Posts in Holiday
Pumpkin Season

It is the seasons of pumpkins. If you know where to look you can drive past a field that instead of full of corn or beans, pumpkins is all the eye can see. It is pumpkin picking time. In fact the pumpkin craze has covered everything from coffee and Pringles to the World Championship Punkin Chukin in Dover, Delaware. For those who do not take part in the art of catapulting pumpkins across open field, pumpkins are traditionally used from Jack-O-Lanterns, Thanksgiving tablescapes and pies.

This time of year we like to change up our arrangements a little bit and replace a vase with a pumpkin. The pumpkin adds color and texture to an arrangement and gives you one more reason to get into that holiday spirit.

Traditionally when we think of pumpkins, we think of the bright orange ones we see on Halloween, but pumpkins come in a few more colors than just orange. Pumpkins also can be found in white, green, yellow, tan, blue and red. The white variety is a relatively new color in the pumpkin patch, having only been bred within the last twenty years. The white skin makes a more elegant presentation for a subtle colored arrangement. Blue pumpkins are rare and difficult to find but are stunning in their dust blue color .

If the pumpkins are not the color you would like for your arrangement or you are looking for something a little more artistic, you can paint pumpkins to match the colors or patterns you desire. A painted pumpkin, however, cannot be saved until next season. If you are going to paint a pumpkin you should have a smooth, clean pumpkin. A base coat of sealer or varnish will help the paint stick but it is not necessary. It is best to paint in sections and let each one dry so that you do not have to put a wet pumpkin down to dry.  For some glamour you can add slimmer to our pumpkin as well, an elegant idea when using the little ones for candle holders.

Try out your favorite uses for pumpkins this holiday season, but please do not forget the pumpkin pie!

Santa Claus, Stockings and Chimneys

There are many names this time of year; Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas, but where did Santa come from and why does he come down the chimney instead of knocking on the door?

It is said that Santa Claus was a true individual, known as Saint Nicholas, a Bishop from Asia during the fourth century. Saint Nicholas was a son of a wealthy family and inherited his family fortune at a young age upon the death of his parents. Nicholas was a kind individual who helped the poor and in secret shared his wealth with the less fortunate.

It is a story about St. Nicholas that the tradition of hanging stockings on the fireplace is born. It is said that a very poor man had three daughters that were unable to marry because he could not provide a dowry for them.  (A dowry was a payment made to the groom on the day of the wedding to marry daughters. They included money, furniture, jewelry and anything valuable.) St. Nicholas heard of the man’s misfortune and decided to help the family.

While he did not deliver his gift the Santa Claus way of climbing down the chimney, he did drop a bag of gold down the chimney. The following morning the man found the bag of gold where it landed, inside a stocking that had been hanging by the fire to dry. With this money the man’s oldest daughter was able to marry. St. Nicholas repeated this for the second daughter in secret but the man wanted to know who was delivering these gifts.

The man waited by the chimney every night to see who was bringing the gold to his daughters. When the man caught St. Nicholas, he was asked not to tell anyone the name of the person bringing the gold, but the word was spread about St. Nicholas and from that point on, anytime a gift was left in secret it was said to be the work of St. Nicholas.


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Candy Canes and Christmas

What are holidays without those delicious sweet treats? Nearly every holiday has a corresponding confection that seems to go hand in hand. Easter has chocolate bunnies and Peeps™, Valentine’s Day has gourmet chocolates, Halloween is a candy company’s dream and Christmas is for candy canes.

Unlike most candy, candy canes were designed with a purpose and even their shape and color has special significance. During the 17


century people began to decorate their trees with fruits and sweet treats. One such treat was a straight white stick. It was the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany who first bent the straight stick into the hook we know today. In 1670 he bent the stick to the shape of a shepherd’s staff. He also gave out these confections to children during the nativity services in order to pacify them through the long service. From Germany this tradition spread and eventually made its way to America by 1847.

By this time these canes were decorated with sugar roses. It would not be until almost the 20


century that the red stripe would be added to the canes. Along with the stripe, peppermint and wintergreen flavors were added to enhance the flavor. While many companies have expanded on the flavors of candy canes, the original peppermint and wintergreen are still favorites today.*