The kissing ball has its origins in the ancient Druid tradition of hanging sprigs of mistletoe over doorways to ward off evil and bring health and happiness to the inhabitants. It evolved to evergreen balls with a sprig of mistletoe attached to the bottom and eventually to simple balls of evergreen boughs with ribbon or other decorative items dangling from the base. Make the American version of a kissing ball to hang in your home.
Gather an assortment of fresh evergreen boughs. Balsam fir makes an excellent choice as it is easy to work with and will stay green all winter. If you have difficulty finding fir boughs, check with your local florist. She may be able to provide a fresh supply or recommend someone who can. You can, of course, use other evergreens to make a kissing ball if necessary.
Clip boughs into 3- to 4-inch tips to use for the kissing ball. One 10- to 12-inch bough will provide many tips as the ends of each little side branch can be clipped and used in the kissing ball. Be sure the tips you cut have a sturdy woody stem. You will be inserting these into the Styrofoam ball and they need to be sturdy enough that they will push in easily.
Prepare the Styrofoam ball for hanging prior to beginning the project. Insert a piece of heavy gauge wire through the center of the ball. Use pliers to bend the end of the wire on a 90-degree angle to prevent the wire from pulling back through the ball when hung. Form a loop at the top of the ball for hanging. Squeeze hot glue into the holes on both ends of the ball to secure the wire.
Insert fir tips into the ball by gently pushing the stem into the Styrofoam. You may wish to add a small dab of glue to hold it in place, but if you insert it securely this isn't necessary. You may wish to work in sections to complete the kissing ball. Doing 1/4 of the ball at a time works well. Be sure to insert new tips close to the base of the previous one, being careful you don't get so close that you push into the holes from prior tips. This will cause the Styrofoam to crack and the ball may fall apart.
Work carefully being sure that all tips are the same length to give your kissing ball a uniform shape and size. Don't worry if you have a few scraggly edges, as these can be trimmed once you complete the base.
Cut several 6- to 8-inch sections of red ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half and wrap the wire of a floral pick around the base of the ribbon. Insert the florist pick into the Styrofoam ball at intervals until you get the look and feel you desire. Cones, sprays of berries, lace, or other ornaments can be added in the same manner.
Add 6- to 8-inch streamers to the bottom if desired. Hang from a railing or near the front door to welcome guests and to bring holiday cheer.