Christmas is the time of year when holiday decorating begins. Whether you
decorate just a little or go all out festive, you are creating an atmosphere
for those around you to enjoy. The atmosphere you create depends on
you and your individual style – whether you go bright and funky, natural and
earthy, traditional, or just plain everything and anything. Holiday greenery
including pine, balsam, fur, spruce, cedar or hemlock has a scent that has
a soothing effect and is all part of the aura of Christmas. The wonderful
thing about greens is that you can incorporate your individual style into
anything you create. If you took a walk outside and started to look closely
at all of the weeds and plants that are around you, you will see a lot of
beauty in these items.

Gather anything that catches your eye as unusual or interesting I shape
and color. Even the leaves from trees can be pressed or dried and spray-painted
in the color of your choice. They add lovely accents to any festive
decorating you are doing.

The first thing is to find a container. Any container will do. This is a great
opportunity to reuse your containers from the summer. If you have window
boxes or baskets that still contain the soil from your summer plants, you
will find the root mass in the soil to be a perfect base to add your greenery
to. It holds everything in place quite well. If you do not have soil in your
containers, you may want to attach a cube of oasis or wire in some chicken
wire. Oasis in a large container has a tendency to break so if you do use
it, it is a good idea to strengthen it up with some chicken wire.
Once you have completed that and you have gathered your greenery, it is
just a matter of putting them all together. Mixing different varieties of
greenery gives you a nice display. Scotch pine fills well, white pine gives a
soft, wispy effect; cedar has a nice contrast of green against the needles of
the other varieties. Hemlock with its blue underside is also a nice choice
for contrast, along with red twig dogwood.

Now that your greens are in place, you can add your personal touch by
choosing grasses reeds, cattails, milkweed pods, grapevine, many of
which you can find by taking a drive in the countryside. If you wish, you
can even spray paint these to create more color. A raffia bow keeps the
look natural.

For a more traditional look, incorporate bows in the color you decorate
with, ornaments, candy canes or beads. A funky look may include brightly
colored ribbon, bows and beads. Let your imagination run wild.

Making up a Christmas wreath can be as easy as you want it to be. You
may decide to purchase a fresh wreath at your local greenhouse or you
may decide to make your own. Then add your personal touches. If you like
things a little more simple, grapevine wreaths or a small white pine wreath
are simple yet elegant. This white pine wreath was very simple to make. It
only takes a few branches of white pine; wire them together to form a
circle. Add a little ribbon here and there to cover the wire, and you have it.
Along with garlands, candles are a very popular item when decorating. We
have created some arrangements with candles that you can easily do at
home. Fill tall glasses with water. Run warm water over to release the ice.
Plunk them into a container filled with snow. You could use a clay pot.
Along side this, place candles. A few sprigs of greenery can be placed in
the snow, or maybe a few glass ornaments. When the candles are lit, the
ice will glow and sparkle.

Filling containers with left over bits of berries, greens, pinecones and
branches, adding water and freezing them gives you a nice base for
outdoor candles. The trick with these items is to place the twigs to hold
down some of the greens so not everything floats to the top. Place a
plastic cup on the top weighed down with a few rocks to leave a spot for a
tea light. When the water is frozen, remove it from the container, put your
tea light into the spot where the cup was. Now wait for your guests to
come and light up the way!

This information is also available in a PDF.