Poinsettia arrangements at Amsterdam Greenhouses & Garden Centre, Pitt Meadows. (Click on image to enlarge.)
If you have spent time waiting for a loved one to emerge from a big box store lately, you might have noticed many shoppers exiting with large quantities of generic Christmas balls and baubles that were undoubtedly made in a factory far, far away. If this decorating option strikes you as being a bit stale, you might be someone who is longing to add fresh and natural Christmas decorations to your home.
Recently Great Canadian Superstore offered a two foot poinsettia plant as their weekly promotion. If you’re a frequent shopper at Superstore, hopefully you know that there is a weekly flyer coupon for a gift with a minimum purchase of $150+. It might be a $25 Superstore gift certificate or a seasonal item like a turkey. At first it did seem perplexing. What would one do with such an over sized plant? It turns out that it looks very festive and lovely in the middle of a dining room table on top of a white, embroidered Japanese obi runner.
For BC residents who don’t live next to a forest, bringing greenery into the home at Christmas time isn’t an easy affair. As one letter writer to a local Tri-City paper pointed out, cutting greenery from trees in a local park simply isn’t on. If you associate visits to a garden centre with the height of spring and summer, you’ll want to make a return visit to Amsterdam Greenhouses, Art Knapps or any of a number of BC garden centres. You can find the best selection of poinsettias, Christmas-themed plant arrangements and specially prepared wreaths and boughs of greenery.
Here in the Tri-City area Amsterdam Greenhouses held a special St. Nicholas day in early December (see above), has a Santa event coming up (noon – 3 PM Dec 15, 2012) and offers special pricing on Christmas items such as poinsettias and Christmas cacti. If you live on the west side or downtown, it is worth planning a trip to a garden centre in another Lower Mainland city. You will find that the prices can be more competitive and the selection is larger. You can always combine your trip with another activity such as seeing a movie in a large, suburban cinema, trying a regional restaurant or going to a special event. Here in the Tri-Cities area east of Vancouver, the Evergreen Cultural Centre is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to unique, top rate local arts productions. (Hint: The Christmas Carol and Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe productions Dec. 18 and Dec. 18 – 22 have received rave previews.) The Centre is also home to one of the two ongoing regular sessions connected to the Tokyo-based Pecha Kucha organization.
If you can get hold of greenery from the outdoors, via a visit to an acreage or purchased in raw form at a greenhouse, MarthaStewart.com has some inspiring projects that will have you dreaming of a decked out mantle, doorway, balcony or banister. Stores such as Michaels often run coupon discounts in their flyers. If you need to stock up on crafting supplies such as ribbon, a glue gun and wire, this is a good way to find what you need without breaking your budget. Once you have invested in some core tools, you will be able to use them year after year. The projects can seem daunting, but once you are used to making something you will look forward to doing the same project the following year. Other ideas are quite simple. For example, you can collect pine cones and nestle them in branches on your Christmas tree or spray the tips with metallic paint and gather them in an attractive bowl. See the Wreaths, Garlands and More section on MarthaStewart.com for numerous project ideas or check back issues of their magazine in your local library.
Another way that you can bring greenery and natural elements into your home is by arranging flowers or purchasing a ready-made Christmas flower arrangement. Here at BCFamily.ca we have been working with Kathleen at Proline Trading Company for the last five years. She owns a wholesale florist and event planning business in Burnaby. She maintains a cold room of flowers but can also make arrangements to purchase specific types of flowers. Her prices are competitive and her attention to service is impeccable. Every year our family arranges to have a bouquet sent from one set of parents to a parent on the other side of the family. We do the transaction completely over the phone and Kathleen has the bouquet delivered. We will also call her for other requirements as well such as anniversaries or funeral flowers. If this opportunity sounds appealing, consider calling Kathleen to see if you can come in and say “hello” and meet face-to-face before getting in the habit of making business requests over the phone. It is also a good idea – even though it’s not necessary – to have an idea of what types of roses, for example, that you like. The more specific you are about your request, the most satisfied you will be with the results. The bouquet shown below was prepared by Proline at Christmas time last year and had been in bloom for a few days. Isn’t it beautiful?
(Click on image to enlarge.)
What traditions do you have at your home that involve greenery and natural decorations? You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or by visiting the BC Family Facebook page. Your opinion matters so don’t be shy!
This video features natural elements with decorative items that you might have on hand.
Some inspiration from nature for a Christmas olive platter.
In the following video decorator Susie McAuley weaves natural elements into her Christmas decorations. Some Texan inspiration for BC!