Collecting items from nature perfect for bringing indoors and hanging about during the Holiday Season has become a family tradition at our home. Especially now that my grandchildren take part in the hunt. Those prize pine cones that fit so perfectly in handmade wreaths and basket decorations are one of our favorites to find. Using things from the garden harvest, especially the herbs that can be tied together and inserted into many gifts and crafts soon fills the house with the shear essence of bounties delight.
Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to include in crafts and decorations. It has everything going for it, the pine shaped needles that hold up so well by retaining its green. Its fragrance seems to extend well through the entire winter season. But even more than that are the tales told of Rosemary as far back as biblical times. It was said that the Virgin Mary had thrown her blue cloak over a Rosemary bush that bloomed of white, and from that time on it has always bloomed blue as remembrance of the Birth of Christ. Folks during the Victorian era would lay sprigs of Rosemary on the floor all around the base of their Christmas trees, so that as one stepped upon them the sprigs would release their fragrance, thus to remember Christ. There are symbols to which each herb may represent and as for Rosemary, it is of course remembrance & friendship.
There are many other herbs, that when harvested with blooms and hung to dry create beauty as well as scents to include in many holiday decorations. I think my favorite would be Mint Marigold with its tiny little bright golden flowers. The flowers retain their yellow tone when dried. They make great sprigs for tying on homemade gifts like mason jars and baskets.
Slicing Apples and Oranges rolled in cinnamon to dry is another fun tradition for adding to crafts and gifts filled with aroma. They can be tied on with rafia or jute for making garlands and added into wreaths and baskets filled with other goodies. I love cutting some branches from Pine Trees for the smell as well. I really see no sense for buying artificial scents in a can or store bought candles. Not when there are so many wonderful aromas found in nature itself. Many store bought items are choked full of hazardous chemicals. Some can be dangerous, especially to asthma sufferers.
Drying fruit is fun and easy. It can be dried in a dehydrator or just on a cookie sheet in the oven on the lowest setting. I usually roll my apples in lemon juice if not coated in cinnamon before I dry them so they keep their pretty creamy white color. Oranges are fun as well when not coated with cinnamon. When hung in the light after they are dried they become beautifully translucent with the sun sparkling through them.
Don’t forget to put that simmering pot on the stove top! Fill it with lemon, orange and grapefruit pieces. Add a cinnamon stick and some cloves. Put in a bit of vanilla and some water to cover. Turn the heat on low and friends will think you’ve been baking all day. Enjoy this holiday season with scents from nature and be chemical free. Remember that even essential oils can be dangerous if they are imitation. Go for the real stuff that can only be found naturally to create a healthier environment for your entire family.
Article by Pamela Kimsey
Pammy is a organic gardener in Southeast Texas who believes diversity with natural habitats is the key to a successful garden. With a background as a commercial grower and manager for a large wholesale nursery, she became quickly dismayed with the over use of chemicals and the effects they have on life and the environment.
Pamela has written 87 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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