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Revitalizing That Arrangement

When the exci tement of Christmas Day has come and gone, folks have gone back to everyday routine and the Christmas decorations have come down, the house can seem rather bleak.

One item of Christmas décor that might be retained to add a bit of cheer to the indoors during our cold, dark January is the Christmas flower arrangement that graced the holiday table or the mantel. Christmas floral arrangements can be kept in good condition for quite some time, and in fact, with a bit of ingenuity and creativity, they can be refurbished a few times to enable us to wring out every bit of enjoyment from them.

Holiday arrangements often have very long-lasting greens, usually stems of cedar or pine, which last for weeks if the ends are kept in wet oasis and the oasis is never allowed to dry out. If the arrangement included artificial holiday items such as Christmas balls, a Merry Christmas sign on a stick or a candle, they can be removed after the holidays. If this leaves the arrangement looking a little sparse, other items that you have on hand could be put in, in their place. Pieces of driftwood or twigs could be used, as could dried poppy seed heads, or other dried material you may have. If you have floral spray, you could add a bit of colour by spraying some of these items before they are inserted into the arrangement.

The flowers can be replaced with a few stems of purchased flowers – this time not necessarily in a typical holiday colour. You might end up with an arrangement of pink carnations accompanied by a few poppy seed heads sprayed a contrasting burgundy colour, or a few bright-yellow daisy mums combined with some brown or tan seed heads of some kind – the possibilities are endless.

If your holiday arrangement was in a container which had a definite Christmas theme, you’ll want to change that as well, which can easily be accomplished simply by lifting up firmly on the block of oasis, until it comes free. There is no need to remove the plant material from the oasis while you do this, and the whole thing can then be placed into a different, similarly sized container, one that is more suitable to the post-Christmas season. Alternately, you can simply pop the whole arrangement, container and all, into a different one. In a few weeks, if you continue to refurbish the arrangement, you might find some of the greens will become yellow or bits of them might become rather unattractive. Don’t be afraid to pull such pieces out of the oasis, trim off any unattractive bits of foliage, nip just a bit off the bottom of each stem, and reinsert the stems back into the oasis for another refurbishment.

The arrangement will have had some floral preservative in the water when you received it, and this will have kept the water from becoming smelly. Over time this product will lose its effectiveness, and as some of the plant material decays in the water it may develop an unpleasant odour. If this happens, take all of the plant material out of the oasis, flush the oasis (leave it in the container to do this) with water under a running tap, and then reinsert the stems. Be sure to remove any decayed material from the stems before reusing them, and if you can, add some more floral preservative to the water to inhibit bacterial growth.

Whether it is an arrangement sent by a loved one, something you purchased yourself or perhaps one you received at a gift exchange, your Christmas flower arrangement can be “reinvented” a number of times before it must be discarded. It is fun to do this after the holiday festivities have subsided and you are looking for something to cheer you up during this bleak winter period. – Albert Parsons writes from

Minnedosa, Manitoba

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