Make Homemade Christmas Gifts From Your Garden

Make homemade Christmas gifts from your garden. How to save money and perpetuate natural gift-giving, includes instructions on how to make maize decorations, dried-flower straw hats, dried wreaths and garlic braids.

| September/October 1988

How to save money and perpetuate natural gift-giving by making homemade Christmas gifts from your garden. Includes instructions for maize decorations, dried-flower straw hats, dried wreaths and garlic braiding by the numbers. (See the garlic braiding illustrations in the image gallery.)

Make Homemade Christmas Gifts From Your Garden

THE SURPRISING NIP OF a morning chill, the first fallen leaves and yellowed vines, the subtle shortening of evening light-all are phrases in nature's announcement of the end of the season. While harvesting still-thriving tomatoes and bouquets, the home grower heeds the message—knows that fresh flowers and fruits will soon be things of the past and yearns to save a few mementos of garden life to warm the long winter months ahead.

It can be done. Simple yet striking garlic braids...decorative wreaths bursting with colorful dried flowers...harvest-symbol corn hangings...and straw hats gaily decked with blooms are four souvenirs of summer that you can put together easily at home. These craft creations can brighten your winter hearth or be given away as presents. (They can also be sold to bring in a little extra pre-holiday income.) And you can gather virtually all the materials you need from your own garden or by foraging from nearby fields or lots to make your homemade Christmas gifts.

Olivia Abel and Susan Sides, MOTHER's gardeners past and present, have made these growers' gifts every fall for years. With their help, and that of Kathy Askew (a local craftswoman whose dried flower wreaths are shown in the photograph), we'll share the secrets that will make your own garden as "giftworthy" as theirs.

Maize Decorations  

Hung at the doorway or inside the home, ornamental dried corn clusters are signs of harvest fertility—preserved tributes to the fields and garden. The traditional ornaments bespeak a household grateful for nature's bounty.

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