cork wreath

Let me guess, you have an inner-Martha-Stewart, but for the life of you, you just can’t remember where you put her. (Hint: she’s probably hiding somewhere between Superwife/girlfriend, Superemployee and/or Supermom.)

At the end of the day, the last thing you want to think about is why we go to great lengths (in freezing weather, mind you) to drag a twelve foot evergreen into our homes, or carve messy pumpkins into ghoulish faces, or blow into rams’ horns, build Sukkot structures in our front yards and hunt for Easter eggs out back.  Seriously, what’s the deal? Are all these rituals necessary?

Would it help you to know that like most traditions, wreath making has been around for thousands of years?  There are examples of wreaths in most every culture on the planet. Our current use comes handed down from Greeks, Persians and cultures all throughout Europe that have treasured the wreath’s beauty and symbolism as a sign of status, athletic achievements and as a way to honor loved ones lost in battles.

Wreaths are shared cross-culturally, with their universally important message of peace and love. It is also a DIY (do-it-yourself) lover’s dream, offering a creative way to recycle materials you haven’t quite figured out what to do with, and to work with natural elements as well.

Reusing bottle corks is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to make a holiday wreath. With a glue gun and a wreath base (try straw) you can use your wine corks to design a low-impact, original, beautiful and sustainable wreath. Corks are really unique, and deserve a more proper life-after-bottle than plugging up landfills.

Working organic elements in there too can be nice. Traditional wreath making includes some sustainable fundamentals to begin with: holly, pine needles and cones and flowers. Try adding local mini gourds, pinecones and leaves, wildflowers and branches. Spice up your wreath with fragrant whole vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, dried herbs such as sage, lavender or rosemary. If you have a paper shredder, you can shred your brown paper grocery bags and curlicue the shreds with scissors and tie those around the corks.

Making a wreath with friends, family or even alone is a wonderful, creative ritual to help ring in the introspective season. It’s also a wonderful way to honor our soldiers for Veteran’s Day. Whatever you do, hopefully you’ll enjoy yourself and feel the true meaning of the season.

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Photo: Valerie Everett courtesy of Creative Commons