‘It smells like Christmas’: Lakeville seniors create wreaths to raise money for the Council on Aging

Nov 19, 2023

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LAKEVILLE – Preparing for Christmas is a year round project for the Friends of the Lakeville Council on Aging. 

The annual wreath sale fundraiser is the brainchild of Lakeville Council on Aging board member Joann Bowes who took decorating classes and now shares her knowledge with other members.

“I’ve been doing this since I first got married,” Bowes said. “My husband worked nights, so I went to classes, for sewing, for knitting, [and] for decorating. And then when I joined the Friends, I taught them how to do this last year.”

The wreaths were a big hit when they were sold last year and this year the group has doubled their production.

“Last year… we sold out in two and a half hours,” Ewell said. “So this year we’ve just about doubled what we’re making.”

The work to make the wreaths begins well in advance of December. The first project the group focuses on is collecting pine cones for their pine cone wreaths. The pine cones have to be collected months in advance because they need time to dry out.

“Not all pine cones fall at a certain time,” Bowes explained. “The ones I have in the back room: they fall in the spring and summer.”

Then, the group sprays the pine cones with a preservative to ensure the pine cone wreaths will be preserved. 

The group also makes wreaths from green needles. “We need the greens fresh,” Ewell explained. “So we don’t have a lot of time to pick them and we don’t have a lot of time to make them.”

On Friday, Nov. 10, 12th Bristol District Representative Norman Orrall (R-Lakeville) invited the Friends to land owned by his parents to collect branches to use in the wreaths.

Orrall said that he planted Balsam Fir trees on his parents’ land and that the Balsam branches have a pleasant smell.

“Balsam Fir is known as a Christmas tree,” Orrall said. “It smells like Christmas.”

“When I was a teenager… we would go out, and my brother and I would gather greens,” Orrall added. “I know that’s how my parents grew up, and they’re thrilled to let everyone enjoy that too.”

Orrall and the Friends spent that Friday morning collecting Balsam Fir branches.

“We’re in farm country with beautiful trees, beautiful land and beautiful shrubbery,” Bowes said. “We love it.”

After collecting the branches, the Friends got together on Saturday, Nov 11 to eat apple crisp, drink coffee, and prepare to make the green wreaths out of tree branches. The pine cone wreaths, which the group had already finished making, are made by gluing pine cones to fabric that is stretched across a circular metal frame.

For the green wreaths, the Friends attach branches to circular metal frames using wires. 

The Friends of the Lakeville Council on Aging will sell Christmas wreaths, swags, and other holiday decorations on Sunday, Dec. 3 starting at 10 a.m. at the old town hall in Lakeville on the corner of Bedford and Precinct Streets

The money raised from the wreaths will be used to help the Lakeville Council on Aging, which provides a number of services to Lakeville seniors such as grants to help pay for heating bills or transportation to doctor's visits. 

“The Council on Aging has an annual budget, and sometimes they run grants,” said Linda Ewell, the President of the Friends of the Lakeville Council on Aging. “Oftentimes the budget doesn’t meet the needs of the seniors, so we run events to help fill that gap.”

Orrall said that the Lakeville Council on Aging provides important services in Lakeville.

“They’re kind of like the clearing house for the elderly in the town,” Orrall said. “If people have problems in any way, whether they’ve run low on heat or they have trouble getting to a doctor, they can call the Council on Aging.”

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Event Date: 

Sunday, December 3, 2023 - 10:00am to 3:30pm

Event Location: 

The old town hall in Lakeville on the corner of Bedford and Precinct Streets.