christmas decorations | new buys & old favorites

by | Oct 31, 2023 | Decorating, Holiday, Winter | 17 comments

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While I am excited about decorating for Christmas this year, I’m definitely not ready to start decorating.  I recognize that social media has joined retailers in the push to rush into the next season and there is understandably a lot of resistance to that.  We’re still enjoying fall leaves, making soup, and the early days of wearing sweaters and we’re not ready to set up the tree and go Christmas shopping.  So, I’m not sharing this post as a call to start decorating.  I decided to share this post now since I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thinking through Christmas decorating and what I might want to make and/or add this year.  You can view this post as a chance to do a bit of browsing, considering, and planning so when you’re ready to decorate, you’re ready!

For the past three months, I have been purchasing a few things each month to add to my Christmas decor this year.  The main thing I wanted to add was faux winter greenery.  I used to use all live greens, but when we moved to Minnesota and switched from hot water heat to forced air heat, it dried out in a matter of days.  It’s pretty frustrating to spend $100 on fresh greens only to have them fall apart in a crisp before you even get to enjoy them.  So, I started searching for faux greens that looked realistic.  The good news is that faux greenery has improved so much in the last ten years or so.  Gone are the flimsy plastic needles wound unnaturally around one long string of garland.  Now, you can get garlands made with molded needles and a branch structure that looks very realistic.  They are an investment, but it’s ultimately cheaper than buying fresh greens year after year.

Here are a few of the things I’ve purchased as well as some old favorites I’ve used in previous years that are available again.

Christmas decorating inspiration | miss mustard seed

The chunky knit stockings from Crate & Barrel (hanging from the mantel above) weren’t available for a couple of years, but they are back!  I’m often asked where I got them, so I wanted to share.  I have used them for the past six years and I love the way they look.  They are made well and have a classic look.  I customized the stockings with velvet ribbon and brass bells.

cozy knit stocking | Crate & Barrel

This year, I bought a few more Norfolk Pine garlands.  They really are some of the best, most realistic-looking garlands that I have found.  Since they are pricey, I’ll just add two to three each year until I have a nice collection to use each year.  I like using them on the mantel, on top of wardrobes and cabinets, over large pictures/mirrors, and around doorways.

afloral norfolk real touch garland

And, this year, I added one of the Norfolk Pine 24″ wreaths.  Since I already have a nice wreath for the front door (you can see how I customized an old wreath HERE), I’ll likely use this wreath in the kitchen.

afloral norfolk wreath

I am always on the hunt for faux juniper.  It is my favorite winter green (naturally, it’s blue & green), but it’s not easy to find a faux version that looks realistic.  I found some juniper branches available at Pottery Barn this year that look pretty nice…

juniper branches from Pottery Barn

I like that they are large enough to tuck into a vase, but they can also be used to fill out and add texture to wreaths and garlands.  I also got one juniper garland from Afloral.  It looks nice, but it is a thin garland and wouldn’t look great on its own.  It’s definitely better for cutting up to use as “picks” or to weave with another garland.

juniper garland from afloral

Because they are green and add great texture, I am feeling drawn to dried limes this year.  I’m actually working on drying my own as I type this (and I’ll share it if it works well), but I bought a pack of dried whole limes as well to use in wreaths and garlands.  I think they’d also look pretty in a bowl with nuts and pinecones.

dried limes from afloral

Over the past couple of years, I’ve used these beautiful brass birds from Terrain as ornaments and embellishments and I was so happy to see they were back again!

terrain brass gold bird christmas ornaments

I thread them on velvet ribbon to elevate them even a bit more…

While looking at their other Christmas offerings, I found this brass Merry Christmas banner.  I love that it has an antique feel and can be used in a variety of ways.  I’m not sure how I’ll use it, yet but I know I’ll enjoy playing with it and figuring out where it looks best.

Terrain merry christmas brass banner

Now, I have a lot of painting to do in order to get ready to decorate!  I hope this gave you some inspiration, though, or pointed you to products you’d like to add to your Christmas decor before they sell out.


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    1. Lee Ann

      Marian, these are great looking faux greens! Thanks for the round up. One bit of natural “flora and fauna” I love to add to my decorations are Osage Oranges (when I can find them). The bright green color and the textures are so pretty. They always add just the right natural note to holiday decorations for me. Happy decorating!

      • beverlee

        Careful with those Osage Oranges. I had one to explode in my dining room. A friend did also. No provocation…just boom. They were fresh ones. What a mess.

        • Lee Ann


          Thanks for the heads-up! Oh, gosh! I can only imagine the mess that was! So much for fermenting fruit! LOL!

      • Irene Kelly

        Each year I buy boxes of jingle bells from Target 16 bells for only $10. I tie them on packages with pretty ribbons. The brass color (and silver of other yrs) gives lots of sparkle to the packages. AND I put velvet bows on ea and tie on garlands and arrangements all over my home. They sell them every yr and a great find.

    2. beverlee

      I love it all. Those limes!!! Only you would find that. I can’t wait to see your home.

      • beverlee lyons

        You will be hard pressed to surpass the last year of your Minnesota…that picture on here is perfect.

    3. JoAnn

      Where did you purchase the brass bells? I wondered if they are still available?

      Thanks !

      • Marian Parsons

        I bought them at Target a few years ago and I wish they kept carrying them. They are so heavy and beautiful in person.

    4. Betsy

      Thank you Marion for posting these items. If you wait until mid November to order Christmas decorations more times than not they are gone. There’s nothing like a trip to Terrain and Anthropology. It’s a feast for the creative senses.

    5. Karen

      Dried limes! I love that idea! I can’t wait to hear if you had good success.

    6. Peggy

      I wanted to give two more sources for realistic juniper berry greenery. I have bought the stems from They are $7.95 and the site is currently 20% off. Another place is They have multiple items and their site is currently 25% off.

    7. Cheryl

      You can find the bells on multiple sites, even Amazon. And I have seen them on Etsy too. You can do a search and lots of choices can be found. All of the faux greenery examples shown in today’s post are wonderful.

    8. Jan

      We’ve can’t have live trees or greens in my apt bldg so I try to find faux whenever. I have invested heavily in Frasier Fur scents from Thymes. The fragrance is incredible but I only buy it on sale. Too expensive!

    9. Sandra Vigil

      I don’t start decorating until after Thanksgiving so that I too can enjoy fall colors. Social media does push pretty hard and by the time I’m ready to decorate the items I want are usually out. I do appreciate the natural and less frou frou decor. Thanks for sharing.

    10. Kris

      I love your Christmas decorating style. I’m a huge fan of the natural/vintage Christmas look.

      I have a question for you, since you have cats. We adopted 2 kittens recently and I was wondering if you have any successful techniques for keeping them out of the tree or pulling down the stockings. Our previous cat mostly slept on the tree skirt and we didn’t have many problems with him getting into the decorations, but kittens are a whole different matter! Thanks!

      • Marian Parsons

        When our cats were kittens, they were definitely into the tree and decorations. Some things, I just put away that year because the cats were making a mess with it or for their own safety. In the case of the tree, we put ornaments on the bottom branches that were okay for them to pull off and play with (wool ones are great.) We secured the tree to the wall with heavy fishing line so it wouldn’t tip if they climbed it. I also sprayed the bottom of the tree and the lights with a cat deterrent (I think it was orange) because Violet was chewing on the lights and I didn’t want a fried cat!

        They still like to play and nap under the tree, but I don’t have to take as many precautions now they are older. Just enjoy them!

    11. Sandi from Wisconsin

      Love the juniper berry garland and the limes! Just ordered both! Thanks for your tips!

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