The Twinkle in Christmas
In many homes, Christmas is the only time families bring the garden inside. What with your Christmas tree, a wreath, poinsettia and maybe a swag or two, the place starts to look like a regular greenhouse. So as the season gets started perhaps it’s time for a refresher course in Christmas 101. Running around and getting all this stuff is one thing, keeping alive until January 1st, 2006 is quite another. And if your holiday spirit is flagging, I’ve got some recommendations to get your home twinkling without the headaches.
Let’s start with the tree. The most important aspect of an indoor Christmas tree is how much water is available to the trunk. No use lighting and decorating if the needles are going to dry out and fall off within two weeks. The reason for this is simple: The tree stands many people buy (with the little pedestals and a saucer of water in the center) are just not big enough. Trees will drink GALLONS of water the first few days they’re stuck inside. It needs a bucket of water refilled regularly, if not daily. Another helpful tip to keep your tree fresh is to re-cut and inch or so off the bottom of the trunk just before you bring it inside and plunge it into the water. (One more note here, trees are supposed to be less expensive this year. Ho, Ho, Ho. Demand has fallen because the East Coasters are using more artificial trees. That means there’s more supply than demand and the last five years of climbing prices are leveling off. Thank you, Santa.)
Alright, back to holiday headaches. People have trouble keeping poinsettia’s looking good too. Four shriveling leaves on the top of a bare stem do not a poinsettia make. And this can happen overnight, if you make the most common mistakes. There are a couple of things to remember with poinsettias. They don’t like hot or cold drafts; keep them away from outside doors and fireplaces. Display the flowers there, but move them elsewhere when you light the fireplace. As for poinsettias watering needs? These plants do better if watered in the sink. Take the plant out of the foil which covers the plastic pot and let the water run completely through the pot. Water again when the soil is no longer damp to the touch. That covers the two main problems I see while making my holiday rounds, well, that is, after I take off my white glove to check for dust at holiday parties! NOT.
Now, since the holidays are all about fantasy, let’s indulge ourselves for just a moment shall we? I’m dreaming…. (as the song goes) of a “labor free” Christmas. Since this really isn’t possible with my personality, perhaps some of you will be able to hire the services I’m dreaming about. Forget the sugar plums dancing on air, how about having someone else put up your lights? Deliver your tree and get it standing straight as an arrow? Oh yeah, baby. Sign me up. Have you ever wondered how much that all costs? R. Blooms in Lake Oswego charges $45 dollars an hour to trim your tree. Lights with ornaments would take 3 people about 4 hours. Roughly $540 and call it done. Lights alone would likely take half that amount of time and trouble, depending on your tree.
You can get “instant wonderful” as Lynn Snodgrass of Drakes 7 Dees calls their Christmas Décor program. General Tree Service also carries this timesaver. And you will never touch a light bulb again. Workers will come out to your house, put up the lights, change faulty light bulbs during the season, take the lights down and store them for you until next year. How’s that sound? The average price of that kind of help is about $1,100 dollars. You choose what you want done, but it usually includes lights on the front gutters, roofline, perhaps some trees or shrubs. “Watt” ever you desire!
Finally, one Christmas shortcut I can’t live without now and its free. No more tying the tree to the top of the car or wedging it inside, only to struggle to get the tree into the stand and straight. Buy a tree from Garden Corner and they’ll deliver it wrapped in plastic, on a stand and get it ram-rod straight before they leave. Because the tree comes in plastic, the needles don’t fly everywhere and a large plastic plate under the tree stand protects your carpet or floor from water damage. Trees start at $60 and drivers will deliver from Gresham to Salem.
Until we meet again, my real Christmas wish for you? I hope you get a chance to feel the unmitigated joy of sharing, however big or small.