Nothing is more festive than a holiday wreath, hung on a door or window to welcome in visitors. If you’re looking for a fun homemade project this year, consider making your own wreath to save on money and create a homespun holiday twist.
What’s the History of Christmas Wreaths?
Traditionally, Yuletide was celebrated around the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. While it may seem like a grim time, it was celebrated because it heralded change. After the longest night, the days start getting longer and nights retreat, minute by minute. It shows us that spring is on its way. Wreaths were made for Yuletide 1000 years before the birth of Christ. Four candles were placed at equal intervals around the circle of evergreen boughs to represent the four elements of the earth. This symbol of eternal life was appropriated by early Christians at Advent, and another candle was added at the center of the wreath to symbolize Christ.
Although the history of the wreath is complicated, its symbols easily cross religious and cultural boundaries. The circle has no beginning and no end, representing an eternal round. They remind us that even in the depth of winter, life cycles round and never ends. Modern wreaths aren’t usually lit with candles, but the circle is still a symbol for welcome and gathering loved ones close.
Tips for a Successful Homemade Wreath
At first, a wreath looks like the most basic thing that you could possible make. After all, you just need to wrap some evergreen branches in a circle, right? But when you try it yourself, it doesn’t always work as planned. Here are some tips to help you make your holiday wreath a success:
- Use a frame. You can even make your own, but just make sure that it’s sturdy. You’ll definitely want it to anchor all your branches in at least two places.
- Ribbons are your best friend. If something’s having a hard time staying put, or you end up with unsightly bare patches, use ribbons to anchor and cover.
- You can also use twine or fishing line to wrap the branches if you’d rather have a different aesthetic, and you want the wrapping to be invisible.
- Trim the branches afterward to create a more circular, unified look.
Inspiration for Your Own Wreath
If you’re looking for something beyond the traditional wreath, consider these fun ideas:
- Bare branches or berry boughs can have an interesting, rustic effect. Grape vines, long grass, or young twigs are ideal. To twist them into a circle, soak them first so they’ll be pliable.
- Burlap wreaths are going to be popular this year. Gather them into billowing fabric bows, or wrap them tight as a base for other decorations.
- Decorate your wreath with natural elements, like berries or pine cones or sprigs of holly.
- You can also incorporate fun Christmas symbols; candy canes, jingle bells, glass ball ornaments, or even cookie cutters.
- Your wreath doesn’t have to be symmetrical. You can weight your decorations off-center for a jaunty effect.