Look to the Outdoors for Holiday Decorating

Look to the Outdoors for Holiday Decorating

With the holidays just weeks away, we are scouting home and garden for seasonal decorating inspirations and materials. Although, getting into the holiday spirit is easy when you look to nature. Whether you are on a strict budget or not, holiday decorations don’t have to cost a fortune when you decorate naturally. Keep in mind that if you don’t have ready access to greenery on your own property, gathering it requires permission from the landowner. But a little goes a long way, and evergreen foliage can even be recycled after the holidays to mulch perennials or young shrubs for winter protection.  

 

  • Light up an urn — Fill an urn with pine, spruce, fir, cedar,and holly and wind a string of outdoor lights through. Try a pair to flank an entry door for a holiday welcome. Add color with a bigred bow or go slightly nontraditional with silver or gold accents. A word of caution on using strings of lights on evergreens — be sure to use LED lights that do not produce heat which can cause “burn” marks on living trees and shrubs.  

 

  • Holiday wreath — Use a wreath form or repurpose a wire coat hanger to tie on small bundles of greenery. Add pine or fir cones and holly berries for accent. Dried flowers and seed pods are also nice enhancements. You can also go simple by fashioning a wreath with birch branch tips. Remember to add a generous bow for good measure. There are more places to hang a wreath than on a door. Try a single wreath or a series of small wreaths suspended from an opulent length of ribbon and hung in windows. 

 

  • Makea swag— Don’t have the time or desire to fashion a wreath? Make a swag instead. Collect a variety of greenery or gaggle of cones. Simply tie them together and add a bow or a bunch of colorful berries. If you have a decorative shovel, a piece of driftwood, for example, or other item that would make a good starting point, use that to attach your swag ingredients. 

 

  • Fresh garland — More evergreen foliage can be fashioned into a garland to drape a doorway, windows, a porch, a stair rail or mantel for fragrance and holiday sparkle when you add a string of tiny white or multi-colored lights to the garland.Accent with red berries, pine or fir cones, dried flowers,or seed pods, feathers, whatever your imagination dictates.  

 

  • Nature’s wrapping paper — Start with a can of spray paint (try gold or silver,as well as red or green), a roll ofkraft paper or plain unprinted newsprint paper. Select a variety of natural items, fern leaves, cedar, pine, or fir tips, etc. Position greenery on paper and lightly spray your natural “stencils,” moving them around to create a pleasing pattern. A little greenery tucked into the ribbon bow adds an extra, thoughtful touch.  

 

  • Fresh centerpiece and table toppers —Includethe holiday table with an arrangement you fashion from conifer cones, holly berries, and greenery. Add a string of battery-powered mini-lights, glass or other tree ornaments to suit the mood. Or pull out those pedestal dishes to stack and create a Christmas “tree” of greenery.  

 

  • Fill awindow box— Long after those geraniums and annuals in the window box have been cleared out, it is now time for them to shine again. Gather pine or fir cones, and fill those boxes brimming (If soil has been removed, fill lower two/thirds of box with something light like crushed paper or empty plastic bottles) and add sprigs of fir tips or pine. Strings of lights, a colorful bow or glass Christmas balls add sparkle and contrast.  

 

  • Grapevine tree — Wild grapevines can do more than form wreath bases. Create a series of consecutively smaller wreaths to stack or wind vines into a cone shape which can be decorated with natural accents to form a “tree.” Flexible grapevines can also be used to create large spheres to add lights to and hang from tree branches or to create stars lit with strings of lights. 

 

  • Don’t forget the birds —Wecollect good pine and fir cones whenever we see them to save and use for holiday decorations. Cones make great little bird “feeders” when packed with a suet/peanut butter mixture and rolled in birdseed. Try stringing a line of these decorative cones to give our feathered friends a holiday treat.  

 

  • Galvanize your outdoor containers with glittery galvanized buckets, watering cans,andtubs. Simply add greenery and a cheerful, red-plaid bow or glittery red or silvery ornaments, and “plant” a row of buckets along the walkway. Add battery-operated twinkle lights for a nighttime display.
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