Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Soldier’s Silent Night and Fresh Pine Christmas Arrangements

I wanted to share with you a “song” that I had heard on the radio last year. This one ranks right up there with “The Christmas Shoes”! It makes me cry every time I hear it! The first time I heard it, I was on my way to the grocery store and let’s just say that it’s kind of hard to drive when your eyes are blurred with tears! I had to sit in the parking lot for a while to get composure of myself before I could head into the store!! It’s very touching!

The poem, “A Soldier’s Silent Night” was written by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1986. It was recorded by Father Ted Berndt, a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin and who was also a Marine and a WWII Purple Heart recipient. His stint as a radio host in the 40’s attributed to his succession in recording the poem in one take.

To listen to the recording, turn off the music on the bottom and then click here and then click on “A Soldier’s Silent Night” highlighted in blue.


I love the smell of fresh pine at Christmas. And since I can’t get that scent from an artificial tree, I like to make fresh arrangements.

They’re pretty easy to make. Years ago, when I was involved in our school’s PTO, we had one of our monthly meetings at a local nursery and were taught to make an arrangement. Every year since, I’ve made a few. I buy bunches of cedar, silver fir, variegated orgonia/boxwood and pine roping from my local greenhouse/nursery and use a few sprigs off of my Norway spruce from my backyard. You can use whatever greens you like or have on hand.

Here’s how you can make your own:


Container for arrangement

Wet/Fresh floral foam – do not use dry foam that’s used for artificial flowers

pruning shears

assorted fresh pines – cedar, white pine, silver fir, boxwood, spruce

embellishments – candles, berries, glass ornaments



I made my arrangement in an old box. Since I need to keep my foam wet, I put the foam in an aluminum loaf pan. If you’re using a waterproof container, you can omit the use of the pan.

Place the foam in the pan and thoroughly soak your foam by running it under the faucet until it is saturated.

I start with using the cedar first. Cut little sprigs off and stick into the wet foam - going all around your container. Try to push them in sideways, not straight up, at this point.


The next layer, I used Silver fir. Placing it randomly.


Next, I used some white pine. Just take apart some pine roping and cut a few sprigs and also place randomly.


Then I added some variegated boxwood/orgonia.


I’m adding a candle to this arrangement. I never like to have an open flame around fresh greens, so I place my candle in a mason jar.

At this point, add your glass container and keep layering until you reach the desired effect.. If you choose not to have a candle, just keep layering the greens until your container is filled in. Go back and fill in nooks and crannies wherever needed. Sprigs of White pine and boxwood are great fillers


Embellish by tucking in sprigs of berries, glass ornaments, etc.


I usually have enough greens to make a couple of arrangements, plus have some for tucking in here and there.

Here, I stuck some greens in a couple of crocks. I placed some wet foam in plastic cups and set in the crocks.



Depending how dry your home is, water every 3-4 days. Mine have lasted well into January. I change out the red berries with white ones and have little snowman heads on picks that I tuck in to replace the candy canes.

These are so fun to make!! For the first couple of years after I learned how to make these, I had fresh arrangements EVERYWHERE!! I went a little crazy!! Now I’ve toned it down to just a couple. lol

Now don’t hesitate to try this on your own!! You can do it!! If you make an arrangement, please email me a picture of it. I would love to see all of the different creations!!


I’m just about done with my Christmas decorating. Now that I have my arrangements made, the final pieces are falling into place. I’ll share more pics with you in a couple of days.

So Until Next Time . . . .Kris


  1. Kris, your arrangements are very pretty..I love fresh greens and I never really knew how to arrange until now...Thanks for the great tutorial. Everything looks awesome and can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.
    Have a great week!

    Holiday Blessings,

  2. My idea of an arrangement was to go cut off pines from my neighbors tree and throw them in a box, lol. I like how you did yours. I actually used to do things like that, and mine are not watered, so I need to replace them.


  3. love your table arrangement. i'm afraid it would make me sick as i'm allergic.but it never stopped me frm appreciating some one else's. as for the soldier's silent night,i sure hope mine's having one. he's out in the field at ft.campbell,ky. sure hope he stays dry.


  5. How neat...we have a holly tree on the edge of the drive way and your tempting me to cut off some branches:)

  6. Your arrangements are beautiful! Thanks
    for sharing....Looking forward to see
    more pictures.

    Bear Hugs~Karen

  7. Hi Kris....I love your arrangements. They are very pretty and festive! I plan on making one for my daughter-in-law this year. They make wonderful hostess gifts, too. Thanks for your wonderful tutorials. Kris, you are the best!


  8. Those are so pretty Kris! Now I have to make one too! They just say Christmas to me...perfect!

  9. I did this one year with the garden club but totally forgot about it!! Thanks for the reminder! I love them!

  10. I'm going to try this with the only 2 things I have, blue spruce sprigs and boxwood. My little trees are only 3 feet tall but I have 4 of them so I think I can get enough greenery. I wish I had a cedar. It's my favorite. Thank you for sharing Kris! I don't know what we would do without all of your great tutorials!!!! You make everything so easy for us. Hugs, Loretta

  11. Love your arrangements, Kris! So pretty....I love making fresh arrangements too...all year long!
    ...I used to work in a flower shoppe and LOVED IT!
    ...yours are just so gorgeous!!! Beautifully done ;)

  12. I love those! Thanks for the tutorial. I will definitely be trying this.

  13. Kris.....You always have the best posts on how to make the most beautiful arrangements.
    I am going to go out and pick some more greens later and follow your directions!
    Have a great day.

  14. BEAUTIFUL! I love the red candle in the mason jar too ... so festive. Great job, Kris!

  15. Hi Kris!....I can see why you are touched by that song....there's a Christmas song called "Merry Christmas With Love" sung by Clay Aiken and oh my goodness it gets both husband and me every time! It's about an elderly person having no one to share Christmas with anymore, egads does it ever tug at the heartstrings!

    Your arrangements are GORGEOUS! Love the one you have on your coffee table and the one with the candy canes is my favorite! I would buy that if I saw it somewhere! I have never seen any place around me that sells loose greens like that! They're beautiful!

    I know you all are having some severe weather today....stay safe!


  16. The greemery is Christmafabulishous! Thought I was done until I saw this post. I'll be back to see what's next.

  17. Ohhhhh...I love your ideas with the fresh greens! Everything looks awesome and thank for sharing it. I really love the first arragement, such a great idea!


  18. Ohhhh Kris these are wonderful !!! Your arrangements make me feel sooooo darn festive. I just loveeee lookin' at your eye candy. Thanks for sharin' with us.
    Prim Huggs n Blessins

  19. Oh Kris, these are stunning, thx for the tutorial! What a treat to see your lovely greens:)


  20. Your arrangements are so pretty! I took floral design classes in high school and I have always made arrangements for family members as gifts. They are fun to do and smell great!

    I confess that I couldn't listen to the song right now. I cry so easily, I just can't do it now. I will go back later and listen to it though. Some songs are just so special.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  21. Kris, I love your arrangements!! Thanks for the tutorial on how to do this, it will come in handy I'm sure. :)

  22. Kris,
    Thanks for the tutorial on the arrangements! I just love visiting your blog and your creativity inspires me! :0)


  23. Oh Kris, we are truly blessed that you are willing to show us all your tricks!
    Your talents just never stop amazing me.


  24. Thank you so much for your tutorial. I always feel so inept when it comes to floral arranging. You make it look so easy! I'm definitely going to try putting some of these arrangements together.


  25. Kris, I love your blog and the beautiful fresh cut arrangments are breath taking!!!You are SOOOOOO talented!!!
    The song about the Christmas shoes is sad but does happen that is why it pulls my heart strings!!!

    God Bless friend and Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

  26. The fist time I heard that Soldiers Christmas song on the radio, I was on my way to work. I have 2 boys that both served. I had to reapply my makeup when I got to work. I never cried so hard over a song. Thanks for posting that for anyone who hasn't heard that wonderful tribute.
    Terri/APP forum


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