JOHNSTON: It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas | Lifestyles

When I was a child, this was the time when the mountain folk would come to town on Saturdays and hawk their homemade crafts from the back of pickup trucks and car trunks in municipal parking lots.

They made wreaths out of English boxwood, American holly with perhaps a touch of running pine. You don’t see much English boxwood anymore, but 100 years ago, this shrub was a big favorite.

There isn’t much American holly around anymore, but to me, holly, with its green leaves and red berries, has always been a beautiful Christmas decoration.

And running pine draped across the mantle adds a nice holiday touch.

The mountain people would also sell mistletoe, which they would shoot from the tops of tall oaks, and those bluish cedar boughs with berries.

Cedar was the predominant country Christmas tree back then. Buying a tree was never a consideration. We would just walk out into some broom sedge field and find a cedar that we thought would look good in the living room.

Most of the time, however, that tree didn’t look nearly as pretty in the house as it did in the field. Cedars often have split trunks which make them lopsided. But we would turn the ugly side to the wall and start decorating those prickly branches with balls and tons of those foil icicles.

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