The garden and local natural spaces are great sources of materials for DIY Christmas décor. I don’t make my own decorations every year, but in the past, when feeling crafty, I have made some fun pieces using what I can find outside. Here are some of my past favorites.
White Pine Christmas Wreath
My neighbor has large white pine trees that shed branches regularly. Michigan’s state tree, the white pine has long, thin, flexible needles. When bunched together, they produce a uniquely soft and feathered look.
One year, I gathered enough fallen branches to make a gorgeous wreath. I tied the branches to a wreath frame from a craft store. I used floral wire and overlapped the branches so that in the end all I could see were the pretty needles. I added just a red bow at the top and let the pine needles shine.
Pinecone Mantle Décor
Also abundantly free in my yard and neighborhood are pinecones. We have a variety of conifer trees in the area that provide a range of sizes and shapes. My favorites come from spruce trees, although I also use cones from pines.
Spruce cones have more flexible, papery scales, while cones from pines are harder and more durable. A mix of both helped spiff up my mantle for Christmas one year. I gathered several cones and sprayed them with gold or silver paint. I tied them to the mantle to make hanging decorations. It was simple and so easy to do.
For holiday meals, I like to make arrangements from characteristic winter garden materials. Some I find in my own garden, some come from a neighbor, and others I find on my walks through the woods. Some of my favorite items to put in a vase for the Christmas table include:
- Winterberry branches. This native Michigan holly is not evergreen, but it does produce stunning red berries that just scream Christmas.
- Fir branches. I like twigs from fir trees for their tight branches and short needles.
- Ivy. This invasive groundcover and vine grows in some natural areas in my neighborhood. I don’t feel bad pulling some out to add a pretty trailing element to table centerpieces.
- Red-twig dogwood. This is a native species and is a winter favorite for its red branches. I like to trim a few to add to winter centerpieces. If the timing is right, I also get white berries.
Christmas decorations are easier to manage, and certainly cleaner, when they’re fake. But, there’s nothing like foraging outside for a natural centerpiece or mantel decoration. I like to let what’s available inspire me to create something new.