Dolores loves Christmas and has purchased and decorated holiday trees for private clients.
Have a Green Christmas
I love to decorate the house for Christmas. For several weeks, my home is totally dedicated to the holiday. I would like to show you some easy Christmas decorating projects that are simply and inexpensively made, often with objects on hand. With a bit of creativity, you can turn your home into a Christmas wonderland, or merely add a few decorative elements to liven things up for the holiday.
Using and rearranging common household items for holiday ornamentation is a frugal and sustainable practice. With a bit of ribbon (I've dragged the red wire ribbon around for 10 years), a few snips of evergreen, and some pine cones, you can create beautiful Christmas arrangements with a personal touch.
Outdoor Christmas Decorations
Sled in the Snow
Who doesn't have one of these wooden sleighs laying around? And if you do not have one, you can probably find one at a yard sale. Just prop up the sleigh, add a twist of wire ribbon, and hope it snows! How easy can you get? Yet, this is one of my favorite outdoor Christmas decorations ever.
When we don't have snow for the holiday, I visit our local ice skating rink. They clean off the ice and dump huge piles of it at the edge of the parking lot. They don't mind at all if I take a few lumps of ice. I place them around the front yard and around the sleigh and just pretend we have a white Christmas!
Rustic Old Sled
I like how this old sled has been painted in bright colors and hung with a pine cone wreath. Set up against the rustic white shed, this simple outdoor decoration provides an old fashioned country charm.
Winter can be such a drab time of year. Why not leave the sled outdoors all through the season?
Evergreen Boughs and Branches
The tradition of bringing in evergreen boughs at Christmas is an old one that predates Christianity in Europe. When all the trees and shrubs have lost their color, an evergreen bough is a beautiful reminder of the growing season, adding scent and color to your home. Evergreen branches can be placed in a vase, or simply arranged on a mantle or table.
A Christmas wreath made of evergreen branches creates a lovely welcome to your home when hung on the front door. The addition of dried rosemary adds to the aroma. Making your own Christmas wreath is a fairly simple project. Decorate with dried roses, rose hips, holly leaves and berries for a splash of color.
Winter Berries and Ornamental Kale
Ornamental kale can be grown outdoors in the ground or in a container in very cold weather. I like how the interior of this kale mimics a white rose. The addition of brightly colored berries creates a bright splash of red.
Outdoors or Indoors
Rosemary Christmas Tree
This rosemary plant has been pruned into the shape of a Christmas tree. I love small trees, and this is a natural way to keep a small "tree" in your home to add to the festive mood. If you have a small room or apartment, you can even use this little "tree" as a stand in for a real evergreen. The scent is heavenly!
I love how the rosemary mimics an evergreen tree. Place the pruned rosemary in bright light and in a well drained pot. Don't forget to set a saucer beneath it to catch water. Set in the shower occasionally and give it a spritz of cool water to wash off any dust.
Prune to maintain shape. When the weather warms up, after the threat of frost, plant outdoors in a container or in the ground. You can prune throughout warm months to keep that tree shape going for next year. Repot and bring indoors in the Fall. Mist after pruning.
Rosemary can remain outdoors in warm climates. If you live in a temperate climate with cold winters, rosemary can withstand winter if grown in a sheltered location away from winter winds. Plant on the south side of your home under an overhang to protect from ice and too much rain.
Indoor Christmas Decorations
Last year I made these cute Christmas sachets with some fabric scraps. The green striped and green checked material have a real vintage look. The sachets are filled with dried balsam needles. You can either save the needles from this year's tree for the next year, or do what I did when I came up with the idea.
A local Christmas tree dealer had piles of fallen balsam needles. He did not mind that I took some; he was actually quite amused. Here are the instructions:
- I spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in a 200 degree oven. After 10 minutes, I turned the oven off and let them sit for a time in the warm oven.
- It may take several spins in the oven, turning the pile occasionally. Make sure the needles are very dry before you use them. Do not actually cook the needles. Leaving them in a hot oven could cause a fire.
- Meanwhile, cut fabric squares and sew them closed, leaving one end open.
- Turn so the rough seams are inside and stuff with the needles.
- Hand sew the open end closed neatly.
Balsam needles provide that wonderful, iconic Christmas scent. I have one sachet that is 10 years old and still smells faintly of balsam.
Pine Cone Decorations
I love pine cones and have quite a collection of all sizes and types. They make such an attractive decoration because they resemble miniature Christmas trees. These are from a white pine.
Place pine cones in an old glass fruit bowl. If you don't have one, you can find one at a thrift store. Other bowls, such as transferware, milk-glass, or silver would look beautiful as well. Add some clementines or mandarin oranges and a sprig of rosemary. And, of course, add that wire ribbon for a real holiday splash.
Bronze Baby Shoes
Here is an old pair of bronze baby shoes with a couple sprigs of juniper tucked in, placed in a setting along with a silver bowl and silver creamer, some japonica, and a pretty gold comet. A friend of mine made the stained glass star.
Silver Pine Cones in a Silver Bowl
Silver and white is an attractive and elegant color combination at Christmas, a reminder of snow on a cold winter day. I turn off the lights and enjoy the lights of the Christmas tree and the reflections created by shiny silver. A few candles for added warmth break up the shadows.
This old silver bowl filled with silver pine cones adds a bit of sparkle, reflecting the light from the tree. Just spray paint pine cones with silver spray paint.
Staged Christmas Scene
I like to stage little holiday themes around the house, using common household items. When you set up an arrangement like this, it's good to remember the golden triangle, or rule of 3. Odd numbers work best in any design plan.
The little wooden pine tree, the pine cones, and the rosemary sprig all mimic a Christmas tree. I added those seed pods but I think they might look nice spray painted silver. The sachets offer a vintage touch, and the Christmas tree applique picks up the repeated theme.
Enjoy Beautiful Decorations Without the Expense
Once you get started looking around the house for items you can use to decorate, there is no end to the cute combinations you can create. Christmas decorations can be expensive, but there is no need to spend a lot of money to make your home look beautiful. Here are some final tips and ideas:
- I like a vintage look at Christmas to reflect the family traditions of the season. By incorporating old items—tea pots, old dishware, old silver plate, lace, velvet, plaid fabrics, and ribbons—you can create a vintage Christmas.
- Add natural elements to your Christmas décor with evergreen boughs, birch branches, spray painted branches, pine cones, seed pods, and dried roses.
- Take a while to play with the things that you have chosen to use. My mantle is decorated with a line of pine cones set among evergreen boughs. I thought to add some store made ornaments, but it really looked better in the simple setting with a few Christmas stockings hanging below.