Getting ready for Christmas decorating

Ray Baird

THE SEASON OF ADVENT WILL BEGIN SUNDAY – The celebration of Advent will begin Sunday and the Moravian star should be lit that evening as well as candles in the windows and Christmas trees. If you would like to purchase a Moravian star you can find them at Moravian book stores, Gullians, and at Salem Gifts on Hanes Mall Boulevard. The stars come in kit form and are east to assemble. They are made of heavy duty weather resistant material that will last for many years.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN ADVENT WREATH – We love Advent wreaths and the simple all-natural ones are the best. We like to make them with wild honeysuckle vines, bramble briar limbs and red nandena berries, adorned with white votive candles glued in place on a heavy cardboard circle. All you have to purchase is one tall votive candle for the Christ candle and four shorter votives for the weeks of Advent. This wreath will tell the story of Christ. The circle points to the eternal Christ represented by green honeysuckles, the briars represent the crown of thorns he wore and red berries point to his blood. The white votive candles speak of his pure and holy life. The center candle can be a royal purple candle instead of white to represent the kingdom and majesty of Christ.

IT’S EASY TO FIND A NATURAL DECORATION – Now that all leaves have fallen from the trees, a perfect birds nest can easily be found and prepared for an unusual Christmas tree decoration. Don’t do like Mary Ellen on the Walton Homecoming by placing the nest on the tree without spraying it with an insect spray and then with a coat of varnish or shellac to hold the nest together. Other natural decorations are dogwood berries, pinecones, cedar branches, Carolina Jasmine vines, honeysuckles and mistletoe if you are brave enough to climb a tree.

HAVING DECORATING FUN ALL DAY BLACK FRIDAY – Don’t let Black Friday be hazardous to your health; make it more fun by decking the halls with strings of popcorn, untangling strings of Christmas lights, making Christmas ornaments. Make a fruit cake with plenty of fruits and nuts and add some rum and brandy real flavoring to the mix for old-fashioned memories. Surely this is more fun than being shoved around in a mall or dodging cars in a parking lot or waiting in long lines!

MISTELTOE AT THE TOP OF MIGHTLY OAKS – What is so rare as a sprig of real mistletoe with plenty of white berries on it? As a boy growing up in eastern North Carolina, mistletoe was a hot item on the school ground and especially if you had the kind with white berries attached to it. This was harder to be obtained because most boys would use shotguns to shoot it out of the trees thus losing the berries. The most valuable was that obtained by climbing up the tree and carefully harvesting the mistletoe and handling it gently all the way to the ground. The fun part is showing the berry laden mistletoe to the girls and staying close by to steal a Christmas kiss. Yes, the girls knew all about mistletoe!

LEAF CLEAN-UP FOR CHRISTMAS DÉCOR – As you decorate the lawn for Christmas, take the extra time to vacuum and blow the remaining leaves to the garden or compost bin. The lawn will look better and it will make it much easier to decorate.

DECORATING OUTDOOR CONTAINERS FOR CHRISTMAS – One of the easiest ways to decorate outdoor annuals such as pansies is to stick red bows in the pots or adorn each pot with a plastic poinsettia in red, white, or pink for a festive touch.

2016 SEED CATALOGS ARE NOW IN THE MAILBOX – Something more welcome than Christmas bills is the arrival of new seed catalogs. It costs nothing to browse through them and you just might get some new ideas for next year’s garden plot!

THE RETURN OF AN OLD-FASHIONED ICE CREAM FLAVOR – In this holiday season of 2015, Turkey Hill has introduced the old favorite Egg Nog ice cream for a Christmas delight. This is a good flavor from a well-known company. The ice cream has the old country flavor of rum, nutmeg, cinnamon, and brandy for a special taste of Christmas. When I was a boy, the drug stores sold egg nog milkshakes from Thanksgiving until Christmas. This Turkey Hill egg nog ice cream brings back that great taste!

Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at

Ray Baird

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