Using outdoor foliage indoors at Christmas

Phantom Screens / August 3, 2016

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Don’t let the holidays stifle your creativity! Get outside and grab some foliage to bring the festive spirit of Christmas into your home. Of course the obvious place to start is with the focal point of your holiday decorations: the Christmas tree. Despite the age old arguments for and against a real tree, nothing quite beats the smell and rich foliage of a freshly cut tree.

Picking the perfect tree

Now, it may seem like an obvious thing to do, but many people forget to do this before they set off on their annual Christmas tree buying expedition: take a tape measure. Measure the height of the room where your tree will feature, keeping in mind your tree will need to be about a foot shorter than the ceiling height. And it might be a good idea to find out the size of the tree stand opening to ensure your tree will fit.

When choosing the tree run your hands along the needles and shake the tree. If it’s fresh, only a few needles will fall.

David Stenger, manager of the National Christmas Tree Association recommends five Christmas-tree varieties: balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, noble fir and Scotch pine. What’s more, the National Christmas Tree Association can come up with a list of tree farms near you! You can find them here.

Banisters and balustrades

There’s really nothing like arriving home to swags and swathes of foliage climbing up the banisters of your home and surrounding your landing. It’s one of those quintessential elements of Christmas! The great news is that these impressive garlands don’t have to be expensive and are fairly easy to DIY. Best of all, if you have fir trees and evergreen shrubs in your backyard, you’ve got all the ingredients you need to impress your guests.

Once you’ve built up a collection of cuttings and trimmings of a mix of foliage, you just need to set about joining them all together with florist wire onto a rope. It’s a bit time consuming, but well worth it for the glorious scent of fresh pine permeating your home. If you’re looking for a detailed how-to guide check out this one: How to make evergreen garland or swags.

Mantelpieces and table centers

Of course another way to feature fresh foliage for the festivities is to showcase it on mantelpieces and table centers. You can create sways of foliage to drape over fireplaces in the same way as you would create banister swags. Just remember that if you’re going to be lighting the fire, you need to keep the foliage away from the flames. Plus, the heat of the fire will dry the foliage, so you’ll need to keep the temperatures down to keep it fresh. Using LED lights in the display will help too as they don’t give off any significant heat.

For table centerpieces you can mix it up with candles, baubles, bows and anything else that catches your eye! Try to pick up colors from your table settings so you have a really eye-catching, cohesive display.

And don’t forget the front door!

Lastly, although it’ll be what your winter visitors will see first, is a wreath on your front door. There are lots of artificial wreaths for sale, but they’re not the same as a gorgeous traditional wreath stuffed with foliage, decorated with nuts and fruits and berries and topped off with a big fat bow. There’s lots of ways to create a wreath and they’re not particularly difficult to make. You just need to get yourself a frame or foam ring from your local craft store as the foundation. Google or Pinterest are very helpful if you’re looking for instructions!

Quick tips!

  • There are a few simple things you can do to keep your displays in tip top condition. The first is to only put festive foliage up a week or two before Christmas, so if you’re buying or collecting greenery do it as close as possible to when you need it. If you need to, store it outside before using it.
  • Before you put wreaths on doors, or drape garlands, soak them overnight in a bathtub filled with water so they can absorb as much water as possible. This will help keep your holiday greenery fresh. And always re-cut the ends of cuttings so they will absorb more water.
  • If you make flower arrangements, keep your flowers in the garage or outside when not on display.