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Christmas is a season which is closely associated with innocence and new beginnings. A tree adorns the living room, filling it with a fresh pine scent. Wreaths adorn the walls, mistletoes hang in doorways. It’s no small wonder that themes of the Yuletide season revolve around the colors red and green. Why not build up a motif from these colors, make your Christmas an herb inspired season? Trying out the following ideas will remind you of the close association of Christmas with the scent and essence of herbs.

Spice up the look of your manger scene with an assortment of herbs which are closely associated with the first Christmas. Using herbs to adorn the crib lends a more intimate symbolism to the feel of the whole birth scene, since certain herbs are closely connected with the infant Jesus and his mother, Mary.

The rosemary herb is closely connected to the flight of the family after the birth of Jesus. The story tells that this herb of remembrance was the only shrub which kept its silence as the Family made their way through bushes on the flight to Egypt.

During the spring, plant some seedlings of a feathery herb known as Our Lady’s Bedstraw, and then cut off some sprigs, dry them, and place them on the crib. This symbolic herb of protection may also be purchased from specialty stores.

The herb symbolic of courage, thyme, is available in many varieties; cut off stems of this herb and place it on the manger as a tribute to the Holy Family.

The herb of purity, lavender, is closely associated with Mary. Accent the manger scene with buds of this herb for a more adorned look.

The soft lime colored herb known as Our Lady’s Mantle closely resembles the shape of the virgin’s cloak, with scallop trimming around the edges. Press some leaves flat and scatter them on the crib for accent.

Rue is an exquisite blue-green herb symbolizing grace and virtue. Place pieces of this shrub to add some pungent accent to the crib. (Do take care when you handle rue. It is among the most common herbs for skin irritation and can cause some serious rashes. Use gloves when you handle this one.)

For a more exotic blend of special herbs and spices, try making an herbal themed Christmas wreath. The assortment in colors and fragrances will inspire anyone who appreciates it to remember the first Noel with a feeling of awe, gratitude, and adoration. In addition to the herbs mentioned, put a lot of variety in your wreath by adding in samples of the following herbs to the mix: sage, boxwood, white pine, juniper, holly, ivy, cedar. Also include rosebuds, statice, amaranth, and strawflowers in shades of pink and purple.

Brace a wire wreath frame on a large dish, and insert the gaps between the wires with small sprigs of green for a more solid look; stuff it on the brace until some sort of body to the wreath is achieved. Then evenly spread the herbs and buds around the wreath, inserting them on the gaps of the green. Make sure that you place the herbs randomly around the edges and the front for a more natural look. The finished body of the wreath should look full, without being too much bulky. Place the candles on the sockets provided for, and then add a flowing bow of ribbon at the base as a finishing accent.


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