Appalachia Christmas

How To Make A Christmas Kissing Ball

Christmas Kissing Ball

It was back in December of 2010 that B.Ruth sent me the follow email:

I use pine, cedar, magnolia, balsam, etc. for making door decorations, etc.¬†Last Christmas I made a potato bough for a hostess gift. Just wrap a piece of wire around a large potato with a loop for hanging..sharpen the ends of your greenery, I added a few sprigs of mistletoe and holly, poke them in the potato filling in bare spots, attach a bow…and you have it. The potato keeps the greens fresh through the holidays. It was a great success with the hostess…except all the gals there wanted me to make them one…LOL

My Dad and Mom said when they were children in NC that ground pine/cedar was used to make most greenery for the home as well as other natural pine, balsam and fir.

How to make christmas greenery for free

Ever since I read the email I’ve wanted to try out B.Ruth’s directions for making a Christmas Bough to hang in my home-last week I finally made one.

I used a small potato-because I knew I didn’t have much time and thought that might make the process go a little faster. I wrapped wire around the potato forming a hanger as B.Ruth directed and then I set about putting holes in it with a metal skewer.

Making christmas greenery from the yard

I cut a few branches of white pine and a few branches of what we call jack pine-not sure that is it’s real name-but they grow abundantly around our house. Mostly I used the pile of spruce trimmings The Deer Hunter cut off our Christmas tree when he was putting it up.

Once I had several pieces stuck in the potato I started making the holes just before I inserted the next piece of greenery.

Unique christmas decorations made at home

At about this point in the project I was getting a little bit worried. I thought this ain’t nothing but a mess! I felt like I was making a crazy haired potato head…but I knew B.Ruth doesn’t fool around when it comes to creating so I persevered.

Making a christmas ball from things around the house

Once I had the potato covered I knew it was going to be the perfect Christmas Kissing Ball. I had a red ribbon that came with a pair of pajamas the girls got at The Pressley’s Christmas Dinner. I looped the ribbon through the metal hanger B.Ruth instructed me to make-so smart to make it first! I would have tried adding it at the end and been in a real mess.

I decided the ball needed a little more color. I rummaged around in my stuff and found the fake spray of sparkly raspberries. I stuck them in the metal hanger and gave it a twist to secure.

I was so pleased with how the Christmas decoration turned out. I especially loved using things I already had-potato, greenery from the bank and the Christmas tree, wire, the stick of berries, and the ribbon I saved from the pajamas.

Thanks B.Ruth!


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  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    This is a wonderful idea, and I thank you and B. Ruth for sharing it! I’m hoping to find the time and energy to take Piper for a ramble in the woods tomorrow, and will bring along a sack and pruning shears.
    I think the idea of using a potato to help keep the greens fresh is just brilliant! And I would not have thought to add a hanger until the very end, so thanks for putting in such good pictures of your work-in-progress, Tipper!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Tipper and
    Jim…Just put those Galax leaves (which don’t need the moisture like the other greenery) on a toothpick or flower pick with thread or fine wire, (flower picks have there own wire) and then poke it in the tater. I have used softer stems from my yard shrubs and do them that way…works out fine!
    Dolores…As far as lasting and not rotting. Well, mine always last in the house over a doorway until Jan. when I take down my tree. I have never had one rot! I always use a fresh, clean potato with no blemishes. It might dry a little bit but that just holds the stems tighter. That is the purpose of the potato, to supply moisture to the greenery!
    I don’t hang it over a heater or stove, it might cook, bake or soften….yummmm! For then you would have to share the “unique recipe” for a greenery baked potato! Just kiddin’!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Hope this little bit helps!

  • Reply
    Iona Whitehouse
    December 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    What we call jack pine is any subspecies of Pinaceae family that is long and limbless enough to be cut into good pulp wood. The tree you refer to isn’t very tall and tapers drastically from stump to top. The grain is often twisted and very knotty. The tree bleeds copious amounts of sap when cut. Usually they are cut and left to rot so that hopefully a better species could grow back there. They don’t even make a good brush pile as their limbs are twisted and tangled and do not compact as other species do. You pile it up much over head high and suddenly it rolls over on you. Or you get what you think in a good sturdy pile and come back the next morning to find it blocking the road.
    I don’t know the scientific name for them but I think the most common name is Virginia Scrub. Folks used to call them a racial slur pine.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I’m just amazed at the talents on
    here, especially at Christmastime.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for sharing the potato base idea!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I love this idea. Too late for me to try this year, but I just wonder if one could use that potato and some ideas to make decorations for another holiday. I still cannot imagine how you get so much done, Tipper. Perhaps with all that wonderful forsythia that is so abundant in the warm season.

  • Reply
    Teresa Atkinson
    December 19, 2014 at 10:13 am

    love it – I would have never considered a potato as the base, but that is perfect. Merry Christmas from the Crusty Old Guy and the Redhead

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Christmas kisses are good! The little flaxen-haired girl and I will be making one of these this afternoon.
    Tucking in some whole cloves and hot gluing cinnamon stix for fragrance is the plan. May get fancy and use some whipped Ivory Snow & glitter to create a frosty look, as gold and white is our Christmas color scheme. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I really liked what you did. It is very pretty. I am keeping the directions so I can try to make one of these. It is a very creative way to use natural resources. How long does the potato last before it begins to rot? Outside placement is probably good as the cold will keep it fresh for a while.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 9:41 am


  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    December 19, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Tipper: YOUR ‘KISSING BALL’ IS BEAUTIFUL! Now I will get more inspired to finish the decoration in and OUT of our house!
    Hope your holiday season is just perfect!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    December 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

    You always inspire me! I’m going to make one today. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    December 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Your Kissing Bough is just beautiful! I love the the beautiful fragrant greenery with the sparkling red berries and red ribbon. What a lovely decoration!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 19, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Tipper–That’s really nice. One plant which would be a nice addition, and it combines green and various hues of red, is galax leaves. However, I don’t know how you would get their limber stems to stick in the potato.s
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Somehow I’d missed this post the first time around, so I’m glad you put it back up.
    As a general rule, I am about as far removed from artsy as a body can get. But something about getting out and collecting, then assembling materials donated by the Master Artist is pure pleasure.
    Thanks, Tipper and B. Ruth.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

    That’s lovely Tipper, and I love that it is made of things you already had around the house.
    Also thanks to B Ruth for the idea!

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    December 19, 2014 at 7:18 am

    That is really pretty and I love the idea of using the potato for the base! I always pondered how you could keep greenery more fresh for clever! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 19, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Your Kissing Bough is just beautiful! You did a wonderful job and the red from the raspberries add just the right touch of color. I got lucky one year and happen to have some holly from a friend with a few red berries on it. Like you most times I dig out a plastic pick of red berries I have saved from a gift wrapped package! I can’t bear to throw those pieces away. Mom always said waste not, want not!
    I have never made one using all mistletoe. I think just sticking in sprigs among the other greenery works best. Besides it’s fun when someone stands under it not realizing there is mistletoe in the bough and a savvy person gets to give them a surprise kiss!
    Thanks Tipper,

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