Seven years ago I was an Arboretum newbie, dazzled by the holiday preparations taking place on Eveland Road. Although I quickly proved inept at creating luscious bows for festive swags and wreaths, my fingers were nimble enough to help craft the grapefruit baskets, peanut butter pinecones, cranberry wreaths, and raisin icicles that would decorate the Arboretum’s annual wildlife tree. This tree sat outside the Visitor’s Center on the evening of the Candlelit Caroling Celebration, a magical event replete with delicious food, live music, and caroling along the Arboretum’s woodland paths.
With seven years of Arboretum employment under my belt, the holiday season at Adkins continues to enchant. Each December has singular memories: there was the year I convinced my dad to lead a caroling group, only to have him get lost along the way. There was the year I ran into a tree stump with the golf cart while setting up luminaries in the dark. There was also the year that the Delmarva Stargazers were on hand for a particularly amazing lunar phase, and the year a chorus of owls joined in the caroling by Paw Paw Playground.
This year’s December December 14th Candlelit Caroling Celebration promise more memories in the making. Already, while gathering seed pods for the wildlife tree, I looked up to find a herd of white-tailed deer grazing in the meadow. The Nursery is knee-deep in holly and pine boughs, and bales have been ordered for wintry hay wagon rides. Most holiday festivities remain hearthside; the Arboretum is unique in celebrating the advent of winter outside. So what if the skies aren’t clear? We can always hope for snowflakes.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator