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keeping holiday garland fresh

We all want the traditional Christmas garland holiday decor 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 this idealized Christmas decor 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 Christmas garland - we just need to know how to keep it fresh and safe in today's home. These tips can help keep holiday garland fresh.

  Choose Holiday Garland Wisely

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 fresh.

The best way to ensure that Christmas garland is fresh is to cut it yourself.

If you do 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 Christmas garland:

  • Plan on decorating with live garland just a week or two before Christmas.
  • Buy or harvest Christmas garland as close to when you plan to use it as possible.
  • If you buy Christmas 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 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 tub.
  • If you make fresh holiday centerpieces, keep them in the garage or outside when they are not on display.

  Christmas Garland Decorating Do's

  • If you use lighted Christmas garland, make sure the lights are cool.
  • Keep Christmas garland away from heat vents, the fireplace, and sunny windows.
  • Check garland every couple of days. Replace sections that are brown or are dropping leaves or needles.
  • Mist Christmas garland every couple days to keep it fresh.

Christmas Garland  Decorating Don'ts

  • Don't begin decorating with Christmas 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 garland with poisonous berries such as holly, yew, ivy, Jerusalem cherry, bittersweet, crown of thorns - or mistletoe.

Finally, when decorating with live Christmas garland, keep the broom handy. You'll need it. 

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› How to Keep Holiday Garland Fresh