A foraging trip outdoors starts the holidays off right. It’s a sure-fire way to pick some holiday spirit, and an even better way to save your money for gifts for your loved ones rather than spending it on decor.
Combine your store-bought sparkle with nature’s bounty for beautiful decorations that don’t break the bank. Low- to no-cost natural elements are the perfect addition to your decoration collection for decorating the mantle, tabletop and tree.
Turn collecting natural goodies into a scavenger hunt with the kids. Gather various sizes of pinecones, acorns, bare branches, evergreens and berries. If you don’t have any evergreens outside, you can stop anywhere fresh Christmas trees are sold and get the discarded lower branches for a low cost, or possibly for free. These work just fine to cut up for decorations. Finally, add in goodies from the grocery store like apples, popcorn, cranberries or citrus fruits. Now you’ve got the recipe for a pretty holiday home. It’s time to start decorating!
Nature on Display
Start with what you already own. Clear vases or jars, cake stands, baskets and plates turn into decorations with a bit of creativity.
Create an ornament display that is sure to become a focal point. Collect bare branches and dig into your ornament collection. Tying the baubles on bare limbs makes them stand out and really come to life. Do something as simple as these red balls on one branch, or collect several branches to place in a row of jars. You could even get a large multi-limbed branch to stand in a large floor vase.
You can also fill glass containers with pinecones and acorns. Add a bit of glam by dusting them with glitter or fake snow. Try tucking a few tiny ornaments in the glass container, too—look for a really interesting one to highlight, such as a tiny pair of ice skates or a darling little Santa.
Create a floral-shop worthy display with a combination of your natural found items and produce. This wonderfully scented decoration is easy to make. Gather up apples, oranges, whole cloves, pinecones and greenery. Select a container—a basket or bowl will work.
Begin by pushing the cloves into the oranges in any pattern you like. If your basket or bowl is very deep, stuff the bottom of it with some balls of paper. First, set in your oranges, toward the center. Arrange pinecones and apples around the oranges. Cut small pieces of greenery and tuck them in between the fruit to hide gaps or any paper that shows. Finish by accenting here and there with a bit of something bright. You can add a few tiny ornaments, colorful cranberries, sprigs of holly or a dusting of fake snow.
A low centerpiece is just the ticket for holiday dinners because you want to be able to see over it and enjoy conversations with family and friends. You can make a beautiful, simple one with your natural collection and some shiny ornament balls.
Collect pinecones, fall leaves, greenery, ornaments and a bit of paint. Check your paint stash for holiday shades of gold, silver, white, copper or red. Choose one you think compliments your ornaments. Paint the fall leaves and a few pinecones and allow the paint to dry. Leave some of the pinecones natural.
Use a flat plate or tray to hold your centerpiece. Snip evergreens in small pieces and arrange flat to cover the plate or tray. Arrange large pinecones in the center and then add the ornaments to the plate. Tuck tiny pinecones and the painted leaves around the large cones and balls.
Let It Shine
Holiday parties and family gatherings are a celebration and celebrations call for candles. Natural elements can come into play with candles. Here are a few ideas:
- Place a few cranberries and snips of greenery in a jar. Add water and drop a floating candle in the top. Add glamour by nestling them in some shiny bead garland or silvery icicles.
- Place fresh cranberries in a tall vase. Nestle a candle into the berries. Tie a pretty ribbon around the vase.
- Arrange three to five tiny votive candles on a plate with a rim. Surround them with fresh cranberries, whole nuts and acorns.
Strings of Fun
Generations of families have enjoyed stringing popcorn on thread to decorate their tree. While you can certainly do just popcorn, it’s fun to give it a glamourous touch, like adding shiny gold jingle bells or a small ornament every so often. Don’t stop with just popcorn – you can string cranberries and even gummy candies!
After the holidays are over, don’t toss out the strings of popcorn and berries. Hang them on bushes in the yard and enjoy watching the birds have a winter feast.
As an organizational expert, Lea Schneider helps homeowners get organized, but also dabbles in decorating. She provides some great tips on using nature to decorate for the holidays. Visit the Home Depot to find a great selection of Christmas decorations.