When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there’s no better piece of holiday décor than live greenery. Holly, balsam fir, cedar, pine—these swoon-worthy staples have been a part of winter holiday decorating for hundreds of years. In fact, incorporating fresh Christmas greenery into your holiday home is one of the oldest traditions for the season, dating back to the first live Christmas trees of 16th-century Germany.

Sure, it’s easy to grab a faux garland for your mantle, but incorporating real greenery into your Christmas decor this season will give your home that extra special touch. Read on for total inspiration on how to decorate with fresh greenery for the holidays—and don’t forget the mistletoe!

Christmas wreaths are also connected with the pagan holiday of Yule. This marks the winter solstice, which was celebrated by ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples.

mom and son with dog
christmas decorations

Rustic Tree Trimmings

You know those extra branches you trim off your real Christmas tree and toss without a second thought at the beginning of the Christmas season? Save those! We’re all about reusing and saving money where we can.

You can style the evergreen boughs as longer branches on a coffee table or dining table. Or, trim them into smaller sprigs and incorporate them as natural greenery in holiday vases, on holiday cards, or as an extra flair for an elaborate cheese and charcuterie board. Plus, there’s no rule saying you can’t add some of your real tree trimmings to your faux decorations! It will add some texture and life to your favorite pieces.

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holiday vase
tree trimmings on the couch
live garland on table top

Gorgeous Garlands

There’s something about fresh garlands that give a space an added elegance, and we’re here for it! Garlands come in a variety of different plants and textures, allowing you to find the perfect one for your space. Whether it’s classic cypress, silver dollar eucalyptus, and olive, or magnolia—select one that reflects the overall design aesthetic of your space. We love the simple pieces, like this fresh, classic garland that can bring beauty to any space.

There are so many ways to decorate garlands in your home, from framing mirrors and entryways to decorating mantles. For bigger displays, try the fresh, triple-berry garland. You can even run it down the length of your table, add in fresh pine cones and classic white candles, and you’ve got yourself a centerpiece for the books.

Garlands have been utilized in many cultures across the world as symbols of purity, beauty, peace, love, and passion.

live garland for christmas
garland centerpiece on table
dog sitting by christmas tree

Mini Trees for Smaller Spaces

If a big tree is out of the question, or if you’re looking to incorporate some holiday magic in more than one room, consider a mini tree. At most tree lots and garden centers, you can find much smaller live trees to take home, as well. Place them on a side table, framing your doorway, or on an entry table to give those subtle spaces an eye-catching detail.

When opting for a smaller or more delicate tree, be sure not to overload it with decorations. You want the fresh greenery and natural beauty to stand out. Find a few bold or large ornaments and decorate sparsely to bring attention to the tree.

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live wreaths for christmas
entryway decorated for christmas
mom kissing her toddler while holding a wreath

Show-Stopping Fresh Wreaths

Wreaths can be as grand or as subtle of a statement piece as you want. For minimalist lovers, wreaths are so easy to make with leftover tree trimmings, some twine, and a simple wireframe. Or try something like this Parisian Christmas wreath or a bay leaf wreath to add some fresh greens and give your room to add a little personality of your own.

For those looking for a grander display, fill gaps with natural elements, like pine cones, bows, or holly. Try something like the fresh Sonoma winter wreath. They can hang outside your door, of course, but we also love a wreath as wall decor in the living room or entryway.

Christmas tree traditions were started in the 16th century by Germans who decorated fir trees inside their homes.

funny christmas quote

How to Have the Freshest Greenery For Holiday Arrangements

Keeping live greenery fresh throughout the holiday season requires some initial preparation and ongoing care. Prior to hanging your garland or wreath, soak them in a tub of water overnight. The greenery will absorb the moisture and become more resistant to drying out.

For Homemade Garlands and Wreaths

If you are making your own evergreen garlands or wreaths using evergreen trees, be sure to harvest the materials as close to the time of use as possible. This will ensure that they stay fresh for longer. After harvesting, lightly mist the greenery with water and store it in a cool place, away from heat sources, until ready to use.

Placement is Key 

Where you choose to hang your live greenery can greatly impact its longevity. Avoid placing it near sources of heat such as fireplaces, radiators, or vents. Direct exposure to heat will cause the greenery to dry out quickly. Instead, opt for areas with cooler temperatures and good air circulation.

Maintaining Freshness 

To maintain freshness of your live greenery, regularly mist it with water or lightly spray it with anti-desiccant sprays. You can also wrap the greenery in a damp cloth or paper towel and store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight. This will help to rehydrate the greenery and keep it fresh.

For Store Bought Garland and Wreaths

If you are using store bought greenery, check the label to see if it has been treated with a preservative. If not, spray them with an anti-transpirant spray that can be found at your local garden center. This will help seal in moisture and prolong the longevity of the greenery.

boy smiling through a wreath


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