Plastic Santas, blinking candy canes, 10-foot-tall inflatable snowglobes with whirling flakes—had enough of the artificial holiday décor madness? Try these more natural, traditional ways of decking your halls this year:
Popcorn & Cranberry Garland: Long before multi-colored, twinkling-light strands, people used garland made from popcorn and cranberries to decorate trees, mantles, windows and walls. It’s easy to do: simply pop some corn and string together with fresh, whole cranberries using a needle and heavy-duty thread. Let sit overnight before hanging.
Pomander Balls: Made from citrus fruits punctured with whole cloves—then rolled in fragrant spices—pomander balls date back to the 15th century, when they were tucked into drawers or dangled in doorways for air-freshening benefits. Now, they add a festive, fragrant touch to holiday tables and trees. To make your own, press cloves into oranges, lemons or limes, covering the fruit completely or creating a decorative pattern. Roll in a mixture of equal parts cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and orris root powder and let dry.
Citrus Slice Ornaments: Dried citrus fruit slices, when hung near lights on a tree or in windows, emit a colorful, translucent sparkle. Carefully slice oranges or lemons to ¼” thickness, arrange on baking sheet and let dry in an oven heated to 150 degrees. Flip occasionally, until moisture is gone. To hang, cut a small hole through the flesh, just below the rind.
Candles: Lighting a tree is a tradition that began in the 17th century, when small candles were affixed (with melted wax) or pinned to branches. Although a fire hazard for indoor greenery displays today, candles can still help create a cozy or elegant holiday atmosphere. Place pillar candles of all shapes and sizes, tapers, votives, tealights or floating candles on tables, shelves, windowsills and more.
Nature-Inspired Displays: Instead of glitter, jingle bells and flashing lights—use bunches of greenery, twigs, pine cones, dried pods and berries to decorate. Fill baskets, decorative bowls or buckets, and place near entryways or on tables, countertops or shelves throughout your home.