Monday 22 December 2014

Foraging for Christmas decorations

With Christmas just around the corner, I feel inspired to make some nature themed Christmas decorations for our home. It's my fourth Christmas in England, and as each year goes by, I learn more about British traditions from friends and family and am particularly intrigued by the tradition of foraging for natural resources to hand craft Christmas decorations during the festive season.

My husband and I are lucky enough to live in the Chilterns area, where we are surrounded by beautiful woodland. Today, I'm going for a walk with a friend of mine, Lena, who I met this past summer, to try my luck at foraging in the woods nearby.

Lena tells me that she and her mother usually make a table centrepiece using sprigs of holly, berries and evergreen foliage. Good thing Lena is here, I think to myself, as already, she is headed toward some trees and pointing out some interesting foliage to me.

As we wander along the footpath, we pass through tall conifers, yew trees and holly bushes. It's time to keep our eyes open for cones, berries, decorative twigs and foliage that might add a festive flair.

From the evergreens, I gather some branches with their needle like leaves. It's a kind of spruce tree, I think. 

At this time of the year, many shrubs are barren and there are few berries to be found. After some time, we do find a holly bush which is laden with red berries. Hallelujah! I cut a few sprigs of holly with berries intact to bring home. Holly shrubs, it seems, are either male or female. It is only female holly that have berries and pollination can only occur with a male holly is within close proximity to it.

On the ground, I stumble across some larch branches with their cones still attached; they have been kept off the damp ground and are suitably dry. Such beautiful little miniature cones, they are!

At the end of our trip, we have gathered enough to make a few Christmas decorations. All that is left to do is to add some red ribbon. Foraging was a fun way to spend a few hours, and there were plenty of giggles and laughs - well worth the trip.

Read also : I made a Christmas wreath from foraged materials!

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