A Good Home

The Un-Domestic Diva at Christmas

How hard could it be to make your own Christmas arrangement?  Looks easy enough in the magazines, and on the internet, right?

Christmas Arrangement - viaGoogle Images
Photo – via Google Images

It’s almost Christmas and I’m surrounded by women who cook and bake AND do great home decor. My sister, daughters, mother-in-law,  sister-in-law, girlfriends: domestic goddesses, every one.  Some even sew and knit.

I,  meanwhile, am a failed domestic diva.  I baked a cake – once.  I failed knitting – twice.  I try – Lord knows I try – but I’m still an exceptionally underachieving cook.

But it’s Christmastime, after all. A time of great hope.

Angel and Ball
Angel and Ball

So I decided to make Christmas stuff. The kind of stuff that won’t give my family indigestion,  catch fire and burn (as the solitary cake did), or that anyone needs to wear. (That sock I tried to knit is indescribable AND a family joke.)

In the past, I used branches from the trees in my garden,  tied together with a big red ribbon – and called it a Christmas bough. Hanging on the front door, it was only seen from a distance,  or when we had visitors. Very polite visitors.

But this year, I decided to go big or  ….  no, I was already home, so let’s forget the rest of that saying.  I decided to be ambitious.  To arrange greenery in containers. One in the plant-stand outdoors, one in a container indoors. Artfully composed,  of course.

Did I mention that I failed BOTH art and photography in school?  Something to do with composition.

Christmas Greenery
Christmas Greenery – First Muddled Attempt

I collected branches of everything that grew right next to the verandah of our home. I’m under a kind of house arrest, you see  – mandated by my doctor because I overdid it with the book-related activities and also started a new medication with woozy side-effects.  I figured that as long as I went no farther than the verandah, it would still qualify as “resting at home”.

I put a double layer of plastic in the bottom of the containers, and placed the wet florist foam on it. (The foam was wet, not the florist.) Then I stuck branches of stuff into it. Spruce. Juniper. Euonymus.   Boxwood. And pine cones on sticks. I stepped back to admire my handiwork.

It needed something.  Aha! More red dogwood sticks.

Blog Photo - Chirstmas Arrangement Outdoor

It still needed something.  But I was worn out and achy and very woozy.  I wisely took to my bed.

Two days later, I felt brighter. Contrast, I thought! I need contrast!

So I fetched some “brownery” –– brown-leaved branches from last Christmas, forgotten in a tall container in one corner of the verandah.  But when I cleverly tried to add them, the florist foam had frozen hard due to cold weather and the brownery crumbled, leaves falling from brittle stems.

I searched the house and found a little fake bird and some loose pine cones and judiciously placed them among the greenery.

Birdie Bird
Birdie Bird

But it still needed something. I just never  figured out what.

As for the inside container?  There was a coup de grace: garlic. Yes, garlic on stems.  Harvested from our garden this fall, it’s surprisingly decorative,  will deter vampires and spice up my cooking efforts after Christmas.

Garlic Bulb
Garlic Bulb

But that bit of creativity wore me out completely.  So I stuck some shiny red Christmas ornaments on branches in the container and called it a day.

Indoor Arrangement
Indoor Arrangement


Lord, give me strength. Clearly, you withheld the talent.


This post is dedicated to everyone who struggles with domestic arts. And to all domestic goddesses: you give me something to aspire to. Or maybe that’s ‘perspire’. 

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22 thoughts on “The Un-Domestic Diva at Christmas”

  1. Hi Cynthia. It’s so nice to see you and your humor back on WP. I’m sorry to hear about your house arrest and failed diva skills but we love and appreciate you. Holiday hugs and blessings. 🤶

  2. Hahaha, dear Cynthia, you are speaking to me. After failing to replicate the wonderful balcony scenes surrounding me I picked up a laser light thingamajig. Once I plugged it in, I got twinkling stars oscillating on my balcony. I love when it gets dark, the shutters are open, and there is continuous motion of stars overhead and into the adjoining rooms. Aah, such bliss and all I have to do is plug it in! Thank you.

  3. Around you there are lot of women who work no stop at the approach of Christmas ! They are like industrious and inventive bees . What about the men around you ? ?? (:
    Love ❤

  4. The Christmas decorations look perfectly fine to me, too! They were made with love, and that is what counts the most. ❤️

    I gave up on decorations here because of the cats. They are much too inclined to play with them. I put up a small table top tree that has a string of lights, and that is only for Christmas dinner. 🙂

  5. This is still a fave of mine, Cynthia! Makes me laugh every time:). Esp: “Lord, give me strength. Clearly you withheld the talent.” I managed to put up a decent-looking tree this year but the yard? Ugh. I think I’m going to have to use your prayer!

  6. I think of you every time I’m stuffing greenery into my window boxes.
    Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination.
    I wish you well.

  7. This is hilarious, Cynthia! Those arrangements actually look lovely. And I’d argue that being a good garden-planner, the maker of a good home, and a loving human being is far more important (and takes far more finesse) than baking or making a Christmas bough perfectly!
    We’re keeping it very simple again for the second year this Christmas and are finding the entire thing more rewarding that way. I hope you will do OK with the new medication and I wish you and your family all good things this Christmas. Bet you’re having a great time with your grandchild! So good to see one of your posts!

  8. You know, Cynthia, I remember this post because I think the results were/are quite lovely. You underestimate yourself!
    But I am drawn to read a post that has a little photo at the bottom of this one – Nigella Lawson’s cake. I believe I missed that one! Ta! 🙂

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