Tips for Using Live Evergreen in Your Home This Christmas

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There’s nothing quite like a wreath, swag, or other arrangement made with fresh evergreen to truly help get you in the Christmas spirit. In fact, even the act of cutting down the prettiest greenery and arranging it with the rest of your Christmas decor will have you whistling your favorite Christmas song and lingering by your mantle to catch a whiff of the sweet, pine scent of live evergreen. But how exactly can you keep this fresh greenery from drying out and turning brown in just a few short weeks? And how can you decorate effectively with this classic Christmas element? Read on to find out our top tips for using live evergreen in your home this Christmas. 

Cut greenery yourself

If you want fresh greenery to star in your home decor, search out sources yourself. If you are lucky enough to have some in your yard, simply trim your bushes or trees and use the leftovers indoors. Otherwise, ask your friends if they have any or search around for other great locations. Avoid buying fresh greenery as the cost can quickly add up and eat away at your decor budget. Invest in a quality pair of snippers and heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands.

No matter where you harvest your greenery from, be respectful and trim carefully; don’t just start whacking wherever you feel like. Instead, focus on trimming sections off nicely to help improve the appearance and health of the tree or bush. 

Don’t limit yourself

Though more traditional greenery such as cypress, pine, cedar, spruce, hemlock, and juniper may be prevalent in Christmas decorations and artificial arrangements, other plants with bright foliage or delightful scents could add a unique element to your mantelpiece. 

Things such as rosemary, thyme, pine cones, lavender, mints, apples or crabapples, and oranges all pair beautifully with evergreen, smell delightful, and can really elevate your holiday decor. 

Preserve your greenery

One of the biggest issues with using fresh greenery in the home (and the reason many people choose to use artificial) is because it is notoriously difficult to keep fresh and pretty until the 25th. As with live Christmas trees, one of the most significant complaints is needles dropping and the leaves turning brown. Unlike live Christmas trees, however, you can’t merely stick the cut side of your evergreen boughs into a bucket of water. 

To extend the freshness of your evergreen, be sure to wait to cut it until after Thanksgiving. Any earlier, and it is sure to wilt before your holiday gatherings. Mist it regularly with a spray bottle and keep it away from heat sources such as vents and fireplaces. If you are dying to use evergreen on your mantle, be sure that you have backup greenery to fill it in once it drys out. 

Soak it 

Before you go crazy and spread live evergreen throughout your entire home, place it in buckets and soak as much of it as possible. If you can’t soak the whole piece, at least make sure that the cut end is in water. This will allow it to absorb more moisture and keep it fresh. Soak for at least 24 hours.

Stay safe

Some elements of holiday evergreen decorating can be toxic to pets and children if ingested. Do your research before bringing anything into the home from nature if you have any furry ones or little kids running around. Avoid putting real candles near evergreen as it can catch fire easily once it has started to dry. Mix in Christmas lights or battery-operated candles for that added cozy factor. 

Use foam 

Utilize floral foam to create intricate arrangements such as centerpieces for your table and other, more rigid creations. 

Use the leftovers

Don’t let any of your precious, festive greenery go to waste! Use the trimmings and leftovers to fill in holes in your decor or create a Christmasy floral arrangement without any real flowers. You can even twist leftover pieces together to form a small wreath for your wall or bedroom door. 

Do you have any tips and tricks for using live evergreen in your holiday decor? Let us know in the comments below!

-Susan Patterson

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