A Christmas Wreath

I love Christmas Wreaths. They’re quite unusual in the UK, so for me they’re, one of the joys of living in the USA! You can hang them inside on the wall or put them flat on the table as a centerpiece , best of all, I like to hang one on the front door to welcome friends and family to our home.

Origins

Wreaths were used in ancient Rome as a sign of victory and celebration, a commander returning victorious from war would be crowned by an evergreen wreath and would later hang it on his door as a thank you to the Gods.

For the origins of the Advent Wreath we must go far back to the pre – Christian tribes of Germany who during the long, dark days of December gathered evergreens to be made into wreaths and lit fires as a sign of hope in the coming of Spring and light renewed.  Christians kept these traditions alive and by the 16th Century both Protestants and Roman Catholics used them as symbols to celebrate Advent and their belief in Christ.

nancyalexander-traditional-christmas   The wreaths we use today are far more ornate, often decorated with flowers, ribbons and Christmas ornaments. They are available to buy, with a fabulous fresh scent, or as a dried, preserved or artificial wreaths which last from year to year. Deciding which one to choose can be a problem. Here are some guidelines, but if you’d prefer to make your own, or have one that needs to eb brightened up, don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

An all white wreath isn’t traditional, but it does have an air of sophistication. You can buy wreath bases in white, even with lights in, and you can buy silk flower wreaths made from Poinsettias, Peonies, Magnolias or Amaryllis. Use them as they are, or add metallic ornaments and a white bow. A white wreath looks fantastic on a dark front door!

If you don’t care for anything fussy and have a white or light front door, try a candy cane wreath made from dark green Oregon Cedar, eucalyptus, myrtle and red berries all adorned by a big red silk bow. When you hang it take comfort in the knowledge that if you turn it upside down it is a letter J for Jesus and was first made by a confectioner in the shape of a crook because Jesus was the Good shepherd. Full of blessings.

For a natural look, try a twig base with cedar pine cones tipped with ‘white snow’, red berries and green eucalyptus accented with a rich red bow, or for something with more greenery, look for a preserved leaf base with plenty of berries and ribbon to brighten it up.

Dried fruits and flowers will add scent to your decor. Try a wreath made of hydrangeas,lotus pods, artichokes, pomegranates, pepper berries, English lavender, sage and eucalyptus.

Making Your Own Christmas Wreaths

The Queen of wreaths and wreath making is Nancy Alexander,  of  ‘ladbugwreaths.net’.  She not only sells wreaths, she also has information on how to do it yourself.

Knowing how to make your own wreaths can not only save you money but will allow you to personalise your decor, no matter the season.

Things you will need.

  • A wreath form, wire coat hangers or a pre made base.
  • Greenery – Leaves, ferns or branches of preserved or artificial fir or spruce.
  • Flowers, berries, herbs, preserved fruit etc.
  • Satin Ribbon.
  • Lightweight floral wire.
  • Medium floral wire.
  • Floral tape.
  • Scissors.
  • Stem cutters.
  • Glue Gun.
  • Greening pins if you are using a Styrofoam form.
  • 1 Pkg.of wired floral picks.

How to Make Your Make a Simple Christmas Wreath.

Buy or make a wreath form. Forms can be found in craft stores and are not expensive; Wire forms are very easy to work with and are lightweight and easy to hang. But you don’t have to buy one of these, you can make your own by bending two wire clothes hangers into a circle, securing them together with lightweight wire and  covering it all with floral tape. Use Christmas greenery, preserved or artificial for the base covering.

Styrofoam forms are easy to work with and give you a full wreath without adding too many layers. But you will need to determine the center top so that you can add a hanger to hang it by.
Grapevine or Straw forms, it will be up to you whether you want to cover it all or leave some parts bare, it just depends what you like. Once again you will need to add a hanger to these as the vines are irregular and it may take a little time to keep it centered.

Directions for Making a Wire Hanger.

Twist medium gauge wire to make a circle in the middle of your length of wire. Push the ends along the back of the base at the point you have chosen as the center top, twisting them under and over the branches at either side. Make sure it is secure before beginning to decorate.
The next step is all about the greenery. Cut 7” lengths of your chosen greenery and wire or use a glue gun to put them firmly in place. All of them should overlap and face in the same direction and the last piece should be tucked under the first layer. Use odd numbers of your accent pieces and the sky is the limit, Christmas flowers, like ‘silk’ Poinsettias, Christmas Roses,  Pine Cones, Natural Thistle Heads, Herbs,Dried Fruit, Ribbons, Bows, Christmas Balls and Robins. What ever you choose use a Floral Pick to secure them, always use an odd number and space them evenly.

Then all that’s left is to hang your wreath and wait for the compliments.

Related articles

Here’s a snippet from Nancy Alexander to whet your wreath making appetite. Remember, you don’t have to wait for Christmas, seasonal wreaths are great at any time of year.