We all want the old-fashioned Christmas greenery decorations we read about in books, and see in holiday movie classics. The kind with holiday garland draped down banisters and across mantels.
What we forget is that these idealized Christmas holidays occurred long ago - before central heat. In modern times (when we don't have to wear gloves indoors), the evergreen Christmas decorating scheme needs to undergo a little updating.
We can still deck our halls with holiday greenery - we just need to know how to keep holiday garland fresh and safe in today's home. These tips can help.
Choose Holiday Garland Wisely
For indoor decorations, choose holiday greenery of pine, fir and cedar which dry out slower.
For indoor decorations, choose holiday greenery of pine, fir and cedar.
These cuttings dry out more slowly than other greenery and may last several weeks if you keep them cool.
The best way to ensure that Christmas greenery is fresh is to cut it yourself. If you buy it, give the needles the old Christmas tree test: bend them. If they are brown or they break, buy elsewhere.
Some additional tips on choosing and using fresh holiday garland:
Plan on decorating with live garland just a week or two before Christmas.
Buy or harvest Christmas greenery as close to when you plan to use it as possible.
If you buy live evergreen garland early, keep it outside until needed.
Before you put wreaths and garlands up, soak
them overnight in a bathtub filled with water so they can absorb as much
water as possible.
If you make your
own swags and wreaths, re-cut the ends and pound them with a
hammer so they will absorb more water. Then soak them overnight in the
If you make fresh holiday centerpieces, keep them in the garage or outside when they are not on display.
Holiday Decorating Do's With Fresh Greenery
If you use lighted holiday garland, make sure the lights are cool.
Keep garland away from heat vents, the fireplace and sunny windows.
Check holiday garland every couple of days. Replace sections that are brown or are dropping leaves or needles.
Mist garland every couple days to keep it fresh.
Holiday Decorating Don'ts
Don't begin decorating with garland too early. The longest-lasting greenery (fir) will only keep about four weeks indoors - if you're lucky.
Don't use garland in displays with candles.
Don't drape live garland from the fireplace mantel if you plan to use the fireplace.
If you have children or pets, don't use Christmas greenery with poisonous
berries such as holly, yew, ivy, Jerusalem cherry, bittersweet, crown of
thorns - or mistletoe.
Finally, when decorating with live garland, keep the broom handy. You'll need it.