Now most garden clubs would shy away from having an annual fundraiser in the month of December. We all know the viscosity of blood, sweat, tears—not to mention the time—that goes into fundraising for community betterment.
But December doesn’t stop our courageous friends over at the Garden Club of the Back Bay. Their first week of December is known as Wreath Week. For some twenty years they’ve been decorating, selling and delivering embellished wreaths. How do they do it?
First, Making the Motivation: Proceeds from the sale of these inspired wreaths benefit the trees of the Back Bay in Boston. The club plants at least ten new trees each spring, works to protect trees from disease and oversees their pruning needs. They also contribute to other tree-loving not-for-profit organizations.
Making the Sales: Over the years the club has developed a large mailing list of past buyers. Ads are also placed in local newspapers, on the club’s website and in the neighborhood association bulletin.
This year the club sold over 425 wreaths!, 246 of which were fully decorated, 23” and 31” in full fluff. The custom decorated wreaths and larger sizes need to be pre-ordered.
My contact, Francine, says “The customers pre-order the size and specify their ribbon color and accent colors. We have amazingly specific requests from customers: ‘Advent purple bow with silver accents’, ‘White bow and white Winter Wonderland accents’, ‘Blue bow and silver and white accents for Hanukkah’, ‘Wreath suitable for the Czar’, ‘Traditional red bow and all natural accents for country cottage’, etc. We’ve created seaside looks, wreaths for a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, Victorian indoor wreaths with burgundy accents, wreaths for young children. You name it. We’ve done it.”
Making the Wreaths: The committee rounds up the necessary wire, greens, lotus pods, spray paint, ribbon and participants bring along any natural adornments that inspire them. Some members bring plant materials they’ve grown and dried throughout the year.
After renting a large workroom site in the neighborhood, all is laid out and organized (including easels and wreath hangers). Makers bring clippers and scissors, apron recommended. The makings are laid out over a period of four consecutive days and evenings to accommodate decorators’ schedules 8 am to 8 pm and, no doubt, to manage bottlenecking.
Making Friends: Close to 85 volunteers participate over the assembly days. They help by decorating, assisting, delivering, phoning, working at the assignment desk, or sweeping the floor. And being hospitable, the club welcomes non-member volunteers who would like to join in the fun. Newcomers get paired with an experienced decorator or help in other ways.
Francine adds “All wreaths are subjected to rigorous quality control by volunteers who tug on each embellishment to make sure it is securely fastened, and assess shape and design. If the wreath doesn’t pass muster, back it goes for fixing.”
And you know what? I bet they all leave the premises with friendships intact. What a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
This week’s GCBB website’s daily e-mail notice features “Wreath of the Day” picture and the story behind each until New Year’s Day. Click here to visit the Garden Club of the Back Bay website.
All photos courtesy of Garden Club of the Back Bay. Thanks for sharing!
Nancy R. Peck