Have you decked the halls? Go natural this Christmas! It's time for nature's green to make a comeback. Look no further than your backyard and garden for a ready source of interesting greenery, berries, dried flower heads, and seedpods. See our ideas straight from nature!
If you don't think it's worth the effort, check prices online and you'll find that the green in Christmas refers to the color of money, not the green of nature. Take a holiday from spending and think of the store as more of a way to supplement. Beauty is everywhere, including outside your own window!
Gathering From Your Garden
Start by simply taking a walk outdoors. Gather some evergreen cuttings—which will enhance any wreath, swag, garland, or arrangement. Glossy greens such as holly, mountain laurel, rhododendrons, vinca, and boxwood look great mixed with evergreens such as cedar, fir, yew clippings, spruce, or balsam.
When choosing natural ingredients, look for color and freshness. Gently bend the needles or leaves on the fresh greens and cut them only if pliable. Avoid using brittle, limp, or faded material. When harvesting branches of broad-leaved evergreens such as rhododendron or andromeda, be aware that you may be cutting off next year's flowers, so choose them judiciously. This is a good time of year to trim up overgrown yews; their deep green needles make a fine wreath background or arrangement filler.
By now, herbs such as artemisia, santolina, lavender, and sage will have dried on the stem. Instead of evergreens, we call these ever-grays. Hydrangea flowers also dry well on the plant and make excellent accents.
Silver- or gold-edged euonymus add extra color, while dried sprays of ornamental grass lend charm and personality to a holiday arrangement. Arborvitae lasts a long time without dropping its needles, but holly stays freshest if kept in water. Mosses, lichens, and strips of birch bark add a rustic touch.
Also look for red sumac heads, rose hips, winterberry, or viburnum berries, which jazz up wreaths and greenery. Interesting seed pods from milkweed, iris, daylilies, peonies, rue, nigella, and poppies can make attractive focal points.
Cones from evergreen trees like hemlock, spruce, and pine can be added to wreaths, baskets, bowls, and even fireplaces.
Grapevine, artemisia, red twig dogwood, and stems of aromatic herbs make excellent wreath bases.
To a grapevine wreath (which you can also purchase), simply use some twine to wrap bunches of evergreens around the wreath itself.
Your end result can be a single evergreen which looks beautiful in its simplicity—or, a (more complex) wreath with a mix of greens, foliage, seed heads, and berries.
Natural Christmas Decor Inspiration
Here are some more simple ideas for natural Christmas decorations.
Fill a vase with lush evergreen branches and add some festive ornaments.
Using greens as a Christmas table runner? Simply snip pieces of eucalyptus or another green. Lay the stems down the table, with the stems meeting each other in the middle. Then, add smaller pieces across the stems to fill out the "runner." Finally add pomegranates down the runner over the greenery.
Surround tea lights in natural evergreens and pinecones. This could also work as a natural table runner—or, on a mantle or side table.
Credit: Freddy Napoleoni/Shutterstock
Add color with bright red cranberries around a candle or tea light.
Simply fill some clear jars with greenery and pinecones.
You can also turn to the kitchen for inspiration. Fruits such as apples, oranges, lemons, and limes can be sliced and dried in a low oven or dehydrator. Thin slices dry fast. Whole nutmegs or cinnamon sticks not only look good but also impart their spicy aroma. Nuts from the pantry and even whole bay leaves can be used in a wreath. Don't be afraid to improvise.
Thread a needle with twine though pieces of dried fruit and hang from your tree or window!