Lee Valley & Veritas

Gardening Newsletter
  Volume 8, Issue 12 - December 2013  
The Salted Mason Jar Christmas Tree
Salted Mason Jar Christmas trees
It's that time of year again. You know what I'm talking about. There are signs of it everywhere you look and no matter how much warning you have or how many years it's happened, you're never really prepared for it. Every year it sneaks up on you like a surprise.

The end of gardening season.

It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. No wait. That's just a sparkle embedded in my cornea.

Luckily the sad, sad "End of Gardening Season" coincides with a much happier time, "The Holiday Season". Nothing takes the sting out of not being able to weed like appetizers wrapped in bacon and a 10 lb box of shortbread cookies.

Along with massive amounts of butter, the holidays are also filled with stress. Getting the house ready, buying presents, baking, cooking, visiting…all things that would be a lot of fun if you didn't have to do them all within a one-month period along with working, taking care of your kids, cleaning and (in all likelihood) dealing with a cold. And of course those sparkles that will be embedded in your scalp until some time in the middle of January.

The other thing that happens to me without fail every year is I suddenly realize I need another little present. It could be a hostess gift or something for a friend who drops by. In years past, I've gotten away with my charm, good looks and the excuse that I'm an idiot. But this year? This year things are going to be different. I've made up several of these little gems, ready to be passed on whenever I enter someone else's home or they enter mine.
Salted Mason Jar Christmas Tree
I started making these trees for myself a few years ago when I had an excess supply of antique mason jars. Everyone who came into the house loved them! It took me a couple of years before I realized they'd make a great hostess gift. As I mentioned earlier, I can sometimes be less than smart.

Aside from how spectacular these things look, the greatest thing about them is how inexpensive they are to make. If you already have a mason jar and there's a dollar store nearby, this gift will set you back only about $5.


Mason jar … $3
Epsom salts … $1
Small fake tree … $1
Battery operated lights … $2

To make the salted Mason jar Christmas tree, just drop the lights into the bottom of the jar.
Placing the lights   Filling the jar with salt and placing the tree
Place the battery-operated lights in the jar   Fill the jar with salt and then place the tree in
Then pour the salt into the jar, pushing the lights down if they pop up. Rest your tree on top.

Screw the lid on, making sure not to pinch the cord for the lights too tightly. (The cord is very thin so it won't impede closing the lid.)

Your salted mason jar Christmas tree is now ready to be passed on to the hostess, the letter carrier, the teacher, the baker or the candlestick maker. You might want to make one for the person who makes appetizers wrapped in bacon too, because anyone who makes anything out of bacon is clearly deserving of a gift.

So the end of gardening season doesn't mean you have to be sad anymore. The joy of making and giving these decorative trees will help fill that void deep inside you. Besides, it's December — the seed catalogues will be arriving soon.

Happy holidays everyone. May your season be merry and bright.

Karen Bertelsen

Karen Bertelsen is a Gemini Award nominated television host who has appeared on some of Canada's major networks including HGTV, W Network, Slice and MuchMoreMusic. Three years ago she started the blog The Art of Doing Stuff (www.theartofdoingstuff.com) as a creative outlet for her writing and endless home projects. The Art of Doing Stuff now receives over half a million views per month and has been featured in
Better Homes & Gardens, Style at Home and Canadian Gardening magazines.
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