Holidays are for our enjoyment. That’s why holiday decorations are so important. Decorate both indoors and out with all sorts of greenery and garden materials.
The outdoor decorations set the stage for what one will see indoors. Pay careful attention to doors, entryways and walkways. On porches, decks, and other entrances use lots of urns or pots filled with greenery and berried branches. Window boxes and other kinds of planters also work very well.
Evergreens in pots add a perfect touch to the holidays. Place these outdoors near entrances. Hang wreaths or baskets of greenery on the outside of doors.
Garlands look especially nice when they’re hung around door frames, columns, pillars, and posts. Wreaths are great too. These come in every shape and size.
Those who have the time can create their own wreaths using wreath forms. Just add greenery, pine cones, fruits, and other plant materials for a spectacular wreath.
Fresh wreaths are usually available at Christmas tree farms. A premium quality, well made wreath isn’t cheap. However, it will usually last throughout the winter months if you apply Wilt-Pruf.
Inside the home you can introduce a host of garden-related themes to holiday decorations. For example, I used some Debbie Mumm Christmas fabric depicting birds and bird houses for throw pillows. I also used some of the leftover fabric for a tree skirt around one of my little tabletop Christmas trees.
That brings us to another all-time favorite among holiday decorators—gingerbread houses. I really enjoy creating fantasy landscapes for these houses. Traditionally, all the decorations for a gingerbread house are edible. This is especially true if you expect to enter your creation in the National Gingerbread House Competition, which is held each year at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. You could also use dried or artificial landscape materials. The ones sold for model railroads are the perfect size.
If you’ve never created a gingerbread house before, start with a kit. These have ready to assemble pre-baked pieces, pastry bags, and icing mix.
I assemble my gingerbread houses on large Styrofoam poster boards. That allows plenty of room to create a full landscape around the house. The poster board can be rotated as you work.
Whether you’re a novice or experienced gingerbread house builder, you’ll find a new book from Clarkson Potter so inspirational. Essential for beginners, “The Gingerbread Architect” is by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman. This contains foolproof recipes, and blueprints along with illustrated, step-by-step instructions. It features plans for twelve classic American houses. From sea to shining sea, there’s a home style here for every area of the country and every era from Colonial times to the modern era.
This book will have special appeal to gardeners. The authors emphasize the landscapes. They give step-by-step directions for creating bonsai plants and other landscape features for gingerbread houses.
Though gingerbread houses are intended as holiday decorations, some of the designs in this book are timeless enough to use at other times of the year. The South Beach Art Deco house features pink flamingos and palm trees. This design would be great as a centerpiece for winter parties. The Cape Cod gingerbread house is so delightful. This has precious little window boxes filled with pink roses. So versatile, it would be perfect for any time of the year.
The authors provide all the information beginners need to know regarding equipment, ingredients, and procedures. For each of the twelve houses, there is a list of all the ingredients, a recipe, templates, and step-by-step instructions.
These projects are rated according to skill level. Novices might want to start with the Adirondack camp cabin.