Christmas Holidays in Appalachia

Easy Ways To Use Pine At Christmas

Yesterday when we were talking about greening for Christmas Stacey ask for some tips on using the pine that is plentiful at her house.

Around my area of Appalachia we have an abundance of White Pines and Jack Pines. White Pines are generally easier to work with-mostly cause it’s easy to find small ones without leaving my yard.

Some years I cut hand size pieces of white pine and lay/stick them around my other decorations or I cut several larger ones and stick them in a Christmas vase or pitcher.

I learned a very easy way to make a Christmas garland-long or short at the Folk School’s Greening. Nanette showed me how to make small bundles of different evergreens.

Secure your bundles. Florist wire works really good-but I used what I had which was a very small gage wire.

Next-get a small size rope or other sturdy string/twine and cut it to the size of garland you want to make. Lay a bundle down on one end of the rope-and attach it securely to the rope with florist wire or in my case-more of what I had on hand. Lay the next bundle on top of the first, but scoot it down the length of the rope a little ways letting it hide the attachment of the first bundle.

Keep working your way down the length of the rope, adding bundles until you reach the end. At the folk school I was in charge of attaching the bundles and I was terrified when we picked up the long garland to put it along the staircase the pieces would all fall out, but as long as you secure each bundle tightly to the rope they stay. You can see the back side of my small little garland…

and see how it looks on my kitchen door not bad for free. It was fun to go out into the yard and gather the greenery and it only took about 15 minutes to make.

Emily left a tip on the Greening post:

a potato makes a great weight and an easy holder for all the greenery you can find in the mountains, from pine, fir, holly and candles can be added.  We decorated the church and our home like this in the 50’s & 60’s when God’s creation was the only available source.  The potato will last 2 – 3 weeks, along with the greenery.  Have fun and be creative.

Pine can be sticky-so take that into account. Even if you only have time to stick a few pine branches in a vase or pitcher the smell makes the whole house feel more Christmasy.



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  • Reply
    December 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Great ideas from you and Emily!
    And I think it looks beautiful on your kitchen door.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Thanks for the great tips. There’s so much pine in Cyprus. Now I can use some of your ideas for Christmas. I love your garland!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Mamabug-Youjust stick the ends of the branches in the potato-kinda like using a piece of florist foam.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
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  • Reply
    December 11, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Your garland is beautiful, and I’d have never guessed it’s that simple to make! Thanks for the info, I may just try this myself! It sounds as though we’re likely to be snowed in this weekend and this would make a great project!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Thanks for sharing this idea. We sure have alot of pine around here.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    December 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Tipper, Thanks for the info on how to make the garland using fine wire and a rope. I will find a way to do this. It will make up for not having a “real” tree.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Your idea makes me want to go out and find some pine right away to enjoy the smell. So pretty too.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Tipper–Fine stuff. I’ll add a few thoughts which reflect Christmas dealings with items from nature.
    *The joys of shooting misteltoe out of trees with a .22.
    *Gathering various types of conifer cones to make cone wreathes.
    *Gathering galax (once sold to city markets by mountain folks) for decorations.
    *Looking for she hollies (as opposed to berryless he hollies) from the onset of rabbit season until decorating time in December.
    *Doing the same in a search for the perfect Virginia pine tree (none of this nursery-raised stuff).
    *Using inedible parts of deer and wild turkeys for decoration. For example, you can frame a lovely table centerpiece around antlers or atop two turkey fans placed end-to-end to make a complete circle.
    *Making wreathes from what nature provided in the way of things like wasp nests, bird nests, milkweed pods, small deer sheds, etc.
    *Using a limb from a honey locust to make a “thorn tree” with a colorful gum drop on every thorn.
    All of the above is a hint of what my next column in the Tuckasegee Reader will cover–“A Natural Christmas.”
    I love decorations from nature, although sadly those featuring hemlock seem likely to belong to a world we have lost before too long.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for the idea. It’s nice to be able to use free resources in the area.
    Great pics!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Those are some great ideas. I have a friend with a very large Rosemary bush. It’s a very pretty green bush similar to a pine. I bet they could be added to a wreath or garland and really make the house smell good

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thats a great looking ornament you
    have hanging on your kitchen door.
    The holly and berries really set it off. Bet you wore gloves to fix
    in the white pine. I cut oodles of
    those holly bushes away from my
    sister-in-law’s fence recently, so
    I have some experience with those stickers. I love the smell of pine
    in the wintertime…Ken

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    December 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Neat idea Tipper … thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I might have to try that garland. We have three holly trees and a pine in our yard, this would be a good time to give them a trimming.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Fresh greenery is wonderful! a good reason to not rush the season or at least have lots of back up greenery to replenish the indoor and over-heated cuttings. I love to put greens in vases so that they last a good long time. But spread here and there is too irresistible. I loved the picture of the lemon in your other post.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Country ingenuity, ain’t it a wonderful thing.
    Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Love the potato idea! Also, I think I see a home made door wreath in my future 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 10, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Interesting, I may try my had at a swag.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Thanks Tipper for showing us how to put a garland together. However the tip about the potato threw me completely. How do you use the potato? I’m gonna try to make a garland to use at the front door this weekend. Hugs!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

    what a super idea, it is beautiful and i love the smell of pine. our pines are really tall and hard to reach, but might give it a try. the potato thing makes sense, good tip

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