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Hindsight: Make a Christmas Wreath From What?

Laura Hinds reflects on growing up in Danvers.

With Thanksgiving now behind us, I have started to turn my attention to Christmas. Thinking back to grammar school, and the variety of arts and crafts we did, usually they involved pinecones and gold spray paint.  Sometimes we made Christmas cards in art class. Building houses out of popsicles sticks was another favorite. They were your run-of-the-mills kids’ crafts.

At home, it was a different story.  I'm not sure where mom got the idea, but I know it was when we lived in Danversport, circa 1971. The craft we did together was to make holiday wreaths of out plastic sandwich bags.  We'd cut them into strips and wrap each strip around a wire coat hanger. It was tedious and time consuming work. The results weren't that special either, but for some reasons she was determined to make the wreaths as gifts for our neighbors in the apartment building.

This took all of the weekend after Thanksgiving, and for perhaps the only time in my life, I was itching to go back to school. We didn't have an art teacher full time at Danversport Elementary School, however, one came in once a week. I remember she was very nice, but I don't remember her name. She was good about letting us do our own thing, whether it was to sit and draw quietly, or to work on own projects.

This year it was different. There was a new art teacher after Thanksgiving break, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you what she decided to have us make. Yes, it was plastic baggie wreaths. It took us the entire weekly art classes to finish, and at some point she even had us bring them home to work on.

I don't know if they do arts and crafts like that in Danvers schools anymore, but I did do an online search and found that they are still being made. Now they call them eco-friendly wreaths.  Of course, we didn't have that terminology in our vernacular. In fact, looking back, I believe it was merely a way to keep little hands busy during the holiday season. I had an idea after the holidays that I suggested to my mother; why not put the wreath in storage with our silver artificial tree so we wouldn't have to make one again the next year.  Mom thought about it, and agreed with me, but said, "You know we'll see have to make them for the neighbors again, they all appreciated them."

Frankly, I didn't think that they did appreciate them, and if they did, they could store them too.  I was too shy to suggest that to any of the neighbors, but boy, was I glad when we moved to our house on Hobart Street the following summer. The best part was that the silver Christmas tree and the plastic wreath were somehow lost in the move, and they were never mentioned again.

If you’d like to make your own plastic bag wreath, here are some instructions from Ehow.com.

Carla King December 03, 2011 at 11:45 AM
they are only eco-friendly if you are using used plastic!
Laura Hinds December 03, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Good catch, Carla, I should have added that. You did just provide me with an appropriate answer to my brother-in-laws rebuke that plastic anything is BAD BAD BAD, Thanks!

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