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…
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.
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!
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