Gathering greenery from your backyard for Christmas decor is one of my favourite little tricks for making my Christmas decorating ideas really come to life!
Have you ever thought about gathering greenery from your backyard for Christmas decor? Or from the side of the road, or a nature trail? This is something I’ve been doing for quite a few years and the magic that this real, fresh greenery brings into my home at Christmastime never ceases to amaze me. If you have access to a little bit of green space, you can almost definitely find some amazing Christmas decor out there for free! The great thing about fresh greenery is that it also just makes everything else that you use to decorate with look so much better.
Gathering Greenery From Your Backyard for Christmas Decor
I have kind of a little tradition of going out to the backyard to gather greenery one afternoon in early December-ish every year. I usually do it on a quiet day when the kids are at school and I just take my time adding a bit here and there around the house. It’s just a really enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Here’s a photo of a recent haul in action that I shared over on Instagram.
So here’s my Christmas tablescape in my dining room featuring all that beautiful greenery.
Use Many Varieties
I’ve included a few different types of greenery in here, which I find works well if you’re really trying to create a more full, traditional-ish look. The good news is that if you don’t have access to a lot of different types of greenery, just one type displayed simply is still really beautiful, like I did with with this boxwood in these vases on the plate wall and with the cedar between the letters in the word NOEL.
The first thing you need to consider when you’re going to cut some greenery is which type you’re using. Of course, there are just so many different types, so it’s best to experiment a little bit with the specific type that you have available to you before going on all. There’s a big difference in how long different types of greenery will last before it sheds all over your house.
Boxwood, for instance, will stay intact pretty much forever, but it’s color will dull after a few weeks.
Cedar lasts for a few weeks as well, but will start to crumble and fall apart at the end of those few weeks.
Balsam Fir (or other Christmas tree species)
I used balsam fir clippings from our Christmas tree quite a bit because we usually get excited and pick a tree that’s just a little too tall and we end up trimming a little bit off the bottom. Balsam fir is really great if you can get it because it’s the only Christmas tree-ish greenery that I’ve found that really holds on to its needles for a good long time.
There’s also another type of Christmas tree-ish greenery that we have growing next to our house that I often use that will only last a few days, but it creates such a nice traditional Christmas tree look so it’s perfect for short term arrangements, like for a big family gathering one night. I use that if I don’t have any balsam fir to use.
I honestly don’t even know what it’s called, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I know how it behaves when brought indoors and I know that it’s pretty. 🙂
Harvest the Right Amount
The other thing I like to keep in mind is that I always need a lot less greenery than I think I will. A little definitely goes a long way. Outdoors, a single branch can look tiny, but then when you get it inside, that same branch will fill four giant vases, not unlike that Christmas tree we picked out.
If you don’t have access to evergreen branches, some plain branches that have lost their leaves look amazing when spray painted white, or gold, or silver. Just look around at what’s available to use and get creative! And remember, if you see nice pinecones, grab ’em! I’m always on the lookout for really nice pinecones and I’ve had my still growing collection of painted pinecones for about 12 years now. They’re still going strong! Here are a few on my kitchen table again this year. 🙂
Build up Your Collection
Another tradition that I kept with this year for the table, other than using the fresh gathered greenery, is the tradition of re-using pretty much everything else on the table and in the room. I just couldn’t bring myself not to! I love the idea of having special dishes and other table setting items that you use for Christmas and holidays over and over again. Not only is it less cluttery, but it also makes your whole family feel like “The holidays are here!” the second that you put them out.
If you’ve seen any of my past home tours, then you’ve seen these plates, placemats, and little candle holders before. I always love the way they look together, so there’s no reason to stop enjoying them now! To make things feel fresh and interesting though, I had a little idea that I thought was pretty clever. I picked up a single big spool of this beautiful red plaid ribbon and I just layered a piece of that in-between the plates and the place mat. Bam! I have a plaid-themed table just like that without having to store even a single extra dish.
Be Creative With Your Backyard Christmas Greenery
I took some of the upholstery webbing that I used as a garland for our tree and created some oversized napkin ring-type-things to keep everything together and to tie the the living room and the dining room together.
We also always use the little red and white plates that you can see on the plate wall. Usually they just go up on display on the wall and I take them down as needed for snacks and treats for the kids.
So that’s what’s been going on in our Christmas-y dining room for the Christmas season! If you’ve thought about gathering greenery for Christmas decor, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for the latest on my Christmas decor adventures including some fun previews and brainstorming sessions in Instagram stories!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.