I've been in the Christmas spirit more so this year than any other year and wanted to do a crafty activity with the kids and thought about that one time years ago my dad cut some pine tree branches so we could make wreaths.
This tradition of selecting and cutting tree branches for holiday decoration is known as 'tipping'. I had to leave this part of the wreath-making process to my dad because he knows what he's doing. Luckily, the University of Maine has a great resource for you to check out if you want to get in on this tradition to bring out the holiday spirit.
It's the Perfect Time for Tip Harvesting
Right now is a good time for 'tip harvesting' because balsam fir trees -- the trees chosen for 'tipping' -- are laying dormant right now due to the season. The branches are capable of not losing their needles at this time when we cut the branch.
Where To Get Your Tips
One thing to keep in mind when harvesting tips is where you are getting your bounty. You can get tips from private or corporate-owned forests. Key point- don't go on someone else's land and take 'tips' without permission.
How to Harvest Your Tips
Some tips for harvesting tips include taking branches from the middle part of the tree. And, go for 12-20 inches of the branch and leave the major stems of the tree on the tree. It's called 'tipping' for a reason. That one 12-20 inch swath of branch should provide two or three pieces to work with for your decorations.
It's an easy task since this tradition doesn't require equipment to 'snap' tips from a tree. It should just take grasping a branch and snapping it downward with a quick motion.
From there, your imagination is at play with what you do with those tips: make a wreath, garland, or a cute centerpiece. Try out this tradition if you are feeling a little extra with your Christmas Spirit.