Anyone who has strolled the quaint streets of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, knows that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create amazing Christmas decorations out of things you can find outdoors or in your kitchen. Leaves, acorns, pinecones, fruit, berries, feathers, evergreen branches, grasses, pretty much anything goes when it comes to holiday decorating using items from nature. No matter where you live, you can use the beautiful remnants of nature to create decorations using natural items indigenous to your area.
Natural wreaths and other decorations look most beautiful when certain items are repeated around the wreath in clusters or patterns. The orderly patterns highlight the simple beauty of these natural objects. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Start with a basic wreath of pine or other evergreen branches wired together to form a circle. Behind the wreath, hot glue magnolia leaves around the perimeter with the points facing outward. On top of the evergreen wreath, cluster fruit such as apples, lemons, or pomegranates or space them evenly around the wreath. Add a “bow” effect by creating a cluster of feathers or ornamental grasses in a bunch and attaching them to the top or bottom of the wreath.
2. Start with a basic evergreen wreath using pine, boxwood, cedar, or whatever is readily available in your area. Hot glue shells spaced evenly around the wreath. Use clams, oysters, or even sanddollars, depending on your location. Of course, you can always purchase shells in a craft store if you are not located near the ocean. Create bunches of wild grasses or berry branches and attach evenly around the wreath in an alternating pattern with the shells.
3. Start with your basic evergreen wreath. Keep the tones in browns by using a variety of seed pods, pinecones, and magnolia fruits which look like cones. Again, cluster similar objects and attach in a repeating pattern around the wreath. Insert natural-colored feathers around the perimeter of the wreath or create a “bow” using several feathers. You might also add dried flowers in regular bunches. Even seedheads from cone flowers and black-eyed susans look attractive when clustered together in a pattern.
4. Use an evergreen or grapevine wreath as your base. Attach apples around the wreath very close to one another. At the bottom, attach a small pineapple for a simple, welcoming wreath.
5. Create a wreath by folding cornhusks over. Glue each husk onto the next in an overlapping pattern. For a larger wreath, make two rows to form an inner and outer circle of husks. Adorn the husk wreath with a few clusters of magnolia fruits or pinecones, allowing the simple beauty of the corn husks to be the focus.
The same principle of neat, repetitive designs can be used to create door swags, garlands, windowsill decorations, table centerpieces, candleholders, banister decorations, and mantelpiece decor. The beauty of nature is free and few store bought decorations can beat the classic elegance and simplicity of natural decorations created in a style that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years.