Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality, representing the warm welcome, affection, and good cheer of a winning hostess. Many years ago, a gardening friend taught me to make the centerpiece shown here. Now, I can’t imagine Christmas without this family favorite.
To make your own, you need:
A ripe but firm pineapple
Paper and scissors (to make window templates)
Sharpie or other marking pen
Cookie or cake tray
Oasis (or similar wet floral foam), soaked in water
Three (or more) types of evergreen cuttings
A votive candle in a small glass holder
Make three identical gothic window templates that are roughly four inches tall and three inches wide and then pin them on the pineapple, ensuring at least 2 inches between each window by trimming the templates if they are too large. Then, use a Sharpie pen to mark the surface of the fruit.
Remove the templates and use a sharp knife, cutting toward the center of the pineapple, to carve the windows and lift chunks of fruit that can be eaten later. Then, trim the inside of the pineapple as need to remove excess pulp and to make a flat base for the candle.
Cut the block of Oasis in half and secure it to the cookie tray with florist tape. Place the pineapple on top of the Oasis, pushing it into the soft foam until it is perfectly upright. Pin it into place with florist picks, inserting the picks into the yellow flesh at the base of the pineapple and pushing them down through the Oasis.
Use a variety of evergreens to create a decorative base under the pineapple, pushing the foliage into the sides of the wet Oasis. Select one evergreen with a waxy coating (such as magnolia), one with needles (such as cryptomeria), and one with variegated leaves (such as hollyleaf osmanthus). Other types of foliage, as well as berries, can also be added.
For a simpler presentation, forego the greenery and trim the bottom of the pineapple to stand upright on a footed cake stand. Then, surround the pineapple with small fruits and nuts.
Finally, place a plain or vanilla-scented votive inside the pineapple. When lit, the fragrance of spice and fruit will make your mouth water, adding to the pleasure of the holiday celebration.