You have probably finished buying gifts now. You *should* be done wrapping them. You might have them under the tree, packed into the car or in your closet on that very, very top shelf. Your menu is most likely planned and you think you have completely stocked up on everything you need for dinner tonight and tomorrow night. (You don’t yet know that you’ve forgotten the heavy whipping creme and run out of black peppercorns…but it’s okay. It will happen and you’ll survive.)
But now, now it’s time to set the table and you have about 12 hours left to come up with something creative and special for this annual celebration. Sure the kids think it’s about gifts, you might too, and the in-laws think it’s about traveling 1200 miles to sleep in your kids cluttered bedroom because you haven’t yet found a house big enough to accommodate them in the style in which they’d like to be accustomed.
But let’s take a stab at what it’s really about: Maybe it’s about taking time out of life and just nurturing your soul for a little bit. I won’t get all soppy on you but think about this – as much of a pain it is to drive across country, or across town, or load your 3 kids up and fly across the Atlantic (did I say that?) it sure in the hell beats the alternative.
So today, in the lead up to the madness of tomorrow, spend some time with your family, and spend some time with your kids and when you are all sitting around and discussing who did what to whom and who had the audacity to show up 30 minutes early or 3 hours late or forgot to pack the rosemary turkey breast or whether a 3,000 piece lego set is really an appropriate gift for a 5-year-old or whether the tea cups your sister gave you are really equal to the wine-of-the-month-club you gave her, find an old vase or cup or bowl or your son’s bowling trophy and take to making your floral arrangement for tomorrow. It will keep you focused on the now…and maybe just a little of getting ready for the tomorrow.
My friend Zan is sort of a master at everything (as are both of her sisters). They just have this incredible ability to get sh*t done. Do you know these people? It doesn’t matter what the task ahead is: Throwing a mobile surprise party for 75 people. Finding lost airline miles from years ago. Getting an impossible reservation at Commander’s Palace. It matters not what the task is ahead – these women just get the job done.
So it surprised me very little to find out that Zan, in addition to being smart, gorgeous, kind and creative, is a flower virtuoso. I asked her for her tips to make gorgeous floral arrangements and she was happy to oblige, and also came over to show me in person. So these are her tips for a Christmas display. You can make this fit your needs and certainly change up the colors and fillers for the rest of the year. Whatever works for you and whatever makes you smile, more than just a little bit. Merry Christmas.
STEP ONE: Pick and prep the flowers:
Select a variety of flowers but stay with one color – or close shades of a color.
When you get them home rinse them off (the whole thing: petals, leaves and stem). Throw out any broken flowers and trim the stems 1/2″ under running water.
Place the flowers into a bucket (or a wine cooler) filled with cool water until you are ready to use them.
STEP TWO: Soak the foam.
Soak the floral foam long enough for it to be wet throughout but not dissolving. Cut it to fit the size of your display vessel.
STEP THREE: Select your hero flowers.
Pick the flowers you want to be the main flowers in your display. Press them into the main positions – center, right and left of a small display, evenly distributed in a larger display. Cut them at an angle to the appropriate length and press them 3/4″ directly into the foam. Make sure you put them in the right place the first time, you don’t want to press them in, remove them and then press them in again.
STEP FOUR: Add the secondary flowers
For this you want 50% to 100% more than your hero flowers. Place them evenly throughout the display vessel. When you are done the foam should be about 2/3 full but still with plenty of space for filler.
STEP FIVE: Add filler.
When you do this you want to make sure the rim of the vessel is covered, the foam is all covered and the hero flowers and the secondary flowers are evenly distributed throughout the container.
So that is Zan’s Floral Advice. The most helpful thing she taught me is that you can use any vessel you’d like — she uses vases, urns, cups, marmalade jars…anything she can find and it always looks fantastic. So maybe there is a use for that weird bowl your Aunt Meryl just gave you….