Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Green Christmas


Mrs. E.’s grandmother used to make her own swags and garlands out of boxwood clippings. Our four remaining plants wouldn’t yield so much as a bouquet garni. Mrs. E.’s grandmother, on the other hand, had a hundred or so very old boxwood planted to form a maze in the lower garden. I imagine the only trick to making garland was having enough wire on hand to handle the haul.

The trick when using artificial greens is to include real flora with them. Especially when the faux stuff will be in the near vicinity of a live Christmas tree.

In the absence of a significant cache of boxwood, I turned to our local Historical Society for an answer. Not about what was historically accurate; they have a number of Magnolia trees that shed prodigiously and are trimmed regularly. My two armloads didn’t make a dent. There they are, tucked in amongst the plastic pine needles and my favourite style Christmas ornaments. Our tree is under the arch, decorated with childhood ornaments, the annual offering from The White House Collection and a homemade tree skirt.

I can almost hear Bing Crosby now….

5 thoughts on “Green Christmas

  1. It looks gorgeous. I especially like the sugared fruits. Every year, my mother, pruning shears in hand, heads out to the garden for what my father refers to as “The Annual Rape of the Pines.” She does have a few faux magnolia garlands mixed in with everything – she pines for the real stuff.

  2. Aren’t magnolias the best? I feel most fortunate to have a huge one in my front garden. I steal from it all year!

    Loved the gift guide, by the way!

  3. You KNOW I love magnolia and box. M told me that there used to be people called “pullers” whose job was to travel around and pull boxwood from the center of the plant to keep it in trim. Box needs air and light in the middle or it gets a blight. And you’re never supposed to cut box, just pull it.

  4. Linda, I have it on good authority that it was fantastic.

    TBD, you had me laughing out loud.

    Pamela, thanks! I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by them — the fragrance in Spring is heady!

    Fairfax, no kidding? Maybe that’s why I’ve killed off so many. Not that they had grown enough to worry about keeping them in shape…

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