December garden update (for real)

Normally in December my garden, any garden around Western New York, would be covered in snow.  All of the foliage would be completely dead from a frost that occurred weeks before.  Here in Western New York if you make it past Halloween with a plant or two spared from frost, you are pretty lucky.  We are less than a fortnight from Christmas and I have not only lush foliage, but blooms, In the December garden. 

Swiss chard

The other day we experienced record breaking 71 degree weather.  Normally around this time a day in the fifties is a welcomed reprieve from the cold.  Temperatures in the 60s are unheard of – 71 degrees – quite incredible.  We have more seasonable weather coming and even expect our first, yes first, snow of the season this weekend.

Let’s just take a look around the garden though, shall we?

In the front yard the vinca (that I moved back in May) has a lovely, purple bloom, in the December garden, I might add.

Vinca blooming December

Not too far away a lone primrose has opened a bloom, also in the December garden.  This was an Easter plant bought for decoration that I stuck in the garden on a whim.

primrose bloom December

Remember when I created a mowing strip around the herb garden?  Quite a few of the herbs are looking good.  I was not shocked by the sage, it is a pretty hearty herb.

Sage in December Northeastern garden

The rosemary, mint, oregano and thyme are all looking good.  I harvested sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme on Thanksgiving for our meal and an impromptu arrangement.  I could go out and harvest even more in the December garden, no less!

Mint still alive in December garden Oregano in late fall

I even have a nice little bunch of Swiss chard that I will be clipping to add to salad.

Swiss chard

Ultimately it is not going to be good for the garden and the plant life, especially the fruit bearing trees.  They need to have their dormant period, as explained here.  I can’t believe that I am saying this, but I am glad that it is going to get colder.  I can look forward to abbreviated winter, I hope.

Inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

There are so many special Christmas ornament storage boxes that you can buy nowadays.  They are beautiful and tidy, but so expensive.  I buy A LOT of Christmas bargains at the end of the season.  I have bought sets of a dozen ball ornaments for as low as .80 cents.  I want them to last and I want store them neatly, but spending $30 on a box that holds 36 ornaments (the cost of which may not even exceed $5.00) just doesn’t make sense.  I have found some really inexpensive and even free storage solutions right around the house.

Each year I organize a bit more as I acquire new items and pare down older items. I am going to share some ideas with you that I have come up with for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage.

I discovered how great holiday card boxes can be a few years ago.  They are perfect for flat, generally not breakable items like these brass ornaments.

Reused holiday card box for ornament storage

And these stained glass ornaments.  I still wrap some tissue loosely around them so they won’t scratch and knock around.  the pink tissue with gold hearts on it is totally recycled from Victoria’s Secret too.

Reused Christmas card box for ornament storage

They can be handy for packaging up a little cookie or candy gift as well.  Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that because I haven’t done it in a while.  This is such a bonus because you can bet that I bought the cards at 80% off too, so ignore the price points that you see on the boxes..

Inexpensive Christmas ornament storage reused Christmas card boxes

Another great reuse is canning jar boxes.  If you don’t can yourself, you may know someone who does can.  Ask if they will give you the boxes.  They come with dividers to protect the jars like this Ball canning jar box that I reused for some large teal after Christmas ball ornaments I scored a few years back.  The dividers are a bit roomy so I added some packing paper around them.  I should really make some dividers for this box like I did with the one below.  These boxes do not have lids, but when stacked neatly inside of another storage box, I have not found a problem with that.  I do keep the boxes level, but I do that with anything breakable, no matter how well packed.  I have yet to find a broken ornament when I unpack the decorations.

Ball canning jar box reused for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

I also made my own dividers for this Ball canning jar box.

Ball canning jar box reused with custom dividers for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

These are a Target bargain, but they are smaller and I was able to fit 20 in instead of only the 12 allotted spaces for canning jars.  The dividers were easy to make with scrap cardboard and basic tools.  I will be posting a tutorial tomorrow on custom ornament storage.

Keep an eye out for small boxes that are sturdy or come with dividers.  You may overlook something like a box that a set of glasses that you bought in the spring came in or a fruit gift box like this one apple gift box from Indian Creek farm.

Indian Creek apple gift box reused for inexpensive Christmas ornament storage

The plush foam is especially nice for storing ornaments that are family heirlooms or special splurges.  More on that in tomorrow’s post.

So there you have quite a few suggestions for free and inexpensive Christmas ornament storage.

Christmas reindeer healthy snack

Check out this healthy and fun Christmas reindeer healthy snack idea.  I love it!  It just came to me – I don’t even know how, literally just popped into my head, light bulb moment style.

Christmas reindeer healthy snack

This is so simple and you probably already have all the ingredients around the house.  All you have to do is prepare your celery by leaving the leaf stems intact after washing them well, fill them with cream cheese or peanut butter, add raisins and /or dried cranberries.  You have yourself some reindeer celery tasties.  Most kids probably won’t eat the leaf stems, but they make a great handle to keep their hands clean while they eat.

You can only make so many antlered critters out of one bunch of celery.  I thought that mini pretzel sticks would be good to substitute in as antlers too.  So that is my simple, healthy Christmas reindeer healthy snack idea.  Perfect for home, lunch box or even part of a bento box.

Try it.  If you do let me know, send a picture.