Friday, December 19, 2014

Simplified & Sustainable Christmas

I decided this year not to have a holiday tree.  This will be the first time in 20 years without the tree.  (can you guess how old my son is?!)  I have never purchased a tree, they have always been wild trees from our land.  I am usually scoping out trees several weeks ahead of time during my daily walks.  This year I didn't find a tree that I wanted to cut down.  So I thought why not just skip it...

For the last several years the tree tradition has been my baby.  DH & Son don't really care one way or the other.  I go out and cut the tree and drag it back to the house.  I need to clear a space in our small home for the tree which involves packing up my little loom and putting my spinning wheel away for the duration.  I do all the decorating, watering, and then take it down when the time comes.  So no tree has been something I have been considering for a number of years.  When my son was young he used to help and enjoy it very much.  In those days we would put an electric train around the was a lot of fun.  And that is what it is supposed to be about, Fun!  So when my son didn't enjoy it anymore I did it because I wanted too, but not this year. 

But the house wasn't feeling that festive, at least not for me.  

It just so happened that I had made plans with a couple of gal pals to come over and make wreaths. I went out tipping in our woods for balsam fir boughs.  Well, when they came over we got to gabbing, took a snow shoe, then a sauna...time got away from us.  I was left with a big pile of tips.  The an aha moment happened!  Why not make a big garland and decorate it with some cherished ornaments!

Here is how I did it!

First a little explanation on tipping.  It is pretty simple.  If you have balsam fir it is the nicest smelling and the needles are soft.  Spruce is pretty prickly.  Any evergreen will work.  Be sure it is your land or you have permission to tip.  In Maine it is against the law to tip on other folks land without permission.  We have a pretty big wreath industry in this state.  Tipping is sustainable and enjoyable.  You just snap off a few tips from many trees to get your boughs.  The boughs are about 10 to 15 inches long.  You can use pruners but on a cold day they will just snap off.

All you need is some wire on a paddle or spool.  Some pliers to cut the wire and something to wrap the boughs around.  I used a long piece of bailing twine.  Also, I put an old sheet down to catch the needles and keep my table pitch free.  Next just grab a bundle of tips and start wrapping the wire around the tips and twine.

Make several wraps of wire around each bundle of boughs.

I end with a few half hitches around the final bundle with the twine.
 Leave some twine for hang your garland.
I have sturdy beams for hanging.  It is a bit heavy.  Fewer tips would make it lighter.

Then decorate it with some ornaments!

It has been up for over a week and is shedding very few needles.  The few that do fall are easy to sweep up.  It smells great!!  I love going up and putting my face into it  and soaking up the aroma.  When I am finished enjoying it I will be able to wrap it up in an old sheet and dry the needles for balsam fir sachets!  Love a multi tasking task!  

I new tradition has been born!  I love this garland!

All my fussing about didn't even phase Vern one bit
could it be the new catnip rat I made him?

Wishing You & Yours a Very Happy Holiday Season!  

I am really savoring a simpler celebration this year.  
More time to enjoy the ones I love & just gaze out the window on a beautiful wintery day.

1 comment:

  1. Tree or not, your home looks very warm and festive. I love the garland hung from the rafters. I said "no" to a tree this year also. We have a small home, which is under construction, and there just isn't room. So my husband surprised me with some lights strung outside on our fence. Your cat looks purrfectly content!