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Article: HOLIDAY FORAGING | Outside Cheer



The twinkly lights, the carols, the holiday cheer, everything seems just a little more joyful, this time of year. The thing to avoid, and avoid it you can, is putting harmful and wasteful presents in hands. The thingers and gadgets, and do-dads galore, of plastics and synthetics that will last evermore! Turn to nature we say, with a wink and a grin, for we all know the best stuff, is found deep within.

There can be so much pressure with giving and gifting, decorating, baking, generally making the whole holiday season a big extravaganza. We say to heck with the pressure, and just enjoy the parts that you want to! For us, that is getting into the spirit with decor making using natural materials. Purchasing plastic decor, that you may use only once, perpetuates the annual increase in environmental impacts that come from seasonal consuming. We cringe when we think of the yards of crinkly tinsel and foil banners that get tossed at the end of the season. Why buy a mass-produced plastic wreath or garland when you can make a beautiful original using items from your backyard? And once the season is over, you can toss the greens on the compost pile and save the reuseable frame for next year! You will be happy to have less clutter, and the Earth will be happy with less seasonal trash. 

Deep in the forest, where the sycamores lie, there are pinecones and needles and leaves to be plucked. Supplies you'll want on hand: good walking shoes, hand shears, a basket, and a keen eye. Pick an already established trail and start searching!

Invite a friend to go with you and make a day of it. We can always use another reason to get outside and get moving in the colder months of the year. Pack a thermos full of a hot wintery beverage and a couple of enamel mugs to warm your hands on whilst you scour the woods for your favourite flora.

We are blessed in the Pacific Northwest with lush and varied forests. Grabbing branches from multiple kinds of trees will give your wreaths and decor depth. Evergreen comes in many shades, the needles varying in length, density, and shape. Seek out bushy pine, Douglas fir, dense balsam, and fragrant cedar. Dark holly and smooth salal leaves will both keep their colour long after they are pruned and add texture. If you can score some holly with bright red berries, even better!

Wreaths are a lot of fun, but not the only thing you can create with your collected abundance. You can make ornaments, garlands, table runners. It's amazing what you can pull together with a little twine, wire, and greenery. Pop a few pinecones and holly berries in there, maybe even some fairy lights, to give everything a festive glow. You will feel so accomplished doing everything yourself!

Working on these items as a family or with friends is a great holiday tradition to instate. It gets you outside, gets you creative. You never know, it may evolve into making your own wrapping paper with re-useable rubber stamps, learning new recipes, making your own cards. All fun ways to spend quality time with loved ones.

Not only are you working together, but you are creating a learning opportunity. You can make it a goal to look up the names of any trees or plants you can't identify. You are also leading by example by having a lower impact holiday season. Spread the message and spread the cheer! 

 Happy foraging! Send us pictures of your homemade creations! 

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