A LARGE PIZZA would make an interesting wreath, dontcha think? You’d have to bake it hard so the mozzarella and tomato sauce wouldn’t drip, but how jolly! Spike it with green jalapeños and gilded pepperoni for a little extra pizzazz. I’m not sure if you could safely add lights without melting the thing, but you might try. Let me know how that works out.
Too bad I only just thought of that—it was a thought I should have had 30-odd years ago.
Time was, we didn’t dare hang a wreath in our neighborhood. No matter how intricately we wired one to the front door, it was guaranteed to be gone by dawn.
“Oh Mama, look what I got you! A beautiful wreath,” the miscreant would no doubt say, having scuttled home with his or her ill-gotten gains.
Or it would be part of an evening’s haul, to be peddled back to us the next night. Knock-knock: “Hey, lady, wanna buy a wreath?”
And so instead we had homemade constructions. In keeping with my perennially puny attention span, this would needs be done within 10 minutes. A spray of pine or fir tied up with a nice big bow and suspended from a hook on the door. These were never stolen. Not round, not a wreath, I suppose. But, it turns out, I liked the simplicity of the spray more than the ubiquitous circle.
Branches are easy enough to find. Many Christmas tree lots will be happy—in fact thrilled—to give you as many clippings as you’d care to schlep. Saves them from disposal. Meanwhile, you have an absolutely free source of greenery to bedeck whatever you’re bedecking: stair rails, banisters, mantels, windows, tabletops, vases. Just grab some wire and tuck away. Seriously, if I can do this so can you.
In recent years the neighborhood has gone upscale and the thievery issue is now rare. A dear friend has taken to sending us a large wreath from an outfit in Maine, which arrives, fresh and bushy, early in December. It is also comes bedecked with small plastic apples, a red velvetesque bow and a few clutches of pinecones.
One sees similar wreaths marching down any and every street. Ho humbug.
Announcement: You do not have to keep the stuff that comes on the wreath! It is not like the tag on the mattress that says “Do not remove under penalty of law,” and if you’re imagining the hurt feelings of whoever assembled the thing, really, they’ll never know.
Trash the doodads and do whatever you want with the basic circle. At the very least, get a big beautiful bow, something that complements your door, contrasting or matching. The ribbon with wired edges is really easy to tie, again reminding you that I am among the least crafty of people. I’ve used the same length of satiny purple stuff with gold edges for years: The color matches the front door and the window boxes, which also have bows for the season.
This year, for a total investment of $5, I got a bunch of purple statice and one of baby’s breath—both dry beautifully in place—and tucked in a short strand of battery-operated lights. There were enough flowers remaining to add to the window boxes and the mantel—amazing how abundantly floriferous those puny-looking bunches actually are.
I also gilded the pine cones with gold spray paint. I almost went out to buy the paint, but My Prince, rummaging in his garage, found three nearly full cans of gold spray paint, two of silver and one of copper. This is neither here nor there, I just found it interesting; a glimpse into the disorganization that is my life.
By the way, the friend that sends this annual gift doesn’t mind my changes in the least. She always customizes her own.
Whatever the wreath’s components, you’ll want to be mindful of its placement. Note the pre-dreckorating shot in the slideshow. Not assessing any blame here, but someone took it out of the shipping box and stuck it on the door: Ah, here’s a hook. I’ll just hang it here. This is Wrong. Just as with pictures, the wreath should be hung more or less at eye level. If you’re spatially challenged, engage another set of eyes and move it this way and that until it is . . . pleasantly situated. Then suspend it from a ribbon or wire or somesuch.
While Capitol Hill has come a long way, I still wouldn’t dare to put out the smashing metal wreath another friend, Alice, gave me for my birthday last month. A thing so beautiful I’m tempted to wear it. Instead, it hangs in the hallway, reflected in the mirror, adding holiday dash to the sago palm that has moved indoors for the winter.
If your neighborhood is fancier than mine, you might invest in one—and never again bother with season’s greenings.
LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” writes a garden-ish column every Thursday. To read earlier columns, type Green Acre in the Search box at the top of the page.