Blackberry Life

Christmas Greenery

While walking through the woods this morning, I was looking at a number of native holly shrubs growing along a hillside. The scene took me back to former times when the Christmas season was a simpler celebration – childhood memories of Christmas in the early 1940’s.

I recall going to the woods with a couple of older men to cut greenery for Christmas decorations. A mule was hitched to a groundshed which was used to haul cedar Christmas trees, pine boughs and holly branches back to the house. A number of fox grape vines were also cut to make Christmas wreaths with. I remember one occasion when it was snowing, and that added to the excitement of the Christmas spirit.

When we returned from our greenery gathering, we set about weaving the grapevine into wreaths which were then decorated with holly and its red berries. Magnolia leaves and pine were also woven into the design.

The cedar Christmas tree was decorated with strung popcorn and cranberries, along with sycamore balls and sweetgum seed pods covered with tin foil to create a silvery look.

Those early Christmas celebrations are among my favorite memories. They were simpler times, but in many ways, they were better times.

John Coykendall, Master Gardener
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