The Christmas holidays are a magical time of the year. Sadly, our creative festive decor results in an astounding amount of waste which goes into our landfills. Production of holiday decor is also hard on the environment, using valuable resources such as water and adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news is that it is possible to create guilt-free holiday decor that is more beautiful and less expensive than its disposable counterparts. Our gardens generously produce an endless variety of texture, colour, and fragrance for us to combine into spectacular holiday displays. Boughs, twigs, berries, seeds, and fruits can be used to create one-of-a-kind wreaths, swags, and centrepieces.

Nothing creates holiday atmosphere like the fragrance of fresh greens. They certainly smell better than plastic decor and are less toxic. Consider adding herbs like rosemary or other great smelling greens like eucalyptus to your wreaths and table displays.

Don’t forget the texture with twigs, vines, and cones to add sculptural interest. Some great selections are red twigged dogwood or willow for their colour. Corkscrew Hazel and have interesting spiraled branches and Corokia cotoneaster which has delicate spiky twigs. Twigs look magical combined with mini LED lights or woven into rustic wreaths.

Berries and seedpods provide delightful splashes of colour. Holly, Skimmia japonica and Gaultheria are great choices. Rosehips, my favourite comes in deep shades of red and orange. Dried mosses and lichens add lovely soft greens and interesting textures. They look great in clear glass vases combined with cones, twigs and mini LED lights.

Don’t forget to include the kids. There are some great opportunities for holiday crafts. Cones and seed heads such as Teasel can be transformed into any number of woodland creatures to decorate the tree.

Remember to be mindful when harvesting greens, especially in wild spaces. The greens that we might harvest also provide shelter and sustenance for wildlife. Harvest in areas that are abundant, taking only small amounts in each area. Be careful how you remove branches and use the right tools being careful not to damage trees. Know which plants you are harvesting and avoid endangered species. Decor can be composted afterward – much more positive than going to the landfill! For more tips on ethical wildcrafting, I recommend visiting sierrabotanica.com.

And for those who don’t have a garden to harvest from of time to collect their own greens, the HCP offers Wreath Making Workshops, Table Centerpiece and Holiday Gifts with Herbs. We offer the best selection of greens for our participants and best of all they have been cut and sorted for you. All participants have to do is show up and get ready to be creative. No preparation and no cleanup, just creative holiday fun!  Our instructors are eager to share their creative tips with you to make some holiday magic. 

Don’t forget to browse through our holiday selection in the gift shop. We have high-quality ornaments to add to creations. These classical ornaments are heirloom worthy and can be used year after year. 

Images are from some great examples of holiday decor found on Pinterest.

Links to Holiday Workshops

Wreath Making – http://hcp.ca/event/wreath-making-workshops-2/all/

Handmade Herbal Gifts – http://hcp.ca/event/handmade-herbal-gifts-workshop/

Festive Table Centerpiece – http://hcp.ca/event/festive-table-centrepiece-workshop-2/