Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Decorations on the Cheap Part 1: Christmas Wreaths and Swags

Okay, so confession time.  I come from a VERY superstitious family.  Like one of "those" families that you spill salt and throw it immediately over your left shoulder "for luck".  Never walking under ladders types.  I could go on about the things I was taught growing up.

I think part of it is my dad's family comes from a long line of fishermen.  "Poor as Church mice, but hard working,  God fearing sorts" was my grandpa's way of putting it.  I think the sea is in my blood (if the pure joy I get out of paintings of the old wooden ships is any indication any time I see them *laugh*) and just as surely superstition goes hand in hand with that blood.

One of the superstitions I was taught was that if you don't have evergreen hanging on every entrance to your house comes the New Year you are inviting bad luck into your home for the coming year.  This was one of those superstitions I didn't think much about but kind of thought it was a bit out there.  Until the last couple of years where we've had our share of things happening and those were the two years where I didn't have any money to purchase wreaths for the doors.  So, this year, I decided to hedge my bets and put evergreen on every door. 

You may now laugh your head off at your leisure.  I do not mind one iota *laugh*.

I didn't have money to buy wreaths this year on Black Friday weekend, so I decided to try and find the wreath form I had saved and make a wreath.  Well...I couldn't find it (I'm sure I put it somewhere "safe"'s like the "Room of Requirement" from Harry Potter, only you can never find the darned room again *laugh*).  I could have used my mom's old trick of using a coat hanger bent into a circle and then using floral wire to wrap the pine around the wire, but this leads to a three dimensional wreath, so it's kind of hard to hang on a door when you have an outer storm door to worry about (which out of four doors, I have have two of those to worry about). 

I tried to think of something else to do and came up with an idea.  I dug around in storage and found a fake wreath I had bought on clearance from L.L. Bean for like 7.00 YEARS ago, but hadn't used in a bit because it was getting kind of sparse (bits of fake greenery falling off as the years went by, etc).  And so, armed with some ideas and a tree saw, I took to my yard and decimated some tree branches today to make some decorations.

And here's what I came up with.

The wreath above is actually the fake wreath I was talking about, but with real pine sprigs secured throughout the perimeter (I just plain stuck them into the wreath as I went along and it worked great).  I then secured some wreath picks from previous wreaths I'd bought throughout the years (yes, I always grab those off before throwing things away) and a bow from a previous wreath and voila!  Front door wreath done!  I even secured some battery powered LED lights to the wreath to light it up on Christmas because I had them in my Christmas stuff from a previous year.

Next up is another "punt" when it comes to decorations.  I put this one up outside of my upper deck/kitchen door.  I ran out of wreath hangers (I had 3, but can't figure out where my fourth one went too...I almost think it got bent out of whack and I threw it away), so I hung this one on a nail by the door.  This is a fake pine swag I found at the used store a few years back for .50 and then I just secured it to some pine branches with some floral wire.  It really does look better in person than the photograph makes it seem.

And then I made two of these for the other doors.  These are straight pine from my yard that I made into swags for the other two doors with layering of pine branches and some floral wire.  They are pretty much identical with the exception that the other one has a more elaborate bow on it (I just forgot to take a picture of it).  I took some pine comes from my yard that I had dried out and allowed to open earlier in the year and wired them to the swags and then I took some cranberry wreath picks that I had and wired those in throughout the swags as well.

Now, just to be safe here I want to assure everyone I have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to floral arrangements of any type, I do not know how to make wreaths without one of those "jam in" forms that you can buy and even then I'm still trying to master that skill and I have never taken a class to help me in this area. 

So, in short, I think these look fine, but they probably are making professionals everywhere flinch *laugh*.

But, hey, they were free for me to make, so I consider it worth it.

You might not have the money to get Christmas decorations for your door, but maybe you too could doctor up a used store find, an old fake wreath or just make something out of what you have.  Just because you don't have the money to buy something doesn't mean your hands are completely tied :).  Get creative!  You might find you enjoy the process!


  1. Erika, they all look great! You are inspiring me again.
    Thank you!

  2. LOVE your wreath and door swags! You did an amazing job with the fresh greenery. I love the texture that the fake and fresh spring give. I think these are way better than anything you could purchase. You should do this every year from now on!!!

    By the way, I also come from a superstitious family, but I've never hear of the hanging evergreens bringing good luck. I thought that was very interesting!!!