'Tis the season: Busy work has begun to prepare for upcoming holiday season on Whidbey Island

Longtime farm hand Burt DeWees of Oak Harbor clips holly in the vast holly orchard at Henderson Holly Farm on North Whidbey Tuesday morning.  - Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Longtime farm hand Burt DeWees of Oak Harbor clips holly in the vast holly orchard at Henderson Holly Farm on North Whidbey Tuesday morning.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Although the calendar indicates otherwise, the holiday season is starting to take shape around some parts of North Whidbey.

Members of the Oak Harbor Garden Club have been on the hunt for quality clippings of Douglas Fir for their annual wreath-making project.

The pieces will come together inside a shop at a club member’s home starting Nov. 29, and the work will continue at least through the first week of December.

The group already has been taking orders and is hoping to sell 350-400 Christmas wreaths, according to club member Gail Jaeger.

The proceeds help fund the Oak Harbor Garden Club’s civic improvement and beautification projects in Oak Harbor.

The garden club, in its 90th year, makes and sells wreaths as part of its largest fundraiser.

“They are beautiful,” Jaeger said of the wreaths, which sell for $20. “We haven’t raised the price in years. The money goes back to the beautification of Oak Harbor. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Those interested in placing an order for a wreath may call Jaeger at 360-675-5723 or contact any other club member.

After they are assembled by hand and reinforced by machine, the wreaths are stored in Jaeger’s garage. Some are picked up, while others are delivered.

“It’s kind of a tradition,” Jaeger said. “I have a lot of people call me year after year.”

Another sign that the holidays are fast approaching, the Henderson Holly Farm opened its gate to the public Tuesday to begin a five-week season.

Suzie Gwost was busy constructing a 7-foot wide wreath, using fir and holly.

“They take a double-size mattress box to be able to ship anywhere,” said Rob Henderson, the farm’s owner. “We ship all over the world.”

The farm, located on East Troxell Road, sells an assortment of wreaths and swags made of freshly-cut holly and fir. Roughly 550 holly trees in seven varieties stand on the farm.

The gift shop will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until Dec. 22.

Steeped in tradition, Henderson’s farm has been harvesting holly from its orchard and making wreaths since 1952.

Another popular sight on the farm are the herds of decorative life-size wooden deer.

Henderson said the deer intially were made to “turn heads” and attract customers near the gate, but customers began requesting to buy them.

“We originally started to make them to enhance our sign,” Henderson said.

The holiday season is generally defined as beginning in late November and lasting until early January.

One of Oak Harbor’s largest holiday events is the North Whidbey Community Harvest, which is happening on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge.

A full-course turkey dinner will be served to the public at no charge. Thousands are expected for the event, which is in its 12th year.

Optional donations will be accepted at the door or checks may be mailed to North Whidbey Community Harvest, c/o Bay Printing, 1131 S.E. Ely St., Oak Harbor, WA, 98277. Checks should be made out to “Community Harvest.”

There will be no mistake that the Christmas season is near the weekend after Thanksgiving. That’s when tree lightings will take place across Whidbey Island.

It all starts unconventionally at Greenbank Farm, where a Holiday Market-Tractor Lightning takes place at 5 p.m. Nov. 29.

A “tractor tree” will be illuminated during the festivities.

Oak Harbor and Langley both will hold tree lightings in their downtown sectors on the late afternoon of Nov. 30, while the “Greening of Coupeville” doesn’t happen until Dec. 7.


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