paddle with Oasis cage -ideal for pew ends

The best way to get color and holiday decoration out into the nave are pew end swags or wreaths and window arrangements.  Pew ends can be easy, inexpensive swags of greenery, ivy and holly, embellished with a few flowers, ribbon or baby’s breath- or very fancy wreaths, miniature baskets or cones of flowers and greens.  You can extend the pew ends’ lifespan by using water-soaked Oasis tucked into baskets or cones.  Wired  bough swags without a water source should be put up last-minute. These will still probably last about 10 days if the greens are fresh.  The Oasis paddles shown above are perfect if fresh cut flowers will also be inserted with the greenery.  Your florist will order these paddles for you- usually in a box of 12.  Fall River Florist will have them in stock, as well as Carbone’s in Cranston. Wire, foam, or grapevine wreaths make good base mechanics for small round pew end wreaths.  If your church is located near the sea, seashells, statice and sea lavender can make a beautiful addition to your wreath.  Try to stay away from streaming tulle, cheap ribbon bows and artificial embellishments-no need to “gild the lily”!  Rosehips, sweet gum balls, small pinecones, shells, cording, lady apples, clementines studded with cloves, and other natural items make good alternatives to fresh flowers.  Dried white statice and baby’s breath will give a snow-flocked effect. 

Michael’s craft stores have a great selection of small baskets, metallic cones with wire hangers, and other small containers which are ideal.  You can line these with plastic and fill with water-soaked foam.  The new 3M Command hangers are perfect for hanging pew ends if the pew end has no opening, or you do not wish to put a nail hole in the pew.  These 3M hangers will hold up to 20 pounds and when removed, leave no mark on the surface! A container with a flat back, meant to be hung on a flat surface, will fit snugly against the end of the pew.  The Christmas Tree Shoppe and Michael’s in Warwick offer both flat-backed cones and baskets.  If you simply must have ribbon, buy the best quality  French wired, velvet, or velvet cording ribbons.  Nothing can be worse than big gaudy bows on an otherwise tasteful floral composition.  Below is a slide show of pew ends from various churches, made for different occasions.  Many are from churches in England and feature long sweeping pew ends which touch the floor to small clusters of color at the top of pew ends.  Not every pew needs a decoration.  Usually every third pew will suffice.  Pew ends are fun to make in an “assembly line” approach with 3 or more volunteers- in this way, the pew ends are completed in no time at all!