Getting a jump on Christmas

Janice Wells
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It has to be at least two weeks since my neighbourhood supermarket put up its outdoor display of fresh Christmas wreaths, planters, swags, garlands and bunches of greenery.

If I remember correctly, the price for a bunch of pine or cedar was in the $7 range (amazing how $6.99 looks much cheaper than $7) and I thought that was pretty good for a bunch that would supply enough greenery for all my indoor decorating.

Too early to trim

I didn’t buy any, of course; mid-November is too early for Christmas decorating, especially indoors with fresh evergreen accents that aren’t going to be in any water.

But Sunday was Santa Claus parade day, and not a bad day at that, and I got in a rare mood to make a fresh swag for the back gate and door.

Then I got it in my head that it was also the first Sunday in Advent and decided to resurrect our family custom of making an Advent wreath for the dining room table.

I used to do them with fresh fir or pine sprigs and I seem to remember that they lasted until Christmas.

I knew I could go to Daughter’s and cut all the pine and fir boughs I wanted, but I also know myself well enough to try to strike while the spirit moves me.

So, off I went to buy a couple of bunches of greenery.

I guess I am really behind the times in more ways than one, because I tried two stores and there was nothing left but a few wreaths and planters.

I guess I’ll just cut a few boughs on my next trip to her house and hope that the spirit that moved me will come back again.

Refusing to be totally stymied, I made my Advent wreath with silk poinsettias, only to realize when I checked the calendar that Advent doesn’t start until this Sunday. In other words, when I do get some spirit, it is slightly confused.

(When you have young children, lighting an Advent candle on each of the four Sunday afternoons before Christmas, with some cookies and eggnog, is a wonderful way to slow everything down for a couple of hours and have some quality family time that doesn’t revolve around Santa.)

Gardening gifts

Speaking of Santa, around about now, gardening columnists are supposed to give advice on gifts for the gardener on your list.

The problem is that so many of the things we’d like to have for the garden (like a soil sifter, ahem) aren’t available at this time of the year.

This is one time when a gift certificate from a nursery can’t be construed (or misconstrued) as having little thought.

I think it takes a lot of thought to plan ahead for something out of season.

And then there are always gardening books and magazine subscriptions, especially if they have new design ideas or labour-saving tips.

For new gardeners, there’s now a “Gardening for Dummies,” which I have to say I do not recommend because there is no excuse for a book about gardening to be boring no matter how informative it’s trying to be.  

An idea that came to my attention this week — and I thought particularly good for “the person who has everything” — is to give an early Christmas present of a fresh wreath that will bring pleasure well before Christmas Day and help support a good cause.

Linda Ryan in Mount Pearl forwarded me this information:

When you order a fresh holiday wreath by The Wreath Maker this Christmas season through Pink Days In Bloom, a portion of your purchase will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation — Atlantic Region.

These decorated wreaths come in various sizes with a tag to let the recipient know that your gift is helping to fund innovative breast cancer research and programs.

Wreaths will be available after Nov. 30.

To place an individual or corporate order, email  

Or, you can simply contact

The Wreath Maker directly at; Phone: 368-3944.

Please be sure to mention Pink Days In Bloom when you order your Christmas Wreath for the Cure!

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. Her latest book, “Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts,” was published in October 2010 by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. You can reach her at Note to readers: please do not send thumbnail-size photographs, as they are too small to publish.

Organizations: The Wreath Maker, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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