balls and green-glitter pine cones in the planters too.
I did red holly and red ribbons and balls for another container garden. Photos to follow.
At my place, I kept the tuteur in the front of the Garden State house and cut holly leaves to fill the planter.
I added pine cones and cut birch to a red planter, white twigs and red holly to the corner planter.
And the piece de resistance - is the whimsical, evergreen-filled skate I hung from the front door.
I did this for the Gotham apartment door too.
Both door decorations have garnered unsolicited and most welcome feedback.
It's so nice to make people happy!
The skate was a very old pair that belonged to my husband. He hasn't skated since the last ice age (ha!) so when I spotted them earlier this year when tidying up the garage I made a mental note that I could do something with them.
So have some fun. Save some money. Bring nature inside. Enjoy the beauty of the season.