Give Your Holiday Decor a Fresh Look This Year!

A picture of a holiday wreath

Fresh greens and natural materials mixed with a little sparkle can give your holiday decor a fresh look this year!

By Steffie Littlefield

[This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener Nov/Dec 2016 issue.]

Thanksgiving is upon us and the holiday season will come screaming in faster than you can redecorate your home. Having worked for twenty years in a garden center one thing I have learned is how to recreate the holidays with a fresh look and new sparkle in the same home or shop year after year! We really treasure the fresh greens and natural materials we get from across the country every fall, but each year I look for something new that sparks the imagination of family, friends and customers.

For instance, I love to take lush fresh wreaths that smell like the forests they come from and add some personal touches to make a unique display for the customer’s front entry. There are so many natural decorative pieces that can be added to a wreath that will coordinate with other decorations or the architectural detail of the home. Starting with a basic green and silvery blue evergreen wreath, I like to add other greens that give the wreath more depth. This can be golden arborvitae, waxy magnolia leaves, or bright-variegated boxwood bundles that are then wired into the base of the wreath at balanced spaces around the circumference. Next I look for a stand out color in berries, usually cream, red, burgundy or blue. Other fruit decorations like dried apple, pomegranate or orange slices are very traditional as in a Williamsburg style wreath, and even more fruit will be used for a della robbia look. Cones are an essential part of a natural green wreath, some are natural brown, others shiny white, gold, platinum or silver with glitter and some a more natural looking gray, cream or tan. There are also a variety of sizes for pine or conifer cones, the larger fat cones are a stand out and the smaller cones in clusters are more of a supporting player in the design. If the wreath is to take on a highly visible and starring role in the home décor, it might be best to go straight to the ornaments like satin colored balls, striped candies, silver or gold bells, miniature wrapped gifts, or even small scale felt woodland animals or fairies. With these touches a specific color scheme can be replicated in the wreath. The crowning glory will be a beautiful and lavish bow. Color and texture choices are endless for this last adornment as is the placement. Should the bow be at the top, bottom or the left or right side? Oh my so many choices…

Lately I, along with other designers, have been creating unique wreaths that feature a miniature vignette or scene depicting the glory of the holidays. Last year for the Missouri Botanical Garden Holiday Wreath Display I chose a fairy theme with a Christmas tree, presents and dancing fairies decorating their forest home. Others wreaths had whole Christmas villages, birds and even owls in a winter sky. However you choose to decorate your wreath, it will be sure to brighten your doorway or wall with holiday delight!

Steffie Littlefield is a horticulturist and garden designer and part-owner of Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard. She has degrees from St. Louis Community College Meramec and Southeast Missouri State, and is a member of Gateway Professional Horticultural Association and past president of the Horticulture Co-op of Metropolitan St. Louis.