by Cait Johnson, author with Maura Shaw of Celebrating the Great Mother
Inner Traditions, 1995
To help get us in a festive mood for the holiday feast, we’ve come up
with a dozen easy, fun decorating ideas, using only the abundant gifts
Simple, non-toxic and absolutely gorgeous, these bountiful, beautiful
ideas are sure to please:
Centerpieces: Pumpkins and other winter squashes, Native American corn,
acorns, nuts, grapes, pears, pomegranates, and apples overflowing from a
wicker cornucopia or heaped in a wooden bowl look abundant and beautiful
in the center of your festal table.
Leaf coasters: Autumn leaves make great coasters to protect your
furniture from rings and stains. Oak leaves are especially tough,
leathery, and durable.
Natural napkin rings:Tie napkins with raffia and tuck in a pretty fallen
leaf and an acorn, or a cinnamon stick or two. Guests can add their
cinnamon to a pot of hot cider to sip on, later.
Simple arrangements: There is a beautiful Zen simplicity in a perfect
branch bearing colored leaves set into an earthen vase. Sometimes that’s
all you need for a seasonal and dramatic focal point.
Pumpkin vase: Hollow out a pumpkin and place a cup inside to hold fresh
or dried flowers.
Pomanders: Start making them now so they’ll be ready in time for
Yuletide gift-giving, tree-decorating, and home-scenting:
Using a darning needle, poke holes in lemons or small oranges,
tangerines, or apples and insert a clove in each hole. Place the
clove-studded fruits in a shallow baking dish filled with a mixture of
ground cinnamon and cloves, turning occasionally, until the fruits have
dried and hardened ( it speeds things along if you place them on top of
a radiator or refrigerator. Plus it will make your home smell heavenly!)
When they are “cured”, dust them off, tie a pretty ribbon around them
if you like, and give as gifts, hang on the branches of your tree, or
place them in a bowl at pulse points in your home.
Grapevine: Gather grapevines and twist them into garlands or wreaths for
table, mantelpiece, doorway, or stairs. Add leaves and berries, if you
Multiple fruits: Miniature pumpkins, apples, pomegranates, or pears
looks charming placed in a row on a bookshelf or mantel, or marching up
Leaf garlands: Stitch leaves together with heavy thread or tie bunches
together and wire them into a garland.
Fruit slices: Slice apples crosswise, thinly, and allow to dry in a warm
oven or on top of the radiator. Add to grapevine or leaf garlands.
Decorated votive holders: Glue or tie the following around the outside
of your glass votive candle holders: dried apple slices, cinnamon
sticks, cornhusks, autumn leaves.
Decorated tapers: Place tapers in shallow bowls filled with
beautifully- colored Native American corn, or place a ring of acorns
around them, or set them into hollowed miniature pumpkins or apples.
Festive lamps and lights: Glue a pretty leaf to a nightlight cover, or
add autumn leaves to a lampshade.
Native Corn: Thread the kernels of Native American corn to make pretty
jewel-like strings to hang in a doorway or place around a lampshade.
Copyright: By Cait Johnson, author with Maura Shaw of Celebrating the