Kitchen Counter Economics Rotating Header Image

Last Minute Holiday Gift

So, here is how the script goes: You get the call. Or someone at work invites you to come over or whatever and there you are with ‘Oh, Jeeze – I need a ‘take along gift’. Should I do the obvious and drop by the liquor store on the way or ?

Well, your old Aunty is here to tell you this: You know this is going to happen because it always happens. And you know that dealing with the whole ‘take along gift’ thing is always stressful, so why not get it out of the way right now. If you are not prepared with holiday cookies or the odd bottles of wine (and the concomitant holiday box with metallic embellishment), where else to look? Well, if you have one of the sorts of things pictured at the top of the page, you look there.

That’s right: The ever so humble and fairly nostalgic holiday cactus. Blooming anywhere from Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Years (and there is even a type which blooms around Eater time), these are a holiday gold mine. Longer lived and tougher than poinsettias and always welcome (especially if you own one in a unique color), the Zygocactus is something that won’t die in the average temperatures or humidity levels of homes, will come back and bloom every single year and just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it needs to be split and given away to someone else as a gift. Like fruitcake only better.

Now, what you want is a nice ceramic planter or bowl. Now frankly, this is something that you can prepare for earlier in the year by going to garage and estate sales, but even if you don’t have something suitable in the house, you have options like your local home and garden center. If all you have is a bowl, you’ll need some pebbles or something for drainage in the bottom and some planting mix. If yours is out in the garage or you need to pick it up out in the home and garden area of a local store (which means it’s been out in the cold for a while), you’ll need to bring that inside to warm up to room temperatures before you try to dig it out and use it. Separate your plant so that you can get to what you want. You want a decent show in the planter or bowl but you don’t want to cram in plants because over the next year, this will need some room so that it can fill in and make a great show for the next holiday season.

Fill the planter part way with the warmed up planting mix and space out your plants. Fill in more planting mix around them and firm down. Water a little bit and clean up the planter. As you can see from this picture, I’ve got six plants in this little planter and it’s still looking a bit on the thin side. That is really ok, seriously. But I do need to ‘dress the set’ as they say, to make this look more like a holiday gift and less as if I just threw it together. This is where some ingenuity and some judiciously saved little decorations can work wonders.

I went outside with my clippers and did a little bit of pruning on some of the evergreen bushes outside. I trimmed off the bottom branches of the evergreens and and brought them inside to warm up. If I had not had any of that, I’d have started to raid the ferms in my windows, but I did not have to go that far. If I also had a floral pick with some wire attached and a small holiday ornament, I’d have used that as well. Sticking the evergreens amongst the Zygocactus does a couple of things. First, they will support the new little plants until they get all settled in and support the gorgeous flowers so that they can be seen to best advantage.

Voila!! Now, I’m all set with a very nice and welcome holiday gift.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments are closed.

Bad Behavior has blocked 484 access attempts in the last 7 days.