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Liven up a tabletop this holiday season with a bowl filled with mini Christmas baubles, pine cones, and bells.
Decorating for the holidays
By Sue Jacobson
From eNews, December 6, 2007
For several hundred years Americans have been developing their own style of holiday decorating. Our melting pot of cultures has led to the development of the decorations we use today. Evergreens have been the most important greens for decorating since the late 1800s. Holly was very popular for wreaths in the 1920s and has remained an important Christmas green.
Poinsettias became important in the 1940s and by the '60s newer varieties were being developed that held their colorful leaves longer, and new colors were developed. Today poinsettias are available in red, pink, white, purple, and salmon, as well as speckled and other uniquely colored leaves. Painted poinsettias are plants that have been painted with an alcohol-based paint. They can be any color you can imagine, as well as blended shades, metallic, and glitter.
Decorating for the holidays should be as individual as each family. Feel free to decorate the way you like, rather than based on what you see in the stores or other houses. Let your decorations be an extension of your own personality and heritage. Start your own family traditions.
Here are some suggestions for fun, safe decorating:
- When using fresh greens, replace them if they get dry and brittle. Dry greens can be a fire hazard.
- If you have a fresh Christmas tree, be sure to keep it watered. The first watering should be done immediately after the stem has been trimmed. Use hot water for better uptake by the tree.
- Light strings can be plugged together to make lighting the tree more convenient. Check the instructions to be sure you are not connecting too many strings together. You may blow fuses on the strings or start a fire by ignoring the warnings.
- When lighting candles, do not leave them unattended. Candles cause many fires each year.
UMC Horticulture Team places second in Mid-America competition
Despite being the smallest horticulture program in the competition, the University of Minnesota, Crookston still managed to grab second place--out of 13 schools--in the Mid-America Collegiate Horticulture Society competition in Wisconsin last month.
Participants had to take a written horticulture exam in addition to judging various types of horticulture crops and identifying both herbaceous and woody plants. Kaarina Visness, Scott Hoffman, Kathryn Stangler, and Jennifer Zoch made up the UMC team. (Visness took third overall in the individual category. Horticulture instructor Sue Jacobson served as adviser.)
To learn more about the horticulture degree program on the Crookston campus, see UMC horticulture program.
- Incorporate fruits into your table decorations. Apples, pears, oranges, pomegranates, and grapes all work beautifully into an arrangement of evergreens and a few pine cones.
- An arrangement of evergreens and cones on floral foam in a container filled with water will stay fresh throughout the holidays. Use tree ornaments to add some color, and you can always stick in a few fresh flowers just before entertaining.
- Artificial evergreens can be used in place of fresh ones, but remember that they can be a fire hazard if used with candles.
- When setting your table for holiday meals, add color by layering your linens. A solid-color tablecloth can be a wonderful background for placemats, runners, and napkins that are more colorful or with patterns.
Sue Jacobson is a horticulture instructor at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.