Christmas faux-liage reviews

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Holiday37 Comments

I owe some of you an apology.  For the past few years, I have shared tips on decorating a home with fresh greens at Christmas and doled out all sorts of advice on the subject.  When I would receive questions about keeping the greens fresh, I would answer that they just need to be put it in place and left alone.  It will slowly dry, but it will look nice for a few weeks.

Okay, that was when I had hot-water heat.  Now that I have forced air, I have been introduced to the disappointment experienced when you pay good money for fresh garlands, sprigs, and swags only to have them dry to a complete crisp long before Christmas arrived.

Last year, an advent wreath I made only lasted about two days…

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

Oh, it looked so pale and droopy and sad.

 The garland on the stair banister required a 30-minute vacuuming once a day until I finally surrendered and took them down.  They looked great as long as no one touched them, walked near them, opened or closed a door, made a noise, or looked at them.

So, I knew before the holiday season was over that unless we install a whole house humidifier or took other dramatic measures, fresh greens would have to stay outside.  I reluctantly started combing post-Christmas sales for faux greenery.  I also picked up a few things in some pre-Christmas sales in October.  So, I thought I would share which ones I found that were my favorite.

These are my top two garlands.  The one on the left is the Angel Pine Garland from Ballard Designs  (I bought it on sale) and the one on the right is the Garland Pine with White Berries from Target.

They both look pretty realistic and I like how each of them brings a different color and texture to the table.

The Angel Pine looks most realistic, but it does have one downfall in that it seems to be a little delicate, so you need to handle it gently.  Sometimes the sprigs will pop off.  You can easily put them back on, but it would be nice if they didn’t come off at all.  This garland hangs well, though.  It’s floppy and doesn’t have poseable branches or a stem, making it lay more like real greens.

The pine garland does have a wired stem and branches, so it can be shaped.  That makes it more convenient for decorating, but it looks a little too perfect when compared to real greenery.  That’s easily fixed by tucking in some picks to create a more wild look.

And talking about picks, here are some that I found.  All of these are from Hobby Lobby.

 

The two that, I think, are most convincing are the pine sprig…

…and this feathery cedar branch with berries.  They both look pretty real from a couple of feet away.

This other pine comes in a close second.  It’s a little plastic-y, but you have to really get close to it to see that.  When you take a step back, it looks very nice and I like that it’s fluffy and full.

This one is a completely different texture and I debated whether I liked it or not.  In the end, I liked that it had a matte finish and a softer needle.  I’m not sure this would really work on its own, but it’ll look great as a base for some of the others.

Okay, I have no idea what this is supposed to be, but I liked the shape, texture, and color of it!  It was not in the holiday florals, but I thought the deep green color would compliment the others nicely.  This is one that I’ll likely cut up and tuck into the greenery that is more traditional.

And, this eucalyptus is at the bottom of the list.  I still thought it was good enough to purchase and mix in, but the backs give away that they are faux.  Target has a eucalyptus garland and I thought that was even worse.  Eucalyptus might be a better thing to buy preserved or dried.  This one is passable, though.

And, speaking of non-holiday florals, I also have a bunch of faux lambs ear that I bought last year and I’ll mix it in.

When picking out greens, I bunch them into a bouquet to see how they all play together.  I’m looking for a variety of colors, textures, fullness, and needle/leaf size and shape.  Picking a wide range and mixing them together will camouflage the weaknesses of individual stems and give any garland, swag, or arrangement the kind of character that comes with using fresh greenery.  Or at least it will get a little closer.

The other piece I found at Hobby Lobby that I thought was very nice was this swag…

It’s a perfect size for putting over a window, mirror, or piece of furniture, and it looks very convincing. It could also be cut into pieces to use as picks and sprigs.  Don’t be afraid to cut and customize these pieces to make them work into your design plan.

There are two other picks that I use that I really like, but I know remember where I bought them.  I have had both of them for several years and I’ve tucked them into fresh greenery.  I like the soft, sage color of the top one and the berries on the one below.  The green is a little bright, but the realistic berries make up for that!

Here is my dining room chandelier decked out in faux greens…

  

It’s not quite as loose and wild as fresh, but I’ll tell you that it’s a heck of a lot neater and I know I won’t have to dismantle it before Christmas day!

Since this is my first year using faux greens in this house, I’ll figure out where the pieces will go and when I put them away for the season, I’ll keep them together in a bag and label them.  It’ll make decorating a little bit easier for next year.

I haven’t bought any of them, but there are also some beautiful greens at Terrain.  I especially love the Rosemary Garland.  They are pretty pricey, though, so I’m going to hold out and see if they go on sale.  Well, I’ll also wait to see if I actually need any more.  I might have more than enough.  I’m going to try really hard this year to not buy new decorations I don’t need, simply because I like them.  Everything has to be stored and I should only be storing stuff I love and will actually use.

Once I really start decorating, I’ll show you how the garlands and arrangements are turning out!

 

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas faux-liage reviews

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37 Comments on “Christmas faux-liage reviews”

  1. How timely! I just received the Angel Pine Garland from Ballard Designs yesterday. I will make sure to be gentle with it when decorating. I don’t decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving so it will be in it’s shipping box until then. It does look amazingly real! (I was a surprised by what I felt were high shipping costs but figured this garland should last a good, long while) It was on sale for 25% off last week. It has excellent reviews and now your endorsement as well!

  2. I swear I’d look 10 years younger if I hadn’t lived with forced-air heat all of the winters of my life. My poor son was getting nose-bleeds at night until we put a humidifier in. One more reason I wish I had an old house with radiators! There are so many beautiful fake greens these days, and are the way to go if you have to have room to store them.

    1. Yeah, those radiators were annoying sometimes (they ran around the baseboards and felt intrusive in some rooms), but they put off the best heat!

  3. Looking good!! I only WISH we had such faux greens available up here in the Great White North. I learned 30 years ago though that real greens won’t survive unless they are in water indoors. They also dry up fairly quickly outdoors too. Of course, real greens are also in great abundance up here but to actually buy them is an outrageous fortune to spend. It makes it much more sensible to spend money on very realistic faux greens. I keep my eyes peeled for them every year, but alas, without stores like Hobby Lobby and the like, there is rarely a good specimen to be had.

    1. I think I got those are Hobby Lobby as well. They are great to use for Advent Wreath candles.

  4. We haven’t had fresh greens for decades after one memorable Christmas. We came home from a two-day visit with family, so the tree wasn’t watered while we were away, and it was brown from top to bottom. We were relieved that the lights didn’t ignite it and burn down our house. I developed an allergy to pine sap, so the only real greenery is the Boy Scout wreath outside on our door. So thank you for acknowledging that fresh greens aren’t always practical.

  5. This is an interesting post from a technical standpoint. I didn’t know about the different kinds of heat! Forced air gas here!

  6. The chandelier looks beautiful!! Do you have a tutorial for adding greenery (faux and/or real) to chandeliers? I imagine it’s not a difficult process but any tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Heidi, I’m not any sort of decorator, and I used to think my chandelier would turn out looking terrible, but it’s really EASY. Just start putting the larger branches evenly around your fixture until there is a sort of framework of branches all around it. Then stick in other branches under and over and maybe intertwined with the arms of the chandelier. Just fiddle a little bit and stand back to look at it. It almost always looks great without fuss!

  7. I also live in Minnesota with forced air heat, and while I don’t do fresh stairway garlands any longer (far too messy), I do use fresh greenery on my chandeliers. I don’t put them up until after Thanksgiving, but other than that, once they are up there, they are fine, since no one touches them and I’m careful not to have any parts touch light bulbs. When I take it down in January, it IS a mess, but it’s easy to clean up.

  8. Thanks for all the pictures of greenery and how you decorate with them. It will be helpful when i shop to pick some out.

  9. Imagine trying to keep real greens fresh looking in the Australian Summer – which is when Christmas is for us.

    Faux greens are the way to go for me, but the downside though using them is the lack of choice and quality over here. Combine that with living in a rural area like I do & you have no choice but to shop online. I would love to be able to go to a Hobby Lobby (none of those over here) & pick out the realistic options, but I end up with hit & miss online ordering.

    We do have Pottery Barn that sometimes has some nice things, but with a minimum postage charge of $24.95 – it’s not very economical if you just want a single item!

    But on the bright side I do have a tonne of real pine cones from all the pine tress on our property, so that’s a plus! 🙂

    1. Yes, a ton of pinecones is a plus! That is a bummer, though, about the lack of sources for faux greens and they are hit or miss when you buy them online.

  10. Hi Marian,
    Looks absolutely beautiful. Your dining room chandelier gave me an idea for my dining room as I have used the smaller faux greens with the berries along a runner on my dining table.

  11. Thank you for this post. I have felt for a long time that bloggers were a bit snobby about faux greenery. I have had to use faux greens for years because my family has allergies. Brining anything that qualifies a a cut green sends my children straight into asthma attacks. Luckily, the quality and appearance of faux greenery has improved greatly over the years.

  12. I gave up on using fresh greenery years ago! It was just too messy and expensive to keep replacing through the season. However, I still use fresh greenery outside. The greenery you featured is some of the most realistic I have seen!

  13. I know this is no problem for you because you take lots of pictures. How about taking up close and personal pictures of all your greenery in place. Tuck the pictures in your storage bags so next year you won’t be scratching your head. But knowing you, you will probably will have some new ideas for arrangement.

    I think I need a trip to Hobby Lobby! They are new to New Hampshire and I love the way the store is laid out. It seems to be a very peaceful store and not a
    chaotic frenzy.

  14. I don’t know if it would work with the pines and cedars, but my mother used to hydrate eucalyptus sprigs in glycerin water to keep them fresh when she was using them in an arrangement that didn’t involve water. She’d mash the ends a bit first, and set them in the water mixture for about 24 hours.
    The included link mentions a couple of problems that I don’t remember her having — such as dripping — so it would be good to consider the possibility when deciding where to use them.
    https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p3039.pdf

  15. I tried a real tree when we first moved to this house. The forced air heat pump killed it in a couple of days. Have you ever put real pine cones in a bucket with bleach and water? I just saw this on the internet. They looked so pretty almost like they had snow on them. They were totally white. Has anyone ever tried this?

  16. I love real greenery, however a little goes a long way. I prefer simpler decor. Life is too short to continue with all the holiday decorating only to take it all down after the holiday. Less is more.

  17. My husband and I discovered that we were allergic to fresh evergreens after suffering from horrible sinus infections and colds every January through February. It only took us 20 years to figure out it was the Christmas greenery at fault. My children don’t like the “permanent” Christmas greens but it surely beats horking our way through 2 months.

  18. Hi Marian. Try Grandin Road.com for some directional and some cascading garlands. Some are super pricey but there are some beautiful mid-range priced ones too. It’s an investment but you’ll use them every year. The two I mentioned are $69.00 and 79.00. I ordered the little tree from Target you showed on your dresser you painted. It’s perfect for just my partner and me and I’d been looking for a cute inexpensive one. I learned my lesson many years ago about trying to use fresh trees and greenery with central heat! It’s fine if you love vacuuming every day! Plus the tree would be dead by Christmas, haha! Invest in some of those nice garlands and a nice flocked tree and you’ll never go back to fresh again! Good luck! 😁 Shelia

  19. Everything looks amazing. I too learned years ago that real greenery was a no-go for me. Between the wilting and our allergies it just didn’t work.
    I bet you could make the back of the eucalyptus leaves look realistic with a little paint.

  20. Hi Marion, I have gas heat. I live it Texas and we have some humidity. I can do some faux and it lasts for a few weeks. It won’t last the whole Christmas season so I replace it and dust every two weeks or so. It is a bit of a pain. On the stairs and over picture frames, I’ve always done faux because of the shedding. Your chandelier looks amazing and you can’t tell from the pictures that it’s faux. You found some good looking picks.

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