Natural holiday wreaths

For the past few years, I have been hosting a holiday wreath-making gathering at my home this time of year. It is great fun so I wanted to let you know how it works in case you would like to host your own.

The fun part is inviting friends and neighbors. Since I have a rather small work area in the kitchen, I try to keep it to about 6 guests total since we'll each need room to work on our projects. I cover my kitchen table with a thick plastic tablecloth and provide a couple of large waste baskets since it can be a rather messy project. It also helps to have a few small hand pruners and wire cutters on hand.

Each attendee brings a wreath form of some sort. Grapevine wreaths are the easiest to work with because you just tuck all of your greenery into the nooks and crannies of the wreath. Wire wreath forms work well, too, but you'll have a fair amount of wiring (using floral wire) to do as you add materials to the form. Wreath forms are pretty inexpensive and you can use them year after year.

I also ask folks to bring any decorative items such as ribbon or ornaments that they will want to use on their wreath, although I always have extra ribbon on hand as well as a glue gun and glue sticks in case anyone needs to do some glueing.

But here's the best part: each attendee brings along some natural materials from their gardens, both to use in their wreaths and a little extra to share with the others. That way, folks can create unique and varied wreaths.

The types of materials I like to use include pine, spruce or fir branches; berries, if available (pyracantha berries and snow berries work well); interesting seed pods; dried flowers like hydrangeas; and some greenery like sage leaves or rhododendron branches.

And, of course, the most important part is that I'll be baking gingerbread cookies to serve along with spiced cider! (well, we need to stimulate our creative juices, right?)

I'm including a photo of the wreaths made by my friends at our first gathering, just to give you a little inspiration. If you click on the photo, you can see a more detailed view.

Happy Holidays!