When the weather turns cold and the trees are bare outside, people through the centuries have been bringing greenery indoors to deck the halls. In milder climates (like this part of Oregon), we don't often have snow around the Holidays, so sprucing up the inside of our house adds a lot to the festivities. Holiday decorating has been a favorite pastime of mine since childhood, and I always admired the wreaths and garlands in the stores, so do-it-yourself greenery was a fun project to add to the yearly traditions. It's also a wonderful time to showcase craft projects we've made throughout our lives. My favorite ornaments are the ones my kids made in grade school and a couple I made when I was younger. The act of decorating in itself is a deeply nourishing artistic expression, and something we can look forward to as a way to acknowledge the changing of the seasons.
Right around the time we put up our tree, I use the branches trimmed off the bottom and sprigs of holly to make a wreath for our front door and a centerpiece for our table. It's a fairly simple project, requiring only a metal wreath form and florist's wire. I like to tuck in lichens and mosses, and one of these years hope to grow and add some dried flowers. I love being greeted by the cheerful sight of our wreath every time we come home.
It's also nice to set sprigs of evergreen branches and holly around candles to decorate windowsills and other spots around the house. That doesn't even require any other craft materials and is an easy decoration when you don't have a lot of time.
Mistletoe grows all around the Willamette Valley as a parasite on oak trees, and often breaks off and falls to the ground in the wind. I have a couple favorite trees around town where I look underneath and gather a few sprigs to hang above doorways in our house.
Every year we hang up the paper window stars we made when the kids were younger from white kite paper to look like snowflakes. They have held up pretty well over the years, but at some point it will be fun to make more.
My son always gets into the Holiday spirit with great enthusiasm and an endless supply of project ideas. This year he was inspired by a science project in school to make borax crystal ornaments. We made a borax solution in a bucket and suspended pipe cleaner shapes for 24 hours until the crystals formed. They turned out looking just like ice crystals, and will make some great gifts.
Our seasons table is looking very wintry these days with Queen Winter, The Polar Bear King, a snowy owl and crystals on some white silks.
Corey's mom sent us a special holiday package this year with this hand-sewn table runner. I added a doily and some vintage candle holders I found at the thrift store and created a festive centerpiece for the dining room table.
She also sent these clever cloth napkins that fold up like Christmas trees and some fun personalized place mats that look like Holiday postcards.
There was a set of handmade stockings for our family to match the one she made Corey many years ago...
And the little wooden family he helped her make when he was growing up. It's fun having these sentimental decorations from childhood to put out every year.
Although we may not have much of a winter wonderland going on outside here, that alright because we can still go hiking and pick wild mushrooms on 58 degree afternoons. We can create our own winter wonderland inside our home, and the fun of that pastime will never grow old.