Creating Christmas decorations from nature can be family adventure

Creating Christmas decorations from nature can be family adventure

By Carolyn R. Tomlin

Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist 

Remember when your family made the traditional trip to the meadows and woods in search of that perfect Christmas tree? Or when you cut armloads of holly, pine and cedar to bring the scent of winter holidays into your home? Perhaps you recall homemade ornaments that held a special place on the cedar tree.

Consider recapturing the joys of making family memories while using greenery and seed pods from nature for decorations during this Christmas season. Don’t stop with tree decorations — carry the designs to door wreaths, table centerpieces and mailbox garlands.

Make this a family adventure by checking the calendar in December. Pick a date with family and friends. Wear comfortable walking shoes and warm clothing for this outdoor adventure.

Searching the woods and back roads for dried materials turns into a fun adventure for all ages. Unless your yard contains magnolia, pine, cedar and holly, you’ll need permission from a landowner to gather this greenery. Don’t overlook roadside vendors and highway stands as a good source.

As you find greenery and dried seed pods, think of all the different ways to use these as creative objects in your home. Be aware of dried vines that may be poison ivy. Without leaves, identification is difficult.

Look for these materials and follow directions for making decorations (see below):

•Natural greenery (choose from cedar, fir, holly, magnolia, pine and spruce)

•Seed pods

•Nuts (walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts to glue in clusters)

•Spray cans of paint (white, gold and silver)

•Wire, wire cutters, florist foam

•Container or basket for arranging

•Slices of citrus, including lemons, grapefruit and oranges

As part of each Christmas season, the nativity scene should have a place of honor. As children place each character represented from the manger scene, explain how they were part of God’s plan in this miracle birth. Read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1–19.

As you work, get in the holiday spirit by singing Christmas carols and enjoying steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Invite neighbors to your home as a way to welcome in the season. You’ll discover natural greenery and dried materials turn your home into one that says “Merry Christmas” to family and friends. Plus it’s a way to tell the Christmas story from Luke 2, make memories and cherish this time together as a family.

Directions for natural Christmas decorations

1. Using a hammer, mash about two inches of the bottom stem of your greenery (make sure an adult is monitoring this activity).

2. Place the stems in a bucket of warm water for several hours before arranging. By allowing the stems to absorb water, the greenery stays fresh for several days in a cool room or outdoors. This is especially important for a door wreath or mailbox garland.

3. Practice fire safety by never allowing candles or a flame to be near greenery.

4. Remove dust and dirt from seed pods, nuts, etc., and then either leave natural or spray with white, gold or silver paint to make ornaments. Use raffia or jute twine to attach to tree.

5. Cut citrus into round slices and place on a cookie sheet. Bake them in an oven at 250 degrees for one hour. Punch a hole on one side and secure with a length of raffia or jute twine. Add as clusters to a door wreath or hang as a Christmas ornament. Punch whole cloves into the citrus for a fragrant holiday scent.

Source: Carolyn R. Tomlin

Natural decorations from the garden

Sawtooth oak acorn 

Golden pear

Orange, lemon, lime slices

Ginkgo leaves

Locust seed pods


Okra pods


Sweetgum balls

Nandina berries

String these on a fishing line (10 lb. weight) and hang on a tree. Fresh cranberries and popped corn are another way to add color to your tree. Another option is to combine with natural greenery and use for a door wreath, mantle or table centerpiece.

Source: Carolyn R. Tomlin