Our founder, Pat Mawhinney, was born and raised in the heart of Downeast Maine in the small town of Jonesboro, located in central Washington County. He began working in the Christmas wreath industry as a teenager, where he gathered balsam fir tips for his mother who made Christmas wreaths. He also bundled and helped ship Christmas wreaths for local wreath producers.
As a young adult Pat began a wholesale Christmas wreath business. He, along with his family, worked together to gather Balsam fir, make Christmas wreaths and other evergreen balsam products which were sold to wholesale and retail florists. It was a natural expansion for Pat to branch out to the mail order Christmas wreath business. Now Pat and his wife, Wesley, are focusing on mail order Christmas wreaths and evergreen products and have continued the family tradition of wreath making for over forty years.
Exciting news! Patrick and Wesley's daughter and son-in-law, Sadie and John Dunn, will be purchasing Maine Wreaths, Inc. for the 2015 season. One of Sadie's fondest memories from childhood is of playing in piles of wreaths, with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season upon them. After high school Sadie obtained Bachelor's and Master's degrees and spent 10 years in laboratories, the last position being in Research and Development, focusing on increasing production and efficiency. She met a John, a New Jersey native, and they were married in 2011.
John's love of the Down East area and Sadie's realization of the comfort of home, along with the appreciation of resources that we are blessed with in Downeast Maine, has brought them home. For the past few years Sadie and her husband, John, with their children toddling behind, have helped with the family business from afar and are now looking forward to a new venture in keeping the tradition going strong in Down East Maine!
Early in the fall we coordinate the wreath business buy making and purchasing local made wreaths. This process begins by purchasing balsam fir from individuals called tippers. The tippers go into the forest to gather the fir tips and bundle them together. This process simply prunes the balsam fir tree, in a way that enables the tree to grow fuller, there by allowing for the sustainability of the Christmas wreath industry. The wreath makers then wrap the balsam fir tips with wire on various sized steel rings to create the mail order quality wreaths which vary in size from 20 inch to 30 inch diameter.
After the wreaths are made they are taken to the decorating room where the decorating crew carefully attaches a green wreath hanger, and arrangements of pinecones, berries, crabapples and bows. They then place the wreath in a plastic bag, to ensure the wreath remains fresh and fragrant. The wreaths are boxed and promptly shipped to your door.
The decorating crew also creates our beautiful centerpieces and sprays. They carefully clip the boughs of balsam fir, white pine and cedar. These evergreen tips are then arranged into water soaked floral oasis. Decorations are then artfully placed to accent the centerpiece, be it traditional style or blueberry. Similarly to the decorated wreaths, the centerpieces are then placed in a plastic bag to ensure freshness. The centerpieces are boxed and shipped out to customers throughout the United States.
The office crew is made up of local friends and family who are very familiar with our Maine Wreaths products. Most of the office crew, like the owners have grown-up in Down East Maine. You will find them friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. You can even get a weather update every time you call!
Maine Wreaths, Inc. is located in Jonesboro, Maine in the heart of Washington County. We are a small coastal town that boasts that we are 50 miles from the nearest stop light. Pat, has been known to go straight threw the stop lights on the rare occasion when we do venture out to the “Big cities” North and South of us.
Maine Wreaths’ evergreen balsam fir products make an excellent fundraising project . Please contact us early so we can assist your organization with it’s fundraising efforts.
Maine Wreaths sells our decorated and undecorated evergreen balsam fir products by the case. We can ship cases of wreaths and centerpieces anywhere in the continental United States. Please call us and we can give you a price quote. Wreaths and other products sent by the case can save you a significant amount.
Our family may be very busy with the wreath business but we always seem to be able to celebrate Christmas in very meaningful and traditional ways. Christmas has always been a time that our family gathers together. No matter how far away our children may roam they always return home for the holidays. Christmas in Down East Maine is like no other place in the world. We almost always have snow for Christmas. Christmas Eve candle light church services are always well attended as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Children participate in Christmas pageants donning angel, shepard and sheep costumes. The entire town shuts down on Christmas day because every house is full of family and the only cars on the road are traveling from one family member’s homes to another.
For us Christmas memories are filled with smells, tastes and hugs. Our home is heated by a wood stove and I put on a pot of simmering spices to fill the house with the warm comforting fragrance of mulling spices. Oranges are made into pomander balls which add yet another fragrance to our home and lets not forget the incredible aroma of Balsam Fir from our Christmas tree, Center pieces and Wreaths on the door. It blends together to make Christmas a feast for all the senses. I would like to share with you some of my family’s favorite recipes. They are simple and time tested. If you would like to share some of your family’s recipes with us please email them and we can add them on for next year.
DO NOT DRINK
In a large heavy pot add the following:
1 gallon water
3- 4 cinnamon sticks
_ cup whole cloves
Combine all ingredients, place on top of wood or cook stove simmer, and enjoy – be sure to check water level and add water as needed.
4 thin skinned oranges
_ wide ribbon
Prick the entire orange with a tooth pick and insert the stem end of the clove into each hole. Leave ribbon width bands without cloves so a ribbon maybe added. Stud the entire orange with the cloves. Roll the orange in a mixture of equal parts orris root and cinnamon. Place in a dark room for 3 – 4 weeks until the orange feels light. Add the ribbon and secure. This will remain fragrant for years.
A great use of the balsam needles – this will remind you of Christmas long after the holidays have passed.
After Christmas remove the needles from your balsam fir products. Allow them to air dry for a few weeks. Sew or purchase small decorative cloth bags . Fill with balsam fir needles finish off and with matching ribbon. . Enjoy!
DO NOT EAT
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 cup thick apple sauce – store bought works best
Or any equal amounts of both ingredients depending on the quantity you need.
Mix together the cinnamon and applesauce with a spoon until the dough becomes stiff, then use your hands to form into a ball.
Put the ball of dough on a sheet of wax paper, flatten slightly.
Top with second sheet of wax paper and roll out until dough is 1/8 thick.
Use cookie cutters or templates to create ornaments – remember to make a small hole in the top for the attachment of a hanger.
Lift onto wax covered cookie sheets or cooling racks – allow to air dry for at least 24 hours until completely hard.
Attach a thin ribbon or ornament hook.
This is a simple delicious recipe. Do not even try to calculate the calorie and fat grams as it is only Christmas Morning once a year, so enjoy!
2 cans refrigerated biscuits
_ cup butter melted
_ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
Pre- heat oven 350degree – grease 12 cup fluted pan
In a large bowl mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Separate biscuits and cut into quarters, toss into the sugar/cinnamon mixture and coat well.
Arrange coated biscuits in pan
Combine butter and brown sugar and pour over biscuits
Bake for 24 – 30 minutes
Cool for 10 minutes – then invert on to serving plate.
2 Lbs. frozen hash browns (shredded – not the patties) thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz sour cream
_ cup onions chopped
1 stick butter melted
2 cups graded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Pre heat oven 350 degrees
Grease 9 X 13 pan Place hash brown evenly in bottom of pan, season with salt and pepper. In large bowl combine butter, onions, sour cream and soup. Pour over potatoes, sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.