Pine cone ornaments, citrus fruit and berry garlands, fresh greens in a wreath or on a mantle... There are many easy, cheap and pretty ways to create natural Christmas decorations. After all, there's nothing more beautiful than nature!
🎵 "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" 🎵
Well... I don't think I feel that way exactly, but I do love Christmas and all of the holiday festivities. It's definitely a wonderful time!
Last year and in years past, I didn't put much effort into decorating for the holiday season. Being a young married couple, we would always go to other people's houses during the holidays, so no one was coming over and seeing my decorations.
The longer I live, the more I realize it's important to do things that make ME happy and feel good in my home. It really doesn't matter if anyone else does or doesn't see it.
At least three positive things are accomplished when you put some effort into your Christmas decor.
- Use the creative side of your brain (which, I'm afraid, I don't use as often as I should, but it always feels great when I do).
- Appreciate the end result of your creative efforts for 1-2 months (depending on how long you keep your decorations around).
- You feel good about yourself! You did something to beautify your living space.
It's so worth it! And it's really not that hard or time-consuming, either. It does not have to be complicated!
That's one reason I love natural Christmas decorations so much. They all work together seamlessly and are easy to find and throw together. Many of them will also last until next year and probably for many years to come!
Why Put Up Christmas Decorations?
If you aren't a Christian, it's something to bring some joy and holiday spirit into the winter months as it gets colder, darker, and, let's be honest, more dreary!
Again, it's also a way to flex your creative muscles, which is so good for your brain and your mental health.
If you are a Christian and celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, decorations can serve as a beautiful reminder of the reason for the season.
For example, an evergreen tree can be seen as a symbol of eternal life, as it survives and remains vibrant through the harsh conditions that cause other plants to die in the cycle of seasons. Christ's sacrifice gives us hope for new life after death and hope for redemption from our sins. Let your Christmas tree remind you of that.
Or look at a classic, circular wreath. See eternal life made possible because of Jesus' birth and life. See the crown of thorns placed on his head before His Crucifixion, and the crown He will wear when He returns as King.
If you look, you can see symbols of Christ everywhere in the traditional Christmas decorations.
How to Make Natural Christmas Decorations
Natural Items to Use
Start by gathering a collection of natural items that can be used as holiday decorations. Many of these can be found for free or very cheap!
- Tree cookies (aka wood slices)- I have a separate tutorial on how to make DIY tree cookie ornaments. You can venture out and find your own wood and cut into thin slices, or get them online for a decent price. Many of them come with a hole predrilled, so they are all ready for crafting! Use them on their own or get creative! You can paint a festive scene or a Christmas word on each cookie ("Joy", "Noel", "Holy", "Love" and "Peace" are all good options). I've also Modpodged family pictures onto tree cookies. These also make a great gift idea. Hang them on your tree or use as a decoration or tag on your gift wrapping.
- Pine cones - Head outside and you're bound to find some, although it's best to go looking before the snow flies. You specifically want to look for pine cones, not spruce cones, as pine cones are more stiff and won't make as much of a mess. Plus, they look nicer (in my opinion). Use in DIY wreaths, as ornaments (simply hot glue some twine in a loop on the top) or as shelf decor beside other items.
- Twigs - Another free and easy to find item, if you just look around. Grab your hot glue gun and put the twigs together to create snowflakes, trees, stars, or whatever ornament shape you'd like! Attach twine in a loop on the back. Here is a great tutorial.
- Cinnamon sticks - These are inexpensive and look beautiful. I like to just place some in a mason jar or small vase for decoration, but you could also use them in a DIY wreath, attach them to a dried orange garland or make ornaments out of them! They are also a simple way to make your home smell amazing naturally!
- Twine - The most natural looking string option. Use for making ornaments, hanging wreaths, to wrap gifts, add a little bow to a jar, etc.
- Dried greenery - This can pretty much go anywhere and it will look great!
- Fresh greenery (eg. evergreen boughs, pine branches, etc) - Go to some local parks and look especially for pieces that are already on the ground. I don't recommend cutting branches off unless they are from your own trees!
- Potted plants (like the classic poinsettia) - Small and easy way to add a pop of festive color or greenery.
- Dried flowers - I dry the flowers and greenery from every single bouquet I receive. Some flowers look better dried than others, but I could usually find a use for all of them. They last forever and you can repurpose them in different ways for different holidays, or just to freshen up your space.
- Dried oranges - These are the easiest to dry and give a beautiful stained glass effect when hung on a window or in a tree with Christmas lights. Use them on wreaths, make a garland, on your tree or on their own displayed alongside other natural decor.
- Red berries (especially holly berries and cranberries) - A great way to add the classic red Christmas color to your decor in a completely natural looking way. The real thing is always best, but you can also get decently realistic and affordable faux berries.
- Beeswax candles - Has a natural yellow tint (if you don't get the dyed ones), which fits in perfectly with all the other natural colors. Beeswax candles are also the least toxic type of candle. Paraffin and soy wax candles release many chemicals and pollutants into the air when burned. Save your health and invest in 100% beeswax candles! You can even make them yourself, which is more cost effective. Learn how to make candle wicks and beeswax taper candles, and why you should switch to beeswax candles here.
- Grapevine or straw wreath form - A beautiful and natural base for making your own nature-inspired Christmas wreath.
- Wood beads - Create ornaments or garlands to string on your tree, staircase, or mantle!
Other Items that complement natural Christmas Decorations
- Ribbon - Wrap around your tree or use to hang a holiday wreath. Use the same ribbons to accessorize your gifts to create an even more cohesive look!
- Lights - A must for Christmas decorations. They will illuminate and enhance the beauty of the natural items you decorate with. You can even find very inexpensive "fairy lights", which are very small string lights that have small battery packs, so you can wrap them onto anything- wreaths, garlands, mantels, vases, you name it!
- Bells - Often a natural brass color, they add a little bit of shine. Place on your tree, wreaths, mantle, garlands... they can go anywhere!
- Ornaments - It's difficult to fill a tree with 100% natural ornaments, so it's totally okay to add others. If you want to keep a cohesive look, go for ornaments with natural colors and muted hues, like these air dry clay ornaments.
- Vases - Use naturally colored or clear glass vases to hold any flowers or greenery.
Areas to decorate
You don't have to decorate ALL of the following areas, these are just ideas of places to decorate. I'll give some suggestions of the best ways to decorate each specific area of your home.
Front porch / steps - Small potted Christmas trees are cute and inexpensive and can be decorated with many of the same natural elements you would use indoors. I don't have a lot of experience with outdoor Christmas decorations, but I know that even filling in a bit of the empty space with small hints of Christmas makes a huge impact!
Front door - A wreath on the door is a classic and beautiful choice, but you could also drape a greenery garland above the door and frame the doorway with glowing lanterns!
Entryway closet - Keep this one minimal and simple. We don't have closet doors on our entry closet, so I use a small amount of decor on the top shelf along with a family picture. I switched out a vase of dried lavender for a small vase of greenery, orange slices and a jar tied with a red ribbon and filled with cinnamon sticks,
Entryway table / shelf - A great place to add more of a little tablescape using multiple items and layering different colors, textures and heights. Use candles, pinecones, orange slices, greenery, berries, you name it!
Staircase - String a garland down your railing and accent it with festive bows or bells.
Fireplace mantle - Another great place to include multiple items to create a lovely layered look. Use objects with different heights, colors and textures. Don't forget to hang the stockings!
Christmas tree - Pull out all the stops on this one! Use all of your natural decor items plus any other decorations you have and love and have fun with it.
Bookshelves - Small decor arrangements usually work best as there isn't normally a lot of extra space on a bookshelf! Perhaps a small candle on top of a stack of books, or a small vase of berries or greenery behind a few artfully placed pinecones.
Coffee table -A larger bouquet of flowers or potted poinsettia would look great. Or create a collection of beeswax candles on a tray surrounded by pinecones, orange slices and pine branches. Nothing will brighten up your living room more!
Side table - A small surface, so use only one or two items. A candle, a vase, etc.
Above windows - Hello, garlands! Green garlands, wooden bead garlands, orange slice garlands, cranberry garlands or all of the above!
Dining table - Use tapered candles of various heights along the table and surround them with branches, cranberries, pine cones, etc. It will look full and beautiful.
Sideboard - A great place to display any seasonal dishes that you have, along with any of the natural materials we've talked about. May as well enjoy them as decor for the whole season and not just on Christmas day!
Bathroom counter / shelf - Again, using only a few small items will likely be the best choice in a bathroom. Candles are classic and timeless, but you can incorporate more natural seasonal decor if you wish as well!
Bedroom dresser / nightstands - I prefer to use a small bouquet of dried flowers, greens and maybe cranberries in my bedroom. It's simple, gorgeous and doesn't require a lot of thought or effort. However, it still makes me smile when I see it and adds to the coziness of the bedroom.
Natural Wrapping Options and Gift Tags
Use white or brown paper as your wrapping paper and you can embellish with most of the natural items listed above! Use twine to attach any pine cones, tree cookies, twigs, berries etc. Burlap also works really well as an accent. Try to get a pop of color in there somewhere, whether it's natural greenery or a red and white striped string or ribbon.
What are your favorite ways to decorate for a natural look? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
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