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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

DIY Christmas Centerpiece

Here's an eye-catching yet simple centerpiece you can make yourself. It will only take a few items pulled together to create. You can place it on your dining table or maybe a sofa table or just about anywhere you might like to include a lively arrangement.

This photo is an arrangement I made last year for my dining room table.

What you'll need:
  • Clear vase

  • Fresh cranberries

  • Fresh cut poinsettias (I buy the plants and cut them as I need them)

  • Fresh cut Christmas tree branches- the big box stores give these away where they sell trees.
The vase I used here is 15" tall and 4.5" in diameter. It is up to you how tall your vase is and even the shape can vary. I've done a variation of this arrangement in years past with 3 varied sized vases that aren't as tall as this one. The 3 vases created a whole different appeal as a grouping.

One more note. The cranberries can be substituted with small Christmas ornaments or even varying sizes of Christmas ornaments. If you choose to use ornaments instead of cranberries be sure to fill each ornament with water which will cause them to sink. I've done it this way in the past and it works nicely, too.

Let's get it all put together:
  • Fill your container(s) with the cranberries (I used 2 bags)

  • Cover over with water

  • Cut poinsettia stems and burn the ends (with a lighter) until they are sealed (about 10 seconds). Your flowers will last for up to 2 weeks in water when the fresh cut is burned.

  • Place the stems around the perimeter of opening.

  • Cut several Christmas trees branches to place in the center of vase - however many your container requires. You'll want to cut them so they are taller and stand quite a bit taller than the poinsettias you've already placed around the rim.

  • Note: if it works better for you to place the tree branches first and then the poinsettias - do whatever is comfortable for you. It usually depends on the container size and opening.

Total cost: Around $10.00 if you already have the container and the tree branches.

Total time: Approximately 10 minutes.

What could be easier? The creative things we do for Christmas are the most fun part of decorating don't you think? I'm having lots of fun now that I've finally gotten some inspiration.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Blessings, Meems


  1. Thank you! I love the cranberry idea and I already have many of those vases. It is really pretty with the poinsettias.

  2. Wonderful idea, keep them coming!

  3. Meems, so simple but oh so elegant! Glad your inspiration has found you.

  4. Very clever and colorful! I especially like your idea of using the cranberries to fill the vase.


  5. Very pretty arrangement! Can't wait to try it out but of course I'll have to use a colourful substitute for the cranberries.

  6. Meems,

    A very lovely centerpiece...I might use it for my GF Christmas party next weekend. When I lived in Tampa we had poinsettias growing in the garden....I was just a kid but I knew that plant! Could I be remembering correctly?


  7. Anna, You're welcome. I thought about you this morning when I was popping some plastic bubble wrap

    Darla, Glad you liked it. So many things we already have around the house to put to good use.

    Beckie, Once I find my inspirational creative groove it is hard to find a stopping place (just like the garden)... I'm on a roll this week. lol

    Cameron, Another variation of using the cranberries is put them a clear container and use floating candles on the top of them. Very pretty when lit. Or not lit.

    Kanak, Thank you. Does that mean you don't have access to cranberries? Did you see my notation of using Christmas ornaments to substitute for the cranberries?

  8. Gail, Yes, you would be remembering correctly. My mom grew them too. I have grown them in the past.

    They grow very easily here only I find they are unreliable for the bracts turning colors at the right time for use. Otherwise they aren't a particularly attractive plant (to me). I may reconsider this year. Every year I buy several of the potted ones they sell in the big box store just to place around my home and in the garden for big color impact. Every year I toss them in the compost pile in January ... mostly out of laziness... maybe this year I'll plant a couple just to see how they do next year.

  9. Hi Meems - Good idea. I've never heard of burning the ends before. Does that work with all flowers or just poinsettias? I have lots of leftover cranberries, so it looks like I need to get some poinsettias!

  10. WG: Good morning. I don't think you want to burn other flowers. Poinsettias have a very thick hollow stem that holds a white milky liquid (I'm sure someone else knows all the scientific terminology- I only how this works). I think the burning technique seals the cut so the liquid remains and the flower stays perky. So you cut and burn each flower as you go. I've put cut poinsettias in water without burning the ends and they wilt within a day. This method will make them last for a couple of weeks in water. One caution- don't overburn. Have fun with it!

  11. Hi your blog made me wish it was summer again it's cold and wet here in uk, enjoyed reading a lot

  12. Thank you, Meems! What a wonderful idea, simple and beautiful.

  13. What a beautiful & creative centerpiece. The cranberries are a perfect accent with the Poinsettias!

  14. Brilliant! I wish I could run out and make this but... there's always a but, isn't there? There are no cranberries here . I have never seen one except in photos. Hmmm.... maybe I could spray-paint baby coconuts instead? Christmas red coconuts... what a thought!

  15. Hey Meems!! It is such fun to visit over heah--lovely lovely idea.

    I done as't Uncle to brang home some holly branches from the woods--and I filch magnolia branches from willin' neighbors...our dinin' room is apricot colored walls over cream below the chair rail... so I'se thinkin' how I might adapt yore gorgeous idea by usin' kumquats & magnolia leaves wif' white Poinsettias.

    Cain't say how much I enjoy stoppin' by heah fer a visit.

  16. meems, after seeing this on your other place i was sending dh this morning to get cranberries at the farmers market. they didn't have any but i will get some from fresh market sometime soon. i have done this in the past and was reminded of it by seeing your lovely arrangement. i'm sure i got the idea from you in the first place.

    do you remember me having fresh cut poinsettias in my wedding. i was standing there in my bridal gown(your dress) cutting and burning the ends of the stems and throwing them together with branches and greenery for you girls to carry down the isle. i have always had a little too much whimsy and not enough of the practical. but that's what you are for, right?
    i am not sure what triggered that memory from ions ago but probably just reading your how to instructions. i glad you shared this on here, it is such a elegant simple idea that brings such a natural element to the table. i love it!

  17. Hi James, Thanks for the kind words and for the visit. Hoe and Shovel is definitely the place to come for a warm up just about any day of the year.

    Kim, I'm really aiming for simple and finding it finally-- more and more these days. That is to say I've been aiming for quite a while... lately I seem to be acheiving it.

    PGL: I do love the bright reds that I had moved away from for so many years. Now I'm back to tradition with a contemporary twist.

    Sunita, Kanak alluded to the same "but"... this is news to me that you don't have cranberries available. Always learning something new from you two - which is what I love. I must say I LOVE your small coconuts idea.... Only I would leave them just as they are. What a beautiful texture and natural element they would add to this same arrangement. I hope you do this and let us all see it... please.

  18. That's a great idea - thanks so much for sharing! I feel very inspired now...

  19. Aunty, always happy to sit with you a spell... What a wonderful adaptation for your apricot room! Kumquats are perfect or even limes (these last quite well too)with the magnolia and white pointsettias. Oh so divine. Don't waste those kumquats though... put them in another tall glass container for display elsewhere or vicey-versy. Too much fun!

    marmee: Cranberries will probably be less expensive at the local grocer but whereever he happens to be first is what saves the most dollars.

    I am getting more and more fond of your whimsy, Marmee. As I get older (yikes) it is a trait I certainly appreciate for the beautiful quality it is in you. And yes, I am destined to always be the more pragmatic in any crowd! I barely conjure up memories of the poinsettias in your wedding ... too many moons ago. I tend to blame my lack of early memories on the "survival mode years". Ha.

    I'm stretching my brain this year for natural elements to use indoors. It has been fun and inspiring. Hope you are enjoying your Saturday. I am in the garden mostly today. Must get back out there... bought some new stuff yesterday with birthday gift cards (and some... you know how that goes) - guess I should be e-mailing you at this point but too late now. LOL Love you.

  20. Katarina, It is a great compliment to lend inspiration on any level. Thank you for leaving such a kind comment. Have fun with your own creativity.

  21. Hello Meems !
    What a great yet simple and inexpensive idea for a center piece. I didn't know about searing ? the ends of the flower like that .. I wish I could make it but I'm a cat mom .. and they get into everything .. I have to admire them afar I guess .. haha
    Loved the idea though !

  22. This is an AWESOME idea Meems. Thanks for sharing!

  23. That is a lovely arrangement. It looks so easy to do too. Love easy!

  24. Hi Meems.....I love the cranberries....something I would never have thought of......wonderful idea.....tku.

  25. garden joy: We do have to watch out for our kiddies! errr... kitties. I'm glad you like the idea. Thanks for stopping by today.

    Amy, you are most welcome... glad you liked it.

    Susie, I can DO easy! I think we all do like simple and easy. Thank you.

    Cheryl, This arrangement is so versatile... you can put it almost anywhere and one can make so many variations with this idea.

    Lisa, Thank you!

  26. Hi!
    Awesome idea for a table centerpiece!! Thanks for sharing!


  27. Well, let me chime in here too. What a wonderful idea! I just love being creative with flowers and I like this. Never thought of cutting poinsettias. I just buy the plants and put them around the house. I also was curious as to why burn the stems. If the stems are sealed then how does the water get in to nourish the flower?

    I wonder if this is why they seal Christmas trees here in Canada?
    I've noticed that when I buy my real tree for Christmas, there is a waxy coating on the tree stump. I thought it would prevent the water (in the Christmas tree stand) from being absorbed by the tree. How silly! The tree would surely die. So I had my husband saw off the waxy or coated portion of the stump. The tree stayed fresh, but really didn't absorb a lot of water over the 3 weeks in the house.
    You've given me something to think about.

    Oh, and I like your background. I chose the same one, but can't get rid of the "ribbons". How did you do that?

  28. Someone at the big box store today was collecting the free cut off branches. I wonder if she had seen your post. Very pretty.

  29. Sherrie, Thank you and you're welcome.

    Wendy, I'm not sure if it seals the entire stem-- I think just the outer rim where the milky liquid secretes. I don't really know the science of it but you pose good questions.

    As far as the Christmas tree... here when a tree is purchased they always saw a fresh cut and that encourages the tree to drink lots of water over the few weeks it is in the stand.

    I don't think I did get rid of the ribbons on my background... maybe you just can't see them prominently... not sure. I can see more of the paper on my laptop than on my desktop... that's a puzzlement too. Thanks for stopping by, Wendy. I hope you have a very good week.

    Vertie: There are lots of scavengers for those cut off tree branches. I also make fresh green wreaths with them. They last out of water very nicely.

  30. Dear Meems ~ have been wanting to comment on this arrangement since it is so similar to mine that I do each year. Only difference ... besides fresh cranberries, I use fresh greens from cut the garden, red twig dogwood, and either fresh white roses or tulips!

  31. That's pretty awesome! We also like decorating our tables with some greeneries and natural materials. Maybe this year we will go for cranberries too. thanks for the inspiration! Allow me to share this to my Christmas table decorations Pinterest board. Happy Holidays!


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