Around New England

Third-Generation Wreath Maker Once Made 156 Wreaths in One Day

December 8, 2018

A 47-year-old Maine woman who has been making Advent wreaths since she was 7 says the most she has ever made in one day is 13 dozen.

That’s 156 wreaths. A reporter from the Ellsworth American recently watched her make a two-sided, 24-inch wreath is less than 15 minutes – “while pausing frequently to explain the process to this reporter.”

To make 156 wreaths in one 24-hour day would require an average of 6.5 wreaths per hour, or one per 9 minutes 14 seconds – with no sleep. (In a 20-hour period, with four hours of sleep, it would require an average of 7.8 per hour, or one every 7 minutes 42 seconds.)

That’s more than double the number of wreaths a Canadian woman made in Nova Scotia in November 2012 to claim the current Guinness Book of World Records record.

Audrey Gilman, of Franklin, Maine – which calls itself “the Christmas Tree Capital of the World” – learned the skill early because her paternal grandmother taught all of her 21 children to make wreaths to help feed the family in the run-up to Christmas.

She trims branches from mature balsam fir trees “with lush green foliage” that have no brown or shedding needles, in such a way that the foliage grows back fuller in two years, by cutting branches that sound like a carrot when they snap and leaving a stub for new growth, according to the Ellsworth American.

A classic wreath with pinecones, faux holly berries, and a red bow sells for $25.

How does she get the sap off her hands?

Gilman “uses a mixture of sugar and peanut butter followed by a wash with Dawn dish soap,” according to the Ellsworth American.

Christians display Advent wreaths in the run-up to Christmas to display their belief in Jesus of Nazareth. The circle represents God’s endless love and mercy, the evergreen branches reflect belief in eternal life through Jesus, and candles (if used) represent Jesus as light of the world.