Dreaming of a green Christmas

Carol Brescher, right, arranges fir limbs into a wire wreath frame before using a pedal-operated machine to clamp the metal around the greens. (Photos by Stephanie Blair)

Seal Rock Garden Club holds Christmas Greens Sale

The Seal Rock Garden Club will open its doors at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, for the public to peruse and choose from beautiful handmade wreaths, swags, table decorations and mug arrangements — all in the spirit of Christmas. And, according to club president Carol Brescher, after a week of preparing for the sale, everything will be sold by early afternoon.

“It’s just like a fairyland in here, it’s so pretty,” said Brescher. “And then, we open at 9 o’clock Saturday morning and by 1, everything will be gone — everything. It happens every year. It’s just amazing to think how fast it goes.”

The club of roughly 70 members has been working since Saturday, Nov. 30, to handcraft the Christmas greens. A few weeks ago, they held a workshop to tie over 200 bows, and over the last weekend began sorting out decorations and crafting/shaping wreaths, as well as putting together table decorations and mug arrangements — but all to prepare for the week’s wreath decorating extravaganza.

“By the end of this week, this thing (hallway-long shelves) will be filled top to bottom with cups and there will be wreaths hanging from everywhere,” said Brescher. “On every nail, every hook, it’s just crazy.”

But they also have a key secret to keeping the greens as fresh as possible while putting them together for buyers — they work in the cold.

“We don’t have any heat on while we’re doing this,” said Brescher. “We have heaters but we don’t use them at all during this week because we want the greens to stay as fresh as possible.”

The amount of drying that heat can have is no joke, as sixth year member Shirley Orwoll recalled.

“A couple years ago, somebody left the heater on in one of the bathrooms and it destroyed about 10 wreaths,” she said.

But even in the cold, the club members find joy in keeping each other company as they brave the weather to create beautiful Christmas decorations. Many members during the Sunday morning shift commented on the camaraderie that is felt during the preparation for the sale each year.

The Seal Rock Garden Club Christmas Greens Sale benefits the club, primarily, which will fund repairs or upgrades for the clubhouse as needed. The building is World War II era, with the original roof, and on an old septic system as well. But the club also makes sure to donate some of the sales to charities, typically those supporting children or gardening programs.

The clubs also makes special wreaths for the local fire department, local water district and The Killers Pest Control as thanks for the ways in which all of these organizations help the garden club. The fire department’s wreath features a dalmatian, the water district’s has water faucets and the Killers’ has creepy crawlies nested in the wreath. The fire department and garden club have a longstanding relationship, including as neighbors until the new building went up. The water district takes care of disposing of the garden club’s clippings during the green sale — not a small task. And the Killers do termite inspections of the clubhouse.

“It really does talk about how well the community comes together for each other,” said Susan Thompson, a third year member and one of the green sale organizers.

The sale opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Seal Rock Garden Club’s clubhouse: 10377 NW Rand Street in Seal Rock, next to the old fire station.

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