Every Christmas for many years now, the wife and I make a pair of swags to hang up on our front porch. This is one of them.
We forage a coupla spruce boughs, a mess of different colored and textured berries, some red osier, pine cones, and anything else we can think of that might look nice. We hang the boughs on the north fence and using florist’s wire, we attach whatever we have the most/best of, on the boughs. The wife does one, and I do the other. We traditionally have mulled cider with dark rum in it as we work. OK, the wife has one cup with rum, aaaaaaand, I drain the rest of the bottle. As mentioned, we used to do them on the fence in the backyard.
Since we both retired, it seems everything is such an effort/bother to do. Or, we procrastinate until it’s too late to do anything. Well, we left it too late to decorate the front garden like I was hoping to do this year. We used to get two Christmas trees and set one up in our front garden. We’d decorate with unbreakable bulbs, tinsel and lights, and we’d place colored plastic wrapped boxes under the tree outside. Just like a Christmas tree inside, complete with presents under it. We’ve left it too late for that now, so maybe next year, and that’s OK with me. However, I wasn’t about to give up on our swags. We foraged everything we needed and left it all in the back of the truck. Then we waited in anticipation of a nice, sunny, and warm day we’d always get in early December.
Well, a nice, sunny, and warm day we used to get in early December ! Seems we had 2 choices this year, rain or so frickin’ cold you’d lose your fingers trying to make the things. There’s just no way to handle that florist’s wire with gloves on. I began to dispair as the wife’s enthusiasm for the tradition waned. So I reverted to her earlier suggestion of making them inside. I didn’t think there’d be enough room, but I tried it and sure enough ! It was so pleasant being nice and warm, and working on swags in my slippers and house clothes. If we get the nice day next year, I’d still do them outside, but if we can’t, now we know what to do.
Anyway, the point of this posting is to save anyone who plans on doing this, a lot of misery. No, not by suggesting you make them inside. You see, every year we made these things, the wife would get an allergic response to something. We assumed being pricked in the hands by a spruce bough for a couple hours might do it. But this year, she’s covered in welts. Also, for the first time, I’m having a nasty reaction too. So the wife does a web search and discovers, (to my shock and surprise) poison ivy has a lovely cluster of pale green berries. The same pale green berries which offset the darker green of the spruce boughs we wired them onto!!
We’ve used them for years but I guess since I had my first run in with poison ivy last Summer, I’ve become sensitive. So I got a response to the berries this year too. But they must’ve been particularly potent as the wife has never had this bad a response. Anyway, this is a close up of the berries. At least as close up as I’ll ever get to the damned things again. I mean without a napalm cannon.
Have a wonderfully non – itchy Christmas all.