Sharing on Christmas Day is usually a given. After carefully shopping for friends and family, sharing a meal and hunkering down is usually a common practice. This year I decided to do something a little different and uniquely share with my community.
After making arrangements for my office using greenery from the garden gifted to me, the wheels in my head started turning. My garden club, Capitol Hill Garden Club, had a few bags left over from our Greens Party as well. I took advantage of this gift from the garden. When it comes to getting the public excited about gardening, I try to be creative. I quietly planned to share some Holiday joy with those who might miss out.
Christmas Eve I started my mission by washing and wrapping over 30 miniature vases that I no longer wanted. Tying each with a bow, I boxed them up. I was then ready for the next part of my exercise in sharing. In my opinion, the best gifts are not purchased. They are created, by hand and finished off with love. A supurb gift is one that comes from nature. I chose two nice sized containers that sat gathering dust. Next I found two chunks of oasis in my studio and began my elfish adventure.
BOXING DAY FUN FACT
A little sharing about the history of boxing day which was celebrated on the day after Christmas in the UK. This tradition started around 1833. It was a day where people gave back or shared their Christmas excess. Holiday food, goods and gifts were shared with those less fortunate. In some instances money was collected by the local Churches and given to the needy. Usually the well-to-do citizens gathered trinkets, money and left over food, boxed it up and gave it to their servants, their poor relatives, as well as to the slaves.
CHRISTMAS ON THE PLANTATION
Usually on many plantations, the only time the slaves had off was at Christmas – MAYBE. If the plantation owner was considered nice he allowed a slave to pick a yule log. As long as the yule log burned, the slaves had those days off. I can only imagine that there was a lot of praying going on for the log to burn as long as possible. On some plantations, owners allowed a feast to be prepared specifically for the slaves. Sharing the finer meats, vegetables, wine and downtime, this celebration could last for a day or a few days. Each plantation was different. Why Christmas MAYBE? If you were not in the good favor of the plantation owner, there was no Christmas or downtime.
Christmas was also a time for romance on the plantation. Quite a few marriges took place between plantations. It was a time when slaves were allowed to go from plantation to plantation to visit. When courting a potential spouse, a yearly visit was quite special to many.
Some slaves began a celebraton known as Jonkonnu. Creating makeshift costumes with uniquey designed masks, the celebration went from home to home. Dancing to music made with makeshift items, they were gifted with whatever was on hand to share. The women made quilts and repaired clothing during this downtime on the plantation. Songs of hope (including cryptic messages) were commonly called Spirituals. It has been documented that many slave revolts happened at Christmas.
A NON TRADITIONAL DAY OF SHARING
I wanted to give back in a uique way to my community. There will always be someone who might not have a gift to give. Usually there is someone who might feel forgotten during the holiday season. I chose to make a little bit of difference in my own way. I chose the Forestville Health & Rehabilitation Center as the place to be the recipient of some horticultural holiday cheer. The decision to deliver my festive creations on Christmas Day and not Boxing Day, was intentional.
What better place to share a festive arrangement or two of live evergreens. I also presented the box of wrapped miniature vases for those who might not have a gift to bring to a loved one. The staff could also brighten someone’s day with a small bouqet or simple stem as needed. The Greeter’s name was Arlene. We had a warm and informative conversation about the facility.
One thing rattled me, as we chatted. When I gave her the box of wrapped vases, she told me I had to distribute them to whoever I wanted to have them. Crushed, I sadly stated “I dont know anyone here”. I sat up all night choosing vases, wrapping them individually, tying the perfect bow with the intention of making a difference. Arlene could sense my sadness and said she woud give them to the Director of Activities. As I began to breathe again, I thought to myself, I will keep giving back so I will not have to say those words again.
As gardeners, we usually have an abundance of something. A few blooms or an armload of bodaciousness, how often do we think to share? Not just at Christmas time, but throughout the year the garden can be shared. You never know the impact of the unexpected “share”.
Creating the arrangements on Christmas eve, singing and reminiscing about my blessings was not intentional. I was excited about the thought of sharing unexpected joy. My mission going forward is to to get to know more about my community, engage others in the art of gardening and share.
Are you familar with the underserved in your community? Will you consider sharing your garden gifts in the next season? You could make a new friend who will light up and smile after being gifted with unexpected horticultural bliss from the garden.
Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!!!by