Wreaths and garlands of evergreens have traditionally been used to remind us that winter won’t last forever, and the world will turn green again in spring.
Today we still trim branches from fragrant firs, pines, junipers, bay trees, and hollies to decorate our doors and mantles. Their spicy scents mingle with the smells of gingerbread baking in the kitchen, and wood smoke from the fireplace, to let us know that Christmas is on the way.
You can often find garden greenery ready for the taking in your own yard. If you don’t have enough, ask a friend or neighbor whose trees or shrubs may need pruning. They’ll probably be glad to let you have the cuttings.
We used a wintery-white and silver color scheme with ornaments and tabletop decor from the Martha Stewart Living Arctic Holiday collection. If you don’t have an electrical outlet on or near your mantle, use strands of battery-powered lights to complete your scene.
2 -3 hours
MATERIALS (Styles of Christmas stockings and ribbon vary by store.)
Evergreen garland (fresh-cut or artificial)
Thin green florist wire (available in craft stores)
Pruners, if you cut your own greenery
Optional: Gardening gloves
Hook to hang wreath
1. Hang the wreath over your fireplace.
2. Measure your mantel to see how much garland to purchase or make. If you’re cutting your own greenery, use thin, green florist wire to wrap the branches together. Overlap them slightly, and keep them all going in the same direction for the best results. Weave Christmas lights through and around them, and arrange on the mantle as desired. Want to skip this step? Ready-made garland often comes pre-lit.
4. Tie ribbons to the snowflake ornaments and hang them from the garland. Add the owls, pine cones and snowflakes.
5. Stick a few of the branches into the garland. Put some in a small vase in the center of the mantle, and some in a larger vase on the hearth.
6. Put the silver trees on one end of your mantle, and other holiday decor on the other end. Design tip: arrangements look better in groups of 3.
7. Add the stocking hanger and stocking to the mantle.