So, you’ve made your Christmas wreath, your outdoor lights are glowing and the mistletoe’s hanging above the door – but how else can you add festive sparkle to the scene?
It’s easy to pimp your mantelpiece with flora and fauna, from the most elaborate adornments to a few sprigs here and there.
Here are just a few ideas to add sparkle to the scene…
Go for natural glamour
You just need some dried foliage such as silver eucalyptus leaves, dried larkspur and corn, dried roses and Spanish moss to make this showstopping mantelpiece decoration, which would ideally sit on one side of the shelf.
Claire Bishop, of Dobbies Garden Centres in the UK, says if you’re using foliage from the garden, you leave it overnight in a warm room to allow it to dry out. If you are using cut flowers, these will take a little more time to dry. Adding air plants such as tillandsia, which you can buy in all sorts of shapes, sizes and textures, will be ideal, she suggests.
"It’s super easy to throw together into a vase. For an extra secure display you can use chicken wire to hold in place," says Bishop. Place taller stems in first and then layer, placing medium length stems in next, followed by shorter sprigs at the front. Other mantelpiece decorations can be used to weigh down and hold the floral arrangement securely in place."
Try not to put the decoration too close to candles if you are going to light them. Alternatively, invest in some battery-operated candles if you want to put a little light near the greenery.
Join the ivy league
Ivy is such a versatile plant. While in the garden it can be a thug, at Christmas it comes into its own and you just need a handful of long stems to create an authentic look, whether draped over the side of the mantelpiece or woven in and out of ornaments and candles.
If you want a bit of sparkle, attach baubles to the spray with florist’s wire, or alternatively just place pine cones along the strands for a more natural effect.
Enjoy candlelit cosiness
Place candles together on either end of the mantelpiece and create circles of foliage around them, whether with offcuts from your Christmas tree or sprigs of holly and berries from the garden.
You can create mini wreaths out of sturdy garden wire, making them big enough so your candle can sit inside the circle, and rest them on clear glass candle stands.
Again, it may be safer to use artificial candles which are battery-lit, especially if you are prone to forgetting to blow them out at the end of a busy festive day.
Go for garland greenery
Make a real statement with one long garland using offcuts from your Christmas tree, and venture into the garden to forage evergreen foliage such as yew, bay and ivy, along with hips and berries from hypericum and pyracantha.
Use of length of rope as the base on which to tie the foliage if you want to drape the garland more elaborately, using mantle clips attached to the mantelpiece.
Add scent using long sprigs of evergreen rosemary and lavender. If you want more colour you can always attach baubles or spray pine cones with white, silver or gold spray to add a festive feel. Just use the colour which works best with your home decor.