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Reflections of Christmases Past, Present

December 20, 1986

I think I'll concentrate on boughs and wreaths for my Christmas decoration this year, instead of the traditional Christmas tree. Down through the years, when my children were growing up, we always observed Christmas by purchasing a lovely, fragrant tree. Even when I was growing up--it seems long, long ago--we had wonderful, fascinating Christmas trees. The ornaments were different then--mostly homemade--and good to eat! In those days, only candles were lighted just before we all entered the family room where tree and gifts waited enticingly. Those hand-lighted candles--glistening like in heaven--were the epitome of Christmas joy. They lasted just a short while, and had to be watched in case a blaze started.

Well, now in 1986--in my mellowing years--children and husband away--I'm creating a new wonderful substitute from my own garden. My large house and garden in metropolitan L.A. is filled with challenges to create my own personal Christmas cheer--Juniper boughs, evergreen boughs galore will "deck my halls." My Buford and other hollies are showing up bright red these days.

I've been pruning my grape vines to weave into wonderful, circular wreaths--they last very well, and form a basic circle to fill with pepper seeds (red and purple) all kinds of herbs--fresh and dried, right from my very own garden plot. Actually, any dried or fresh plant can enhance a wreath. My creative imagination runs riot!

Sometimes I tuck a little white bird or an angel here and there in a wreath or bough.

I like this kind of simple, personal holiday activity. Gone are the days of overspending, or disappointment in not giving or getting the present desired!

I love the simplicity and frugality I can incorporate into this most precious of holidays.

LOIS ARENZ BERND

Los Angeles

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