Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Kelly Heidbreder

Williamsburg inspires festive decorations

Some of the most traditional Christmas decorations can be found in a grocery store's produce section. The colonial Williamsburg, Va., Christmas includes apples, nuts, berries, and pineapple. To get a little holiday inspiration - Williamsburg-style - just stop by the visitors center at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Mich.

Students from the Lenawee County Vo-Tech Center decorate the main areas of the gardens. "The class has decorated our grounds for many years. It is a tradition," says Karen Gentry, education coordinator for Hidden Lake Gardens. "They make all the wreaths for the conservatory, drape swags of garland in the visitors area, and the students decorate one big tree that everyone sees right when they come in."

The Williamsburg style is so popular, there is a Web site devoted to Christmas in the historic area ( Decorating with fruit didn't start in Williamsburg, but it was popularized there. When you go to a grocery store, take your cart slowly through the produce aisle and pick up a few extra red and yellow apples for a half-moon swag above your front door. Pick up two fresh pineapples - one to cut up for breakfast and the other as a focal point for your entry table centerpiece.


Lenawee County Vo-Tech Center instructor Pam Meinke discusses Williamsburgstyle holiday decorations with Courtnie Chappel.


You might need to visit a hobby store to find red pomegranates, other dried pods, and a few colorful feathers. Lemons, limes, oranges, and artichokes are just a few ingredients to give you inspiration. Nut shells, wheat sheaths, and dried flowers like bright yellow yarrow, fragrant lavender, and straw flowers also add to the celebration of abundance and generosity in the Williamsburg theme. They also make a great accent for your fruitful creation.

A florist may have fresh winter greens to complement your fruit. Fragrant cedar, boxwood, and glossy leaves such as those of magnolia and holly will make the colorful fruit shine.

Turn your ring of holiday greens into a colonial Williamsburg masterpiece. Williamsburg wreaths are usually symmetrical. Alternate red and green apples around the wreath with a natural raffia bow. Get a little fancy and add some pineapple to the hostess gift you take to your company Christmas party. Start with a holiday basket, lined with plastic. Securely tape a wet block of floral foam in the center.

Getting a big bulky bunch of apples to stay on a holiday wreath can be tricky. Look for heavy-duty green floral picks at a craft store. Stick three picks into the bottom of a pineapple, then push the pineapple into the floral foam. The picks will keep the fruit in place. Medium-weight wire will also hold it tight. Tuck some winter greens around the base of the pineapple, then decorate the base with three small green apples, and three larger red apples. Use the picks to keep everything in place.

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