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Ikebana Holiday Arrangements

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

-- Joni Mitchell

Japanese ikebana with pine, balloon plant and alstroemeria.

The Holiday Season is here….


Somehow, the exclamation point seems insensitive this year, even tone deaf.


The Holiday Season is here!


Even so, let's take a little joy and peace wherever we can find it. Embrace the season in this agonizing year of 2020 in whatever unfamiliar form, with whatever unexpected emotion, with loved ones or without, on a screen, in a garden, at a sparser table.


Whether in the act of creating, giving an arrangement or beginner’s kit as gift, or simply contemplating your display on a buffet, desk or windowsill, ikebana can lift the spirits and touch the heart.



Holiday arrangements have long been a tradition in Japan. They vibrantly reflect the season using easy-to-find materials and familiar colors.


Several elements commonly found in holiday ikebana are the following, but feel free to substitute based on your planting zone and lifestyle.

  • Pine

  • Bamboo

  • Japanese Plum or Chrysanthemum

Customary colors include red, green, and white. They'll spark a festive mood in any grinch. If you're celebrating Hanukkah, blue, white or purple blooms like hydrangea and lisianthus will charm. Berries and holly add a delicate note of color and interest.





Pine is the gold standard, but any seasonal evergreen can work as a stand-in and challenge your skills. Try cedar, juniper or fir. Make the most of what you have in your garden or nearby. The evergreen symbolizes long life and endurance, fitting wishes for us all this year.





Bamboo, the “prince of grasses,” represents pliancy and steadfastness. Although, we're not all lucky enough to have these majestic plants in our garden or zone, horsetail will make an appealing proxy.







Chrysanthemum embodies noble simplicity, faithfulness and love. It’s easy to find in most gardens or groceries around this time of year and there are many varieties. Other options include, poinsettia, orchid, rose, camellia, lily narcissus and freesia.


Mizuhiki cord for traditional use in celebratory ikebana.



Fun accents include mizuhiki (traditional Japanese paper cords) Christmas ornaments or candles (use with care!). You might even gild a bare branch with silver or gold for some razzle-dazzle.






Skate the river of ikebana this year. It will carry you away and, at the same time, keep you anchored.


Fervent wishes to all for a safe, happy and healthy holiday and New Year!






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