This Week in Retirement

We are already getting a lot of snow here in our part of the Pacific Northwest. But that is OK because Thanksgiving is over and you know what that means? Full on Christmas! I adore fall. It is probably my favorite season, so I don’t want to rush it. Therefore, I never put up Christmas decorations or play Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, despite what the stores do.

This week in retirement, we are making Christmas wreaths at our house. They are quite easy, albeit messy, to make. My husband, Mr. U (as his students often called him), taught his agriculture students how to do this years ago. (A LOT of years ago, but who is counting?) They learned how to make wreaths and then sold them to the community to raise money for their FFA chapter. The students learned a skill, as well as how to run a business. And in the process, I learned how to make wreaths as well.

Making Christmas Wreaths in 5 Easy Steps

You will need the following supplies:

  • fresh branches
  • a wreath ring
  • garden trimmers
  • green wire
  • wire cutters
  • decorations: pinecones, holly, Christmas bulbs, a bow, or whatever sounds fun and interesting

Start by picking a lovely sunny winter day to gather copious amounts of tree branches. Fortunately, we have a lot of fir and cedar trees to choose from here in the PNW. (However, in the fall I really wish we had more colorful deciduous trees like they have on the East Coast.)

Cutting Cedar Tree Branches. They had some wonderful little pinecones on them.
Mr. U cutting branches. Gotta love that clean coat.

Once inside where it is warm, decide on a room where you don’t mind a big mess. We use Mr. U’s wood shop. Make some hot spiced wine and get the Christmas music going. Oh yes, back to making wreaths. Trim the branches to about 8-10 inches long and set them aside. If we had holly in our area, we would definitely use that too.

Trimming the tops of the branches.

To start the wreath, wrap the wire around the metal ring several times to hold it in place. Keep the wire on the spool and just continue to unwind it as you go. Gather 5-6 of the branches together. Lay them on the ring and wrap the wire around them a couple times to secure them to the ring. Continue this process, slightly layering one small group of branches over the other until you are all the way around the ring.

Securing groups of branches to the ring.

Once you have layered the branches all the way around the ring, wrap the wire several times to secure it and cut it off. Hang the wreath up and step back to look. Trim the wild branches to get it a little more uniform. Advice from Mr. U – do not over trim because you want it to look natural. Sigh – once a teacher, always a teacher.

Next is the fun part. Wire in the decorations, such as pinecones, Christmas bulbs, a bow, or whatever. Get creative.

Add the decorations.

Now that your hands are dirty and dry, and the spiced wine is gone, hang your wreath on the door and enjoy your efforts. While you are at it, be sure to make an extra wreath or two to give away.

Finished wreath on the door.

What are you creating this Christmas season?

4 comments on “This Week in Retirement

    1. Hi Sue – Holly would be a great addition. We should get together and have a wreath making party!

  1. Merry Christmas Marion! Greetings from Massachusetts.

    Your blog is lovely! I’m posting in making cuz I’ve been working on Christmas stockings; incorporating my 6 mos old grandson. It’s a rather eclectic mix (I was going to say ‘motley’), starting with my son Adam’s which I made when he was about 8. Then last year I added one for his wife McKinley and their daughter Everly. It’s a somewhat hilarious endeavor given my mediocre (and that is being gracious) sewing skills.

    I wanted to post a photo but can’t see how to do it?

    1. Hi Sue – Good to hear from you! I am so glad you found your way to my blog and took the time to comment. Yep, you never know when a homemade gift will turn into a tradition that you have to keep making, and making, and making. I would love to see a picture of your stockings but apparently that cannot be done in the comments section with WordPress. (I had to Google that. Technology with the blog has been a huge learning curve for me.) I hope you are enjoying your move and being closer to family. Merry Christmas!

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