Red Berries And Hurricane Lamp Tray

If you are like me and free time is in short supply during the holidays, it is much easier to walk outdoors and clip a few things for an arrangement than to wade through crowded stores. This seasonal display based on my “make it simple” rule of holiday decorating is a snap to put together and long lasting.


  • 20″ x 14″ tray
  • 3 pillar candles (3″ x 7″)
  • 3 clear glass hurricane lamps
  • florist foam
  • florist clay
  • spray vegetable oil and cloth for shinning up the apples
  • evergreen clippings
  • pine cones
  • berried branches
  • apples

Hurricane Lamp CenterpieceStart with a low flat serving piece. I found this 20″ X 14″ galvanized tray as I was rummaging through my kitchen cabinets. The gray color blends easily with the winter palette and the nonporous surface helps protect tabletops.

Arrange 3 pillar candles on the tray and slip clear glass hurricane lamps over them. Rather than lining them up, bring the middle candle slightly forward.

Cut small blocks of floral foam to fit between the candles and the edge of the tray along the backside. Soak the foam for an hour or so until it is fully saturated and then anchor the blocks in the tray with sticky florist clay.

Let your own garden take the lead for the materials to use. I found several stems of bright red berries from my deciduous holly and inserted them into the floral foam to make a beautiful screen of color behind the hurricane lamps. Experience has taught me that berries on woody stems stay fresh if I place them in lukewarm water to condition them before arranging. Another tip is to re-cut the stems in an arrangement after about 5 days and make sure the floral foam stays moist.

For the next element, I pruned some branches from a blue juniper to create a soft bed of evergreens surrounding the lamps in the tray. The flat needles of the juniper made it easy to layer the greenery and conceal the floral foam.

Small, red apples added a nice punch of color and their rounded form offered a nice contrast to the junipers. Give the apples a nice shiny surface by rubbing them with a light coating of vegetable oil.

Finish the arrangement by sprinkling in a handful of small pine cones and tucking in a few more stems of a broadleaf evergreen, such as holly for added interest. For fun, use a q-tip to add drops of scented cinnamon oil to the pine cones, or if you prefer use scented candles.

The arrangement just takes minutes to assemble, but will last for weeks during the busy holiday season.