You don’t have to spend much to create a lovely home for the holidays. The Eco Women encourage you to skip the faux garland, plastic pine cones and vinyl wreaths sold at craft stores and Big Box stores. For almost no money and even better effect, you can find plenty to use for decorating in your own back yard. Last year Eco Lassie gave lots of ideas for using natural decorations, from pine boughs to sea shells, pine cones to berries. (And if you don’t have a back yard, many tree lots will give away the trimmings from Christmas trees or sell them cheap.)
Pine cones swathed in peanut butter and sprinkled with bird seed are still a great way to decorate your outdoor trees and feed the birds at the same time. Kids love to make these. Enviro Girl painted tiny clay garden pots green and stood pine cones inside of them to create a small “forest”‘ of Christmas trees as a table centerpiece.
Here’s an easy idea to utilize milkweed pods: Let them dry out, decorate your tree, and blow the seeds onto the branches — looks like natural snow!
If you’re a succulent fan, use purple and green succulents, such a echeveria and sedum, and gently wire them onto a live moss wreath base you’ve hydrated. To freshen the plants if they look droopy, lay the wreath in an inch of water in a sink. After the holidays, unwrap and pot clusters of the plants, or plant outside in rocky areas. A recycled wreath for your garden!
For modern or minimalist trees: here’s a garland that recycles your old newspaper. Cut several sheets of you newspaper (no color ads) into 4″ strips. Spray one side with silver paint. After drying, fold strips in half lengthwise and cut as many simple half-leaf shapes as possible from each strip. When you open the paper you should have the outline of the whole leaf. Simple pointed ovals are best. Cut 4″ pieces of floral wire for each leaf. Use spray adhesive to affix one end of the wire along the painted fold line. Make garland by wiring ends of wires to one long wire strand, twisting stems around this central line in alternating directions. You can do these in easier-to-manage sections and wire them together for length after if you prefer.
For outdoor decorating, Enviro Girl wraps lights around those tomato cages from her garden–instant “trees” lighting up her front yard. She hangs wreaths made from greens she’s cut and old wire clothes hangers–a ribbon–any kind will do–makes a festive porch or door decoration. Boughs stuffed into garden planters get paired with branches cut from dogwood and crabapple trees–bright red and deep green!
When you wrap presents in recycled brown paper, use spray adhesive to glue on green fern leaves. Add a red bow and you’re all set!
It’s easy to make a natural swag for over a doorway: Gather 3 to 5 alternating-length sprigs of any green on your property: boxwood, eucalyptus or pine work well. Fan them out to form your swag shape and wire together. Next, take kumquats and pierce one end with toothpick; wrap the other toothpick end with wire. Wire groups of three together and attach several to sway in alternating directions. Hide wires with festive ribbon and a bow. Remember those roses you dried and kept? Now’s the time to wire them together in 3′s or 5′s and add them to your swag.
Enviro Girl cuts pine boughs and greenery and stuffs them into vases and mason jars, lays them across tables and mantles and even pokes tiny sprigs into picture frames for Christmas color and fragrance. The branches off her crabapple trees are laden with red berries which add a nice accent. The bright red dogwood branches also add a pop of color, but you can even spray paint cut branches gold, silver, black or blue to mix with fresh greens.
Eco Lassie likes to use the magnolia leaves and pine cones from her trees at this time of year. They look great sprayed gold. She wires long pine branches from our pine trees to garland the stairs, then wires on clusters of the gold leaves here and gold pine cones there. For added glitz, sprinkle on glitter when the paint is wet. Enviro Girl has seen lavish garlands with fresh fruits and nuts added in with flowers.
Tell the Eco Women, what have you brought inside to decorate for the holidays in your neck of the woods?