Normally my only early thoughts of Christmas are getting the spuds into the garden on time. Jersey Benne’s take 100 days and so the planting day is 16th September. Then I turn my back on all things festive until about two weeks before and have a massive panic as I cram in everything that needs to be done.
Well not this year. It has been a shocker of a year and so as a family we decided to bring it all forward this year to give us a joyous reason to celebrate, and possibly to help hurry the rest of the year on its way. Surely 2022 will be better?!
It started yesterday when our neighbour let us get a tree from out the back of his farm. Ordinarily we have bought our tree from the Lions Club outside the supermarket, however they don’t start selling until December has started. It feels like the right thing to do – give to a good cause and get a tree at the same time. But over the years the trees have shrunk, and the price has done the opposite and we found ourselves with small yet perfectly formed trees. Nothing like the wild and wonky forestry offcuts of my childhood.
It was a fabulous adventure, with Hubby the Un-Gardener up the tree trying to cut a perfect branch down. As a former city slicker – this was… let’s just say – amusing to watch as our neighbour and I stood by with much laughter! We ended up with two as our neighbour thought the branch behind the one Hubby the Un-Gardener laboured over would be better and whipped it down with his electric saw.
We hauled the trees home and found they were too big for house, so the bottoms were chopped off and now they are resting in buckets of water until our next burst of festive spirit has us decorating them.
The benefit of sparking the joy of Christmas early means I have 38 days to come up with creative gifts and decorations, which can be put together thoughtfully with no rush. Taking care of some of the gifts and decorations now will save time later and reduce the need to panic so much.
With Christmas on my mind, I had a chat with the lovely Tom and Kat from Radio Rhema today talking about how the garden can inspire gifts and decorations that can be given as heartfelt gifts that are sustainable and affordable.
And here are some of the ideas discussed and a few more… I’m really keen to get on with making some of these (although if you are a likely recipient, it is probably a good to pretend you never saw this…)
- Strawberries should be in full production – if not now then soon so making some Jam to give and popping it in a cute jar with a ribbon makes a delicious gift. The lovely Kat suggested dehydrated strawberries coated in chocolate – which is probably even better than jam!
- Elderflower cordial or champagne – as it should be blooming now – easy to make and super delish. Check out one of my old posts to find out how:
- Zucchini Relish or pickle etc… As we approach Christmas the glut should be coming along nicely. It would be a good idea to gift the relish with a nice cheese and crackers – (although maybe don’t give the cheese if the gift will be left under the tree for a few weeks!)
- Herbs infused in oil or added to a nice jar of salt is an easy gift. Rosemary sticks could be tied in a nice bundle to make kebab sticks although they will need soaking before being used for the BBQ.
- Dry edible flowers in a nice jar for a bright garnish or sprinkle. If you don’t have a dehydrator – set your oven as low as it will go and leave the flowers in there until they are crispy.
- Potpourri maybe old fashioned but was a lovely way to bring fragrance into the home. So, dry some flowers and leaves and find a nice container to hold them and add drop or two of a nice smelling essential oil and a tealight or LED candle.
- There is plenty of time to press some flowers and use them in craft – to decorate photo frames or make cards etc.
- Simple garden sticks and twigs can be used to make decorations like stars tied together with string.
- The garden is an abundant source of supplies for wreaths and garlands if you want to go for a more natural and less shiny looking Christmas vibe.
- Give future flowers with seed packets, although it is nice to give seeds that can be sown from Christmas day so they can be planted straight away without having to wait until the spring. Flowers like sunflowers, petunia, snap dragons, cosmos and calendula are perfect for sowing in January, but there are loads more to choose from to make a great seed packet bouquet.
- For a last minute gift idea pop a potato in a soil filled bucket (with holes in the bottom – and a plant saucer). Wrap it up and put it under the tree and give the gift of future spuds.
- For a gift to take camping, plant container with all things salad so it can be taken away and used fresh… sure beats chilly bin salad any day!
- Finally, it is too late for this year, but for next year think about growing some popcorn for your movie loving friends or a luffa to go with some lovely bathroom smellies that is a reliable gift for that distant aunt you never know what to buy for.
Ok – now I’m excited… bring on the 38 days of Christmas – surely there is a song about that I can sing along too…
Come again soon – the weather has been all over the place, but the garden is calling to me.
Sarah the Gardener : o)