Over the years, we have added little people and their stuff to our house, as well as purged and organized on a regular basis.
One thing I have come to truly appreciate through all the purging and organizing is simplicity. One of my favorite ways to decorate for any holiday is to bring the outside in. I have found that I can create simple and elegant holiday decor using nature right from my yard. It is inexpensive, it is lovely, it is abundant, it is renewable and I don’t have to store it when I am done using it. Can I get an amen?
Today, I will show you 3 different ways I used stuff from my yard to decorate our house for Christmas. I used all things I already had on hand (as far as dishes, other decor and paint) and only added elements from right outside my door.
Walking around, I looked closely at the landscaping that I usually take for granted, noting interesting shapes, colors and textures. I chose to work with red dogwood branches, evergreen cuttings, berries from our burning bush, hydrangeas that dried right on the bush and pussy willow.
If you don’t have much to chose from, you can go to your local park or other area to search for the same things. For example, we have a creek not too far from our house with all sorts of wonderful options growing wildly right next to it. I wish I lived further south, because magnolia leaves would be an awesome element, too! (Note: Just be sure that you’re not breaking any local laws by taking bits of nature from your neighborhood. Some cities, counties and states prohibit this.)
You may have to freshen the cuttings a few times during the season, in particular the evergreen cuttings. Try to keep them in water, as that will help, but they will dry out and need to be replaced. Luckily, the great outdoors has a plentiful supply.
My first project was a simple centerpiece. With at least six of us eating dinner each night, I prefer a simple and contained centerpiece, leaving room for dishes and such during dinner. I used a lovely wooden holder given to me a few years ago by a dear friend. I arranged a variety of the cuttings (evergreen, burning bush berries and dogwood branches) on the two side vases and left the center vase open for the dried hydrangea. The dried hydrangea was lacking that va-va-voom that I was going for, so I very lightly sprayed it with gold spray paint to liven it up. It was very easy to paint – just remember to do quick bursts of paint; less really is more.
Next up was my fireplace hearth. We already have a pine cone wreath and some other natural elements in that area. I used a vase that I always have on the hearth in a rich brown. I added in evergreen cuttings, dogwood branches, pussy willow and a hydrangea painted gold. Paired with an awesome woodpecker house from a fallen tree in our yard, it is just the right holiday touch and cost me nothing. I put the matching vase on the other side of the hearth.
Finally, I focused on the mantle.
I already had the ceramic pear and logs on the mantle from my fall decorations, so I started with those. I wanted some round shapes (like ornaments), but a little more natural, so I used these decorative wooden and string balls set into a rustic looking metal tray. To warm the whole thing up, I added three small, red vases filled with evergreen and the red dogwood branches. I think it gives it the perfect festive, yet rustic touch.
So there you have it – three decorations you can create just by using some elements from outside and things you probably already have around the house – extra bowls, vases and other containers. Be creative and have fun: You really can’t go wrong!