The presence of fresh circlets of evergreens adorning doors and windows, topped with rich red bows, are perhaps the first token of the approaching Christmas season. In fact, evergreen decorations were even a part of celebrating the winter solstice thousands of years ago as a hopeful tribute to the coming spring and return of more accommodating weather.
Hanging a circular wreath of evergreens such as Fraser fir, pine, holly, or boxwood is a tradition extending as far back as Roman times when wreaths were hung on doors as signs of victory and high status. Well-to-do Roman women wore wreaths of laurel and other evergreens as headdresses for special occasions, such as weddings and celebrations. Wreaths of laurel were given to athletes to honor high achievement and performance.
Today nothing is more festive than a large, fluffy, fresh wreath with a full and bright red bow hanging on a front door to announce the start of Christmas holidays. But why stop at the front door? Why not bring that beautiful greenery inside to decorate your interior for the holidays? You can use it in so many interesting and creative ways.
For many, a wreath is a favorite Christmas decoration. Here is an easy and simple way to have an attractive, fresh wreath all season long.
Step 1 — Start with a sturdy, well-made, artificial wreath. Consider using a pre-lit wreath made of artificial Fraser fir. Decide where you would like to hang it and then choose as large a wreath as your space will accommodate. The larger the wreath, the more fresh greenery you can incorporate.
Step 2 — Cut fresh greenery from the woods and garden. Varieties to look for are holly, nandina, loquat, magnolia, cephalotaxus, podocarpus, boxwood, and any other greenery with an interesting shape or berry that catches your eye and suits your style.
Step 3 — Put the greenery in a 5-gallon bucket and completely fill the bucket with water so that all of the greenery is completely submerged. Leave the greenery in the bucket overnight to soak up as much water as possible. This very important step will pay off in the long run.
Step 4 — Go ahead and hang it. It is easier to install the fresh greenery when the wreath is hanging rather than having it lying flat on a table. Adjust the height of the wreath, and make sure you have a safe place to plug it in.
Step 5 — Take the soaked greenery out of the water and let it drain. When it is no longer dripping, choose the largest pieces and begin to add them to the artificial wreath. For example, if you are using magnolia, install this first. Make sure that the stems are long enough to stick through to the back of the wreath, but not too long where they stick out too far. If the magnolia is too heavy and needs to be wired into place, use florist wire or use the wired pieces of artificial fir, if that is the material with which the wreath is made. Step back to make sure that the magnolia or other large greenery is placed in a balanced fashion around the wreath.
Step 6 — Choose the medium-sized greenery, such as holly with berries or nandina with or without berries. If you have young children or pets, do not use greenery with any berries. Add these medium pieces to the wreath in the same fashion as the largest choices. Make sure they are securely fastened using either florist wire or the wired pieces of the artificial wreath.
Step 7 — Add the smallest (and most important) pieces for texture. These would include podocarpus, cephalotaxus, yaupon, pittosporum, and boxwood. Install them in the same fashion as the other greenery. Consider making small bundles of these branches and using them in that manner.
Step 8 — After all of the greenery is installed, step back to view the wreath from 8 to 10 feet away. Is it balanced? Does it look secure? Are any large, medium, or small branches needed?
Step 9 — Add a large, fluffy bow with long tails to add the pop the wreath needs to be a festive holiday decoration. Plug in the lights, and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season!
Monitor the freshness of the greenery weekly and replace any pieces that look dry or dead. Keep adding fresh greenery when needed to enjoy a festive focal point throughout December.