Holiday decor at a vacation destination can add a very special touch to a guest’s experience. Here at Smugglers’, a beautiful inclusion in our holiday decor are the wreaths, swags and garlands that are made by resort employee Diane Oustinoff using natural ingredients from the gardens here and from her own backyard.
Diane is currently teaching skiing with Snow Sport University – this is her 28th season as an instructor. She also worked as the resort’s landscaping manager for many years, and it was in that position that her wreath-making efforts were launched.
She first began assembling the greenery for the resort’s holiday decor back in the early 90s. The resort used to put wreaths on the hallway doors to our condominium homes – not the best idea, as it turned out, as the needles made a bit of a mess. The decision was made to focus on our condominium building’s outer doors for wreath display, and after that Diane’s efforts quickly expanded throughout the resort.
Diane begins collecting items such a seed pods and flower heads as early as August and continues right through November. Over the years she has pared down her collecting to about 13 items: echinops flowers, artemesia, hydrangea blossoms, red sumac bracts, fern pods, baptisia pods, ornamental grasses, small red crabapples, red winter berries, white pine cones, and red pine cones. Some items are enhanced with a spray of gold, silver or red paint.
All these ingredients are grouped together and affixed to the wreaths, which come from a Vermont supplier. This process of assembling and hot gluing a spray of features to the wreath can take 20-30 minutes per wreath, depending on the size. The final addition is a bow made with a gold-backed burgundy ribbon. Diane makes the garlands and swags herself using balsam and Frasier fir, white pine, cedar and blue spruce. She works in her basement, which must have quite the piney scent throughout the fall!
All told, Diane assembled more than 60 wreaths, 10 swags, and 145 feet of garland for this holiday season. Prior to wreath-making season, she always keeps an eye out for potential future placement whenever she’s in the resort. Wherever the wreaths are placed, they are definitely a signature holiday touch that visitors to Smugglers’ admire and appreciate.