No matter what religious affiliation you are, it’s always fun during the holidays is to ride around and look at all the nifty (sometimes gloriously tacky) holiday decorations. Once upon a time — when we had time — Doc and I were known to lead the pack in our neighborhood in a holiday display competition. It got pretty wild! We decorated a toilet with a candelabra — a long story — and constructed our own street sign which we proudly displayed on our corner lot that pointed the way to such places as “Bethlehem” and “Crapperville” — more of the long story. Our cul-de-sac was as bright as New York City on a Saturday night and folks would come from miles around searching for the source of all that light.
Now we work too hard and too long and we have every excuse in the book not to go to the trouble to hang a million multi-colored lights around every window and doorway of our home. In fact, the only part of our holiday display left is the blue moon and stars that hang in our foyer window and the only reason they’re still up is because it’s too hard to reach plus it has a special place in our hearts. The whole experience did give us a world of experience in the art of outdoor holiday décor.
Gazing globes are used year-round in the garden. Why not put them to work during the holiday season as decorations? After all, they look like large Christmas tree bulbs. Good quality glass globes like the ones we carry at the store are very sturdy outdoors, even during freezing weather. Stainless steel is also available but, although they are nice, they don’t have the luster of the hand-blown glass.
One can easily convert a gazing globe from garden art into holiday décor by tying a large ribbon around it with a big bow in the middle. For an added touch try hot-gluing artificial holly and pine cones found in the woods to the ribbon. Don’t glue or permanently fix anything to the globe or you have a holiday decoration for life.
12” and larger globes fit into the neck of many planters. Decorate two matching globes and set them into planters on either side of the door. In northern climates folks tend to leave their planters bare in the winter. This will give them purpose — winter life! Glass balls do not come in larger than 12” sizes but stainless steel are available in 16”, 20” and 22” — as long as you order them early. They tend to be swept up quickly for Christmas gifts.
If your yard is graced with a big, nice, healthy tree that is just right for decorating, try sticking smaller-sized gazing globes into the branches. Glass balls are available in 6” and 10”. Again, stainless steel balls offer a better selection of sizes — 4”, 6”, 8” and 10” — but they can be harder to get. String the tree with white lights to bounce off the globes at night and create a glistening and twinkling wonderland.
Holiday Décor for the Birds
During the winter many species of song birds can be found pillaging through the yard for tasty morsels. You can transform a tree into a holiday smorgasbord for birds by creating edible decorations. The birds, then, become part of the holiday décor whether they want to or not.
Cut bagels in half, creating two circles, and smear a thick layer of crunchy peanut butter on the cut side. Press the bagel, peanut butter side down, onto a plate filled with bird seed, raisins, shelled peanuts, dried cheese crumbles, berries — anything the birds might desire — and coat it well. Hang the bagels up on the tree by using cheerful holiday ribbon threaded through the hole in the middle of the bagel.
Make edible pine cone decorations by threading thin ribbon into the spaces between the prickly parts and leave enough ribbon to tie the pine cone onto the limb of the tree. Fill the spaces of the pine cone with peanut butter or suet and coat it with seeds and raisins. In fact, anything that is not toxic to the birds and squirrels can be coated with peanut butter and bird seed and hung on the tree. Your imagination is your only limitation. Try recycling old decorations that have been cleaned or cutting festive shapes out of wood.
The Blue Moon and the Stars
It would take too much time and paper to go into the “long story” but I feel you might want to know why the blue moon and the stars are still up in our foyer so I’ll tell you just a part of it. One summer night during the heyday of our neighborhood parties I was holding a little girl named Brennan who was only three at the time. We were looking at the moon and a large cloud crept over it, hiding it completely. Brennan asked me in her sweet, little voice, “Miss Peggy, where’s the moon?”
I told her the aliens took it. She and her mother spent several sleepless nights waiting for the aliens to bring it back. I can’t take Brennan’s moon away again.