Wreath making for the modern woman

One of my fondest childhood memories is of making Christmas wreaths with my grandmother. Each November, after a good cold snap, we would go out into the woods and gather fir boughs. We would make beautiful wreaths for our own front doors and gift several more to friends and relatives. Everyone loved them, and I loved the tradition.

My grandmother would turn the kitchen into a wreath making factory and we would work diligently until our first Christmas project was complete. She was great at it. A talented artist with a green thumb, her wreaths looked better than anything the LL Bean catalog could offer. While I did inherit my grandmother’s love of animals and voluminous hair, her organization and artistic skills were not passed down to me. I still miss her every day and wish she were alive to give me a step by step how to guide on wreath making that I could share with you. Instead, I have put together my best advice from memory on how to make a wreath for your home this holiday season.

Step 1) Tip some boughs

Wait until it’s been wicked cold for few days in a row. That used to be early November or late October in The County, but adjust to the global warming in your area. Remember if the trees are not your own to get permission from the land owner first. Most good neighbors will fire a warning shot at trespassers but it’s best to ask before it comes to that.

You are also going to want to make sure you tip the right kind of tree. You want a fir-tree, not a spruce or pine. This is due to the shape of the needles, how long the boughs will last without falling apart, and because there is that spruce tree that smells like cat pee and no one wants you to bring that into the house.

Step 2) Gather your equipment

We always used old wire coat hangers that we stretched into big circles. Honestly, its a great way to get rid of them.

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We also used floral wire and some sort of small garden shears to make the boughs a more uniformed size. You will want to use a big flat surface and maybe lay down some old newspapers to collect the pitch that can ooze out and get everywhere. Try not to think of the pitch as tree blood or you may have weird nightmares.

Step 3) Google how to get pitch out of your hair

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Step 4) Begin assembling your wreath

You are going to want to start making cute little bundles of boughs to adhere with wire to your coat hanger. You do this until it looks like a wreath. This will take you ten to fifteen minutes longer than when your hands begin to hurt from it. Just power through it because your grandmother used to make like 15 of these things in one sitting while entertaining you and taking care of her dying husband at the same time and you couldn’t even manage to make your bed this morning.

Step 5) Decorate your wreath

Add some bows to the spots that look thin. Stick a pine cone in the weird hole that you tried to fix twice but still doesn’t look right.

Now you should have a beautiful homemade wreath to give your mother who has to hang it because she loves you.

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A real wreath

A real wreath

Jasmine Haines

About Jasmine Haines

Jasmine J. Haines is an Aroostook county native and the 6th generation raised on her family’s farm in Fort Fairfield. Self-proclaimed "Maine's biggest fan". This is her agricultural adventure.