Christmas is a great time of year to bring the garden inside and create some stunning decorations. I’ve always loved using natural materials and whether they’re growing in your own garden or you forage for them on a family walk in the countryside I’m sure you’ll enjoy making them too.
These are a few of my favourite ideas which are fun to create but also won’t break the bank.
Kissing underneath a sprig of mistletoe became particular popular during the Victorian era, with a berry picked for every kiss shared underneath it! While it had ancient links to good luck and scaring off evil spirits it was also thought to help fertility. It’s thought this is how the tradition of kissing underneath it came about.
If you’re lucky enough to have mistletoe growing in your garden it generally grows on apple trees. If you don’t, see if you can forage for it, keeping an eye out for its distinctive round shape. Do check out my blog if you’d like to have a go at growing your own. It’s great for wildlife as the berries, while poisonous to us, are a great source of food for birds.
Trim sections of mistletoe from the main stalk as close to the middle as possible.
Thread roughly 30cm of garden twine between the stalks until the mistletoe has gathered together.
Tie your string off with a knot to create a loop which will be used to hang your mistletoe.
Finish by adding some decorative ribbon, either in a bow or a simple knot.
I love the combination of Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe to create this door hanging as an alternative to the traditional wreath. While Holly has a Christian history with its prickles and red berries representing Jesus’ crown of thorns and blood, it also has Pagan roots being something that was said to ward off evil but also help with fertility. Holly and Ivy complimented each other with Holly representing men and Ivy symbolising women and rebirth.
To make this door hanger, look out for interesting Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe but make sure children understand they shouldn’t eat any of the berries. With different varieties of Holly available, you might make a more child friendly version using smooth leafed Holly.
Use good quality secateurs, garden twine and some recycled, but festively decorated ribbon. I used a mixture of long trailing ivy and shorter pieces with flowers and berries which add to the density of your decoration.
If you’ve got berries and flowers on the ivy, remove the leaves nearer the base of the stalk.
Keep adding layers using the shorter foliage, trimming so each layer is shorter than the last one.
Once you’re happy with what you’ve got, tie your bunch tightly with garden string. Use a knot to create a loop to hang it on your door and finish off with an ornamental ribbon.
Hanging Christmas tree
If you’re short on space for a traditional Christmas tree, or even fancy a second one at home, I love this simply but effective alternative. When you’re out for a family walk, keep an eye out for interesting twigs and sticks of varying lengths. I found a great selection with lichen. Thinner twigs are generally easier to work with and some with small branches of the twig sticking out are useful to hang the decorations on when it’s finished.
You’ll also need garden string or wire, depending on what you’re happier working with and possibly some secateurs or a small saw.
Back at home, lay your sticks out in size order to get an idea of the shape of your tree and reduce them to size if you need to. For thinner sticks, simply snapping it or using secateurs is enough but for thicker sticks, use a saw.
Do make sure you keep children safe while you’re working and move the saw to safety when you’re finished.
Starting with the smallest twig, wrap your garden twine around it twice about an inch from one end, tying with a reef knot (right over left, left over right!) Make sure you leave about 15cm of spare twine to hang the tree and then do the same at the other end of the stick with a second piece of sting.
Keep adding sticks, deciding the distance you like between each one. Tie a little further out each time until you have a tree big enough for the space you’ve allocated.
Have fun decorating your tree with the family according to your own personal style and at the end of Christmas you will have a tree that can be easily collapsed simply by taking it off the wall and ready for next year.