Holiday Decorating on a Budget – Make Your Own Wreath

Until recently, I’ve cared very little about holiday decorating, as it involves acquiring stuff that isn’t functional year-round, and it takes up space. It’s also an extra expense, and I historically haven’t had a ton of extra income to spend on holiday decor. I’d also never owned a home until recently, so the thought of acquiring such stuff meant moving it at the end of a lease. That being said, I do love a fresh Christmas tree, and I did actually splurge on a few really cute things for this year’s Christmas tablescape (a word I made fun of relentlessly when I heard it the first time and now use regularly).


Against heavy protesting from my sister and me as kids, my mom purchased a fake tree in the 90’s and has been using it ever since. Like most kids who started life with a real Christmas tree in the house, I have a special nostalgia for the smell of fresh fir, so when I purchased my first Christmas tree as an adult a few years back, fake was not an option. It’s also nice to be able to discard the tree at the end of the season instead of packing it up and having to store it … and move it.

Last year, our first holiday season in our new home, we were too busy getting settled in to do much decorating. The one thing I did do (just to experience the smell of Christmas) was hang a fresh wreath in the front — it looked great, and it smelled great. Mission accomplished.

Then it stayed there — until yesterday. 🙂 I would have taken it down, but when all the green leaves turned brown, it actually matched the outside of our house pretty nicely, so I left it up. (I promise it had absolutely nothing to do with laziness or lack of motivation to take it down. Promise! Swear!)

Anyway, when we got our Christmas tree this weekend, I collected a few spare branches from the vendor thinking I’d be able to make the house more festive on a budget (which I did). Then I had the bright idea of actually making a new wreath! I pulled down the old one and carefully dismantled it, saving the pine cones, and figuring out how it was put together in the first place.

Yay DIY project!

Here’s why I love where I live: nature gives you nearly everything you need to decorate for the holidays! Besides the inorganic objects in this picture, everything you see here came from my neighborhood. And I paid for ZERO of it. I spotted most of these holiday gems on a run with the dog the other day and returned this afternoon with gardening shears to collect my supplies.


Featured here: wild berries gathered from the trail that runs along the bay, redwood leaves from my neighbor’s tree, walnuts that have been sitting in my cabinet for a year (which I didn’t end up using for the wreath but used elsewhere), rosemary from a bush down the street, and the pine cones from last year’s wreath

Warning, this is either an outdoor-type project or a bare-kitchen-floor-that-can-be-easily-swept-up-after-type project. Do not bring these items onto carpet or onto flooring that’s hard to sweep. You will be sad.

From the time I sat down with my supplies to the time I hung the wreath, I’d say this project took me about 25 minutes. To gather the supplies from the neighborhood took me about 15 minutes, if that. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon project!

First, I laid everything out so that I could see what I was working with. Then I cut the big fir tree branches in to small, manageable pieces.


To start the wreath, I took a small bunch of fir, a bit of redwood leaves (some of them have these great little yellow seed pods on the ends — super cute!), a sprig or two of rosemary, and some berries, and put them in the first rung of the wreath frame. The wreath frame is made of strong wire, but it’s not so strong that I couldn’t bend it with my hands. I opened them all up before I got started, and as I filled them with leaves, I clamped them back down.


This is what it looked like after the first two rungs were filled and clamped

Whichever direction you choose for the leaves to go, fill the rungs in the opposite direction so that you can see what you’re doing. Once all the rungs were filled, I held up the wreath to see if anything looked lopsided or if there were any holes that needed to be filled with a few more leaves and added/adjusted accordingly.

Then I used thin green wire (also from last year’s wreath, but any wire will work really) to attach the pine cones to the wreath by wrapping it around the cone and the wreath itself and then twisting it shut on the back side out of sight.

When the wreath was complete, I hung it right back up where the old wreath hung for all of 2013. I’m not making any promises about how long this one will or won’t stay up.



I'm a wellness professional with a Master's in Integrative Health, passionate about spreading health, happiness and personal fulfillment to as many people as possible. I have a professional background in health and wellness, dietary supplements, and nutrition, and embark every day to live a well, balanced, happy life. In being true to myself and what I seek in life, I hope to inspire others to do the same, to cultivate wellbeing in their own lives.

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