On a weekend in early December, Santa sent Mike and I an early Christmas present. Something free yet priceless, the crown jewel on every parent's holiday wish list.
Twenty-four hours off. Unadulterated adult time. Just me and the man I married.
With the freedom to experience a Saturday in its entirety instead of piecemealed between naps and football schedules, we wanted to put some Fa in our La-La-La and headed downtown to Asheville Folk's Holiday Wreath Making Workshop.
Unsure of my skill but certain of my holiday spirit, I couldn't wait to make merry with other locals over cookies, mulled cider, and a craft beer or two because let's be honest: it's not a gathering in Asheville unless and until there's an ale or an IPA on hand.
We poured our cups, nibbled our sweets, and poured over the baskets of holly berries, eucalyptus, and evergreens that our hosts had prepared for us. Some chose to start with grapevine bases, others a spartan wire frame, yet we all felt firm in our belief that the more greenery the better. It's a universal truth that when you don't really know what you're doing, you find comfort in options. Kinda like finding a dress for a fancy party.
Full of confidence and cookies, our nervous energy melted away as we began to make conversation with our table mates. We cheered each other on as we worked, hunting down a spare sprig of juniper here or a lush branch of cypress there to help a new friend bring their verdant vision to life. Even Charlie Brown himself would've received praise for his en vogue minimalism, so chic in his simplicity.
What struck me about the whole experience - aside from Asheville Folk's beautiful, light-filled work space and down-to-the-detail thoughtful preparation - was the discernible spirt of camaraderie in the room. We Ashevillians like to promote the local life - live local, eat local, shop local. And while our creations were indeed "locally made" in every possible sense, the making of wreaths eventually ceded the spotlight to the making of conversation. Of connection. Of discovery.
For instance. I discovered one of my table neighbors, Corinne, is the co-host of popular YouTube channel ThreadBanger. I learned that, like me, my other table mate Ali switches to porters and stouts in the wintertime, too. I realized (or rather reaffirmed) that the people here in our mountain town are good people who do cool things. That just want to meet cool people who do good things.
The holidays always seem to remind us to make room in our lives, our minds, and our hearts for new people. New experiences, new things. Not the things that come wrapped in shiny paper tied neatly in ribbon. The "things" that take none of our money and just a little of our time. Like sharing a smile and a story with someone you know nothing about while you deduce the perfect ratio of cypress to spruce.
Yet another discovery: a shabby chic rustic wreath is a lot harder to make than meets the eye. That particular lesson we all walked away with...that, and a renewed respect for the professionals who make it look so easy!
So maybe it was harder than it looked. Maybe I left with a little wreath envy (I mean, how perfect is that classic holly number three photos down?). It was hands-down the perfect way to spend our kid-free December Saturday.
If you're like me, you're always on the hunt for how to channel that select blend of holiday spirit. The sights, the scents, the sounds...anything that sparks the feeling you felt when you were younger. Like when mom and dad let you open today's door on the advent calendar, or carry Santa's cookies to the coffee table on Christmas Eve. And while I can sport Stewart plaid and stream Tchaikovsky 'til the Times Square disco ball makes its annual descent, nothing stirred the holiday feels in me quite like knowing I was in the company of others on their own pursuit for holiday magic.
The wreaths. The cookies. The camaraderie. The spirit.
All locally made.
Inspired by the abundance of local artistry, then compounded by my obsession with seasonal silver and gold, I love accessorizing my seasonal staples with beautiful jewelry made right here in Asheville. Though my top may currently be sold out, it was my dangly ear baubles and stacked rings that garnered all the attention from my fellow wreath workshoppers and other out-and-abouters we encountered on our downtown date night.
Two things I believe in: giving the gift of glam, and supporting our small businesses. So whether you're still shopping for the perfect present or looking to spend the dough Santa slipped you in your stocking, you can shop the jewelry I'm wearing in this post for 15% off retail price with my exclusive Tony Townie discount code below.
May your days (and your jewels!) be merry and bright....
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JEWELRY: FOX & BEAUX
Earrings: 14K Gold Filled Earrings with Nepali Beads + Green Amethyst, available at Fox & Beaux
Rings: Osta Jewelry Stackable Chain Rings (Skinny & Triple chains seen here), available at Fox & Beaux
Use my exclusive coupon code TTLOVESFB to get 15% off your Fox & Beaux purchase!
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