If you are lucky enough to have a garden or a share in a community plot then you can use things from the garden to decorate your home.
Decorating the table can transform the whole ambience of your celebrations. You don’t have to spend a fortune, why not gather a few winter stems and seed heads, pair them with some evergreen foliage and place them in a vase. If you don’t have much suitable material gather a few stems and small branches and paint them white, or silver or gold and then decorate with tree ornaments or strings of beads.
If you’ve got a Christmas houseplant like an orchid or poinsettia or cyclamen then you could place this into a planter as a table piece. Wrap the pot in gift-wrap or foil to give it a festive feel. Or find a shallow bowl and fill it with Christmas baubles, fir cones and tree decorations.
Make place markers with fir cones or homemade crackers. You can fill the crackers with packets of seed. Either split a few packets into dinner money envelopes or use seed you have saved from your garden. If you haven’t got the materials to make crackers then use little cardboard boxes, or match boxes and decorate and fill with trinkets, chocolates or packs of seeds.
Here’s a lovely idea to make with the youngsters. Instead of a list for Santa get them to make a wishing cone. All you need is a fir cone and some small pieces of paper. Ideally have a cone per person and then over a few days write down wishes and things you would like to create in your life. It can be anything from peace and harmony to laughter, chocolate or a family holiday. Write each wish on a piece of paper and roll it up and push it into the cone. You can take as long as you like to make these. It’s a lovely thing to do over the festive break and ready for New Year. It can even include your new year’s resolutions if you do them. Hang the cones on your tree until you have finished them. Then on a clear night take them outside and burn them or bury them in the garden.
If you don’t have a tree to decorate then improvise. A big vase of evergreens in the corner is just as dramatic. Or why not look outside for a shapely tree branch. You could paint it white or silver or gold and then hang your decorations from the branches.
A Christmas tree doesn’t have to be huge, have you got a potted box plant, or maybe there’s a small potted evergreen you can use instead. Keep it outside until a few days before Christmas and then bring it in for the festivities. Dress it up with a few decorations but put it back outside after Christmas. Some battery-powered fairy lights are enough to add a festive feel.
The tradition of wreaths goes back to the early winter festivals when evergreens represented everlasting life. In the same way the circle, the actual wreath represents the circle of life. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a door wreath and you don’t need a fancy frame, or anything much to make one. You can create a circlet from straight garden stems and then weave in stems of winter foliage. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like. Here’s how to make your own.