Getting the Christmas Spirit Early

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?!

Hubby the Un-Gardener and his tree
He looks so happy up there in the tree – before he realised cutting trees down by hand isn’t all that easy!

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.

Hubby the Un-Gardener and his tree
Hubby the Un-Gardener and the tree he cut down

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.

Christmas trees in the house
The house smells like a festive forest

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.

Christmas trees in the house
Christmas trees in the house – now we just need to move furniture to make it all fit nicely.

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:

A magical drink for Christmas day

  • 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.
dried edible flowers
A jar of dried edible flowers is a easy gift
  • 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.
Stick and string star
With just sticks and string you can make the cutest star
  • 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.
Giving popcorn on the cob is an unusual and fun gift.

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)

6 thoughts on “Getting the Christmas Spirit Early

  1. Christmas in summer just seems . . . weird. Is that a Monterey pine? Although uncommon, Monterey pine is plantation grown as Christmas trees here where they grow wild, and just a short distance from two of only five very confined natural colonies. I happen to like it because I grew up partly in a region where it is naturalized.

    1. It was weird for me when I spend time in the UK and had Christmas in the cold! It just didn’t quite feel right – although most of our Christmas imagery and icons are Northern Hemisphere ones with snow etc!
      The tree is a Pinus radiata. I didn’t realise it was a Monterey Pine as it isn’t commonly called that here. It is the kind of Christmas tree I grew up with. We have a large pine tree industry here. : o)

      1. Ah yes, Monterey pine, from . . . you can probably guess, . . . Monterey!, which is right across the Monterey Bay from here. Another colony lives just to the north, at the Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties Line. A third colony lives in Cambria, near where I went to school. Of course they are quite common elsewhere. A few big specimens live right across the road.

  2. Sarah, I’m glad to see you extending the season so that you can find more joy from your days. Those trees are fabulous, and all the more special since they came from a nearby farm. Will you use the lower branches to make wreaths? I can almost smell that wonderful pine. I gave cosmos seeds for gifts one year. I made cards using some of my photos and attach the seeds in glassine packets. It was a lot of fun.

    1. The tree is wonderfully different and full of personality. I made a small garland thing and had good intentions for the rest but ran out of time – the trouble with having the growing season and the festive season at the same time! Merry Christmas to You and your family. I hope you have a Safe and Wonderful New Year. : o)

Leave a Reply