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Herb balls for the Christmas Tree

Supplies needed:
  • styrofoam balls any size
  • tacky white glue (Elmer's or Highlander Styro-Stix)
  • dried herbs or potpourri or dried rose petals or dried small flowers
  • ribbon, string, or cord for hanger loops straight pins
Making herbal decorations for the Christmas tree brings the warmth and fragrance of the herb garden to the Christmas tree. Some herbs, like rosemary, are associated with Christmas through legend. It is said that Mary, Josph and Jesus stopped to rest during their flight from Bethlehem. Mary spread her blue cloak on a rosemary bush. Since that time, rosemary has had a blue blossom in her honor. Thyme is associated with Christmas, according to legend, because Joseph cut branches from a wild thyme bush to make a bed for Mary. Sweet woodruff is said to have been used in the bed for the baby Jesus. Lavender received its lovely fragrance when Mary spread freshly washed laundry on it to dry. No matter which herbs and flowers you choose to use in your Christmas decorations, they will bring delicate and subtle colors and fragrances to your celebration of this season.

Herb balls - Herb Christmas tree balls

  1. Gather the supplies and herbs.
  2. Spread some paper on the table. This is messy.
  3. If you are using tiny flowers, such as lavender buds: Spread glue on a small section of the ball. Roll it in the flowers or press flowers to the glue. Repeat until the ball is covered. Let it dry.
  4. If you are using flowers with a small, sturdy stem, such as chamomile or oregano: put a thin coat of glue on the ball. Stick the flower stem into the ball. The glue will help hold the stem in the ball and will also support the flower on the ball. Repeat until the ball is covered. Let it dry. This procedure is time-consuming.
  5. If you are using small leaves, such as eucalyptus, or rose petals: Spread glue on a small section of the ball. Press the individual petals or leaves to the glue. Repeat until the ball is covered. Let it dry.
  6. If you are using potpourri, adapt the above processes to the ingredients in the potpouuri.
  7. If you are using tiny rosebuds, you will have to use hot glue. Beware. Hot glue will melt the styrofoam. This process is tricky and dangerous. It is very easy to burn your fingers on the glue or the melting styrofoam. You have to place the rosebuds on the glue very quickly and hold them until the glue "grabs" the buds. ***This process is not recommended for children.***
  8. After the balls are dry, decorate with ribbon. You may choose to add a simple loop at the top of the ball. Cut a length of ribbon, maybe 4 or 5" long. Put one ribbon end on top of the other, forming a circle. Stick the straight pin through the ribbon and into ball. Depending on the amount of glue and herbs on the ball, this may be moderately difficult. Be sure the pin is securely in the ball, not just in the herbs. Use two pins, if necessary. You may add a bit of glue under the ribbon and on top of the pin to be sure the ribbon will be securely attached. ***This process is not recommended for children.*** You may glue a small bow or bit of herbs or a flower on top of the pin to hide it. Use the loop to hang the ball on the tree.
  9. You may choose to ignore the ribbon hanger and just pile the balls in bowl of greenery.
As you work with the herbs, the warmth of your hands will release the fragrance of the herbs--the clean, light scent of lavender, the piny spiciness of rosemary, the menthol of eucalyptus or the clean summer hay smell of sweet Annie.

The colors and fragrances of the herbs are quiet and relaxing, something we all can benefit from in this season.

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