New Traditions

My family lives on some acreage in the country. We have room to explore and often find treasures from nature that get added to our home decor. 

We pass impressive stands of holly with limbs full of red berries. Some varieties keep the leaves and other varieties do not, leaving the berries to stand out from the ash colored limbs. For years I’ve wanted to cut some to decorate the mantle, but hub says the berries may be poisonous to our pets. Fair enough.

This year a lightbulb went off.   I’ve never decorated at the entry gate and I had an unused wire wreath form. Perfect! We could make a wreath for the gate.

Sunday was a beautiful day so I gathered my supplies: clippers, yarn, wreath form and took a little hike through the woods. I wanted the holly that was mainly berries and branches, but had not seen any on our property. As I hiked I found an old stone artifact that Indians would use to straighten arrow shafts! Jackpot! I always scan the ground as I walk because we find petrified wood and fossils, sometimes arrowheads too. 

After my celebration, the holly I wanted appeared only 200 yards further.  I started by weaving the limb cuttings into the wreath form. Then I clipped some of the evergreen variety to fill it in and make it even.

Here it is hanging on the gate in the late afternoon. I’m excited to add making the holiday wreath to our little list of traditions.

When I got home, the kids (who did not want to help make the wreath) reminded me of another tradition. We hadn’t hung any mistletoe! Last year we were able to reach a good bunch on our elm tree in the front yard. (Sadly, we had to cut the elm down this spring as it was at the end of its life cycle and risked falling in the house.) We needed to go exploring to try and find some mistletoe elsewhere. The oak trees near the house had some mistletoe, but no berries. So we hiked through a cut to reach the woods on the hill. No mistletoe back there at all. The kids gave up and started climbing the oldest oaks on the hillside. I ambled about and found a deer antler shed. Then we headed back towards the house, kids first and myself lagging behind to make sure the cats followed.

Halfway back to the house the perfect mistletoe, complete with berries, hung on a limb just within my reach. Hooray! Now it is hanging above our front door.


And of course, another tradition we have is that I make the kids something for Christmas. This year it was cotton jersey buffalo plaid pj pants. I’m sure these will never get hemmed because my kids are too eager to wear them. 

My son also requested a new stocking from “the digital camo” and the same soft lining as the old (2-3 year old regular camo) stocking.

He’s happy. I love the way he’s making our family traditions at Christmastime. We even put up stockings for all of the pets (all 11 cats, 4 dogs, the hamster & the elf.)

Do you have any holiday traditions that involve foraging?


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