Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Crafts at Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights is in full swing at the Garden, and it really is a fun event-- for guests as well as staff. I enjoy walking through the Garden and overhearing the appreciative comments and exclamations from visitors as they enjoy a lovely evening with family and friends. Beautiful lights, great music and entertainment, tasty hot chocolate, and jolly old Saint Nick himself... and much more-- it's all here!

There is one little corner of the Garden where I spend a lot of time, and that is the Christmas Crafts table in the Visitor Pavilion. We provide a nature-based holiday craft each night, which changes from week to week. So far, we have made Christmas Mice from pinecones, Nature Baskets that can be displayed on a table or hung on the tree as an ornament, and Nature Bags (sachets) that will fragrance a room. Still to come-- Pomanders and Glittered Pinecones.

The Nature Baskets and Nature Bags, in particular, would be easy to do at home as well. Take a few minutes to go outside with your kids and look around. Collect small treasures that you find-- a few small pinecones, sweetgum balls, a bit of moss, an interesting pod... all of these can become unique treasures in the eyes of a child. Back inside, take a small basket (app. 2-4 inches wide) and work together to arrange the treasures in the basket. Add a dash of color and sparkle, if you wish, by tucking in a small ornament or a bit of ribbon, and you're done! Set the basket on a table, or hang it on the tree. A larger basket can become a centerpiece or mantel decor.

Nature Bags (an updated and kid-friendly name for a sachet) are also easy. You can search outside for nature treasures, as described above, and tuck them in a small muslin bag or wrap them up hobo-style in a scrap of fabric and tie closed with a ribbon. At the Garden we use muslin tea bags, which are perfectly sized for a small sachet, and add fragrance with a few drops of essential oils that can be purchased at any craft store. We make use of cones, pods, and bits of greenery collected from around the Garden, and add ingredients like lavendar, cinnamon chips, allspice berries, cloves, and rose petals. The bowls filled with all the different ingredients are beautiful, and showcase the diversity of textures, colors, and fragrances from nature.

Though sachets are an old-fashioned craft, kids love making them and enjoy sorting through all the different ingredients to create just the right mix for their very own creation. Adults love making them, too. The craft corner is open to anyone who wants to participate. From the youngest toddler working with help from their parents to the most experienced senior, everyone has a small memento of their evening at the Garden to take with them that they made themselves. What a treat!

All in all, nature crafts are perfect for the holidays. Take a few minutes with your family to go outside and gather some treasures from your yard. Or, if you're in the area, come visit the Garden and enjoy making a nature-based Christmas Craft together and have a lovely evening of Holiday Lights with your family and friends. See you here!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent job with Lights at the Garden this year. I brought my extended family and friends on opening night and they were captivated by sights and the brass quintet on opening night. Now they have decided to make this a part of their holiday tradition as well.