A Christmas Wreath

I love to hang a Christmas wreath on my door to welcome guests. They’re quite unusual in the UK, so for me wreaths are one of the joys of living in the USA and they’re surprisingly versatile. Christmas wreaths in different sizes can decorate windows and walls, you can hang them singly or in pairs on your front door, or you place them on a surface and use your Christmas wreath as a simple, effective centerpiece.

A Christmas Wreath by Nancy Alexander

Christmas Wreath by Nancy Alexander

The Origin of Christmas Wreaths

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.

The christmas 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 be brightened up, don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

 

Christmas Wreath Ideas

cardboardwreath-thisnext An all white Christmas 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!

allwhitewreath-christmasIf 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.

a colorful, modern christmas wreath made from ornaments.

A colorful christmas wreath made from ornaments

For a thoroughly modern look, try a wreath made from Christmas ornaments. These can be bought wired from websites like craftoutlet.com. Combine the ornaments with fake foliage and a wreath form, or push the wire into a foam ring. The results are typically modern and can be spectacular.

Making Your Own Christmas Wreath.

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  a Simple Christmas Wreath.

Buy or make a wreath form, you can find them in all craftstores, and even on amazon. 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.

 

Christmas centerpiece made from a berry wreath and three white white candles.

Christmas centerpiece made from a berry wreath and three white white candles.

Wreaths look wonderful on doors, just be careful that you use weather proof materials when placing a wreath outside, many of those you can buy from expensive stores are not weather proof, though you may not find this out until you complain!

As Nancy Alexander’s video shows, a Christmas wreath is not really difficult to make, you can get by with just an artificial blank wreath and a lovely bow, and one you’ve mastered that technique you can do the same with teardrops and swags, I’ve used swags to create a mantel decoration and a centerpiece for my Christmas table.

If you are looking for a weatherproof material, try creating a wreath from deco mesh which is generally impervious to rain (though check any ribbons you use with it).

When buying ribbon, be careful to buy large (usually 50) yard reels, these are better value, plus a bow uses a lot more ribbon than you’d imagine, even a small one!
Don’t forget that wreaths also look good hung on windows, indoor mirror and placed flat on a table, you can turn a wreath into the perfect Christmas Centerpiece, just add some candles as shown in the picture and you’re done!

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: The Nutcracker Tree.

Ever wondered why it is that florists and designers trees look better than yours? It’s likely because they work to a theme, so why don’t you? It’s fun to build a collection of ornaments and still vary your theme year by year – this time why not try a Victorian ‘nutcracker’ theme?

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