Ideas for decorating your home for the holidays

Local holiday greens provide an array of choices for the season.

A wreath in the center of a dining table corrals candles to great effect.

Holidays in New Hampshire mean access to the freshest and most beautiful decorative greens imaginable. Gathered from farm stands, church fairs, tree farms or your own yard, decorative greens create stellar focal points that celebrate the colors and textures of the season.

For centuries, mankind has engaged the beauty of evergreens for all sorts of celebrations. The act of cutting and decorating with greens has been linked to the winter solstice as a way to celebrate life, add color and remember the fertile world during the bleak winter season. 

Crafting with greenery has come a long way through the years. Haphazard bundles of cut greens have become elegant and fluid works of art in the shapes of wreaths, garlands and swags. You may gather greens from your yard to arrange in vases and weave into decorations, or visit a local tree farm or farm stand to purchase items that can be further embellished and personalized with seasonal botanicals, such as pinecones, pods, berries and ribbons.

Greens last for months outside in the cool air, and for a couple of weeks inside the home. Avoid decorating with fresh greens in areas that receive a great deal of sunlight, or over fire-places or woodstoves that are used frequently. In areas with heating systems or open flames, it is best to use faux greenery and add smaller vase arrangements of freshly cut greens that can be hydrated in water for long-lasting results.

For the table

For an instant centerpiece, place an evergreen wreath flat on the center of your dining table. Add clippings of cut berries, variegated pittosporum, boxwood and euonymus glued in with a hot glue gun. Fill with pillar candles for an easy focal point.

An easy swag is a bundle of fresh greens tied with a silken ribbon to hang from the doorknob.

For the front door

To a purchased wreath or bundle of greens, add sprigs of marsh berries with a mix of pine, cedar, boxwood and fir. Use a hot glue gun or wire to affix cut greens. Tie with ribbon or add a bow as a final flourish. Hang on a door, in a window or over a mirror for the most beautiful effect.

For the sideboard

Fill a vintage mixing bowl or basin with green apples. Add water to the bowl to reach 3/4 inch below the rim. Stud with sprigs of berries, juniper, cedar and euonymus so the stems are hydrated. Top with whole walnuts in the shell. Be sure to change the water every two days.

For the mantel

Start with a purchased garland (mountain laurel is nice and won’t shed) over an in frequently used fireplace or for a staircase. Use floral wire to mix in sprigs of other greens, and a hot glue gun to add pods, cones or items such as cinnamon sticks. Hang on your mantle with floral wire attached to push pins. Decorate the top of the mantel with mercury glass ornaments, spheres, cut greens and berries in vases.

Suggested greens

Hand-cut these varieties from your yard or look for cut greens at local tree farms and stands.

  • Bayberry
  • Blue spruce
  • Boxwood    
  • Cedar
  • Euonymus     
  • Fraser fir
  • Juniper  
  • Laurel
  • Pine        
  • Pittosporum
  • Scotch pine    
  • White fir
  • White pine    
  • Yew

Many churches hold “greens fairs,” where you can purchase mixed bundles of greens or fresh wreaths and decorations made from local cuttings. 

Categories: Gardening & Landscape