ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas -- my favorite time of the year.

Gathering with family and friends, good food and delicious desserts, the way that everyone becomes a little nicer and a little more thoughtful (something that I wish lasted throughout the year), and all of the decorating -- from the tree to the door, to the presents under the tree and the flowers that liven up the space. How could you not love Christmas?

Each year for one of the ikebana lessons in December, we do a Christmas arrangement. But to me, there is always something lacking, something that makes it not look quite Christmasy. This year, I decided that I would try to do something for myself.

It is difficult here in Japan to find nice Christmas greenery, one of the problems when doing an arrangement. I was lucky enough to find some holly and red berries. I also bought a potted poinsettia to add to the flowers. Poinsettia are not usually used in arrangements because they don't drink the water and die very quickly. I have some "magic" medicine that seems to make any flower last longer, so I thought I would try that on the poinsettia and see how they do. I think I ended up with some nice Christmas ikebana.

This is called "yosoi" or combined form.

The top is a form known as Radial Form, which stretches out from left to right, emphasizing the beauty of the branches.

The bottom is called Circular Form. This form can be viewed from any angle -- front, back, left, right, and even from the top. When viewed from above, it looks more like a wreath -- perfect for Christmas!

One of my favorite things to do for Christmas, decorate the Christmas tree. I try to do something new each year, and try to do it without spending a lot of money in the process. I think making the ornaments adds a bit more magic to the tree and makes each season's tree unique and special. I wish that I had a bigger apartment or even a house, and I'm sure I would do much more decorating. But my small Japanese apartment only allowes me to have a tree and a few assorted decorations here and there.

I love to work with paper. It's cheap and there are loads of colors and textures to choose from. I thought that this year, my theme would be circles and I would use Christmas colors only -- red, green and white. I bought several sheets of different shades and textures of the colors and started cutting circles big and small. The tree skirt I had didn't really mach the theme of circles, so I made one out of paper, too! The final effect, a whimsical and playful tree that makes me happy just to look at it.

My circle tree. The white balls of light are ping-pong balls that I cut a small X in and put over the tree lights.

The paper tree skirt. I think it looks very whimsical.

A close-up of the ornaments.
(Sorry, once again I can't figure out how to rotate the picture!)

Now if only it would snow.

Then, it would be perfect!