Making holiday traditions isn’t easy when you’re a young renter recently out on your own. You probably don’t have a collection of meaningful decorations, and you might not have the time or funds to decorate your house to your liking. There’s one tradition from my parents house that I’m particularly excited to adapt to my house this year: the Christmas wreath for our front door.
I’ve always liked the idea of Christmas wreaths on the front door much in the same way I enjoy candles in the window. Hanging on your front door, the wreath welcomes visitors and passers-by and lets them know Christmas lives at your place. You can personalize it with a few decorations, and it’s a lot cheaper to change the look of a wreath every year than it is to change the look of a tree. And a wreath combines the care put into a tree plus the handmade work of an artisan, so you could make the super cheesy statement that it was made with twice as much love.
For as long as I can remember, my family got our Christmas wreath while visiting my dad’s family for Thanksgiving outside of Syracuse, New York. My grandparents would buy for my dad and each of his three siblings a Christmas wreath from a Henderberg’s Christmas Tree farm on the outskirts of Rome, New York. The Henderbergs went to church with my dad’s family, and my dad still remembers going to their farm when he was a kid to get milk and eggs on Sundays. The next generation of Henderbergs started a Christmas tree farm, and Mrs. Henderberg makes the wreaths. The wreaths are gorgeous, last over two months easily, and only set you back $25 each.
Even though our family has changed quite a bit in the last five years, my dad’s siblings carry on the tradition of the wreaths. This year I knew I wanted a wreath for my house, so I had my family order one for me too. My dad, his siblings, and Grandma all went to pick up the wreaths together and visit with the Henderbergs for a little while. I sent my camera along with my dad so he could snag a few pictures of the farm and workshop for me (I’ve visited the farm in previous years).
|Henderberg's Christmas Tree Farm in Rome, NY|
|The Christmas Trees!|
|Pile 'O Wreaths|
|Mrs. Henderberg aka the wreath making master and my uncle holding a decorated wreath (I didn't get any decorations on mine because I wanted to make my own)|
I’m pretty thrilled with my gorgeous/cheap artificial tree and my outdoor garland, but I think my wreath is by far my most sentimental decoration. Whenever I approach my front door, I will think about the great times I had with my cousins, the new additions to our family, the people that we miss dearly, and the many wonderful times to come.
To decorate the wreath, I laid it flat on a table and attached a simple red bow and a few ornaments left over from my garland project so that the wreath tied in with the garland. Initially, I thought about covering the wreath in ornaments the way I did with my garland, but then I realized that 1) the wreath really did look beautiful in its undecorated state and 2) my whole front porch was so covered with ornaments that the wreath needed to be slightly understated in order to stand out from the rest of the decorations.
I made my own bow using some $5 wide, wired ribbon from Michael’s and floral wire, and also used wire to attach it to the wreath. Bows are actually quite easy to make, and I plan to post a tutorial on making them in the next few days. I used floral wire to secure a cluster of three ornaments and a cluster of two ornaments on either side of the bow.
|My gorgeous undecorated wreath|
|My beautiful wreath on our dog ugly door (oh the joys of renting)|
Even if a wreath isn’t your thing, think about one of your family’s small-scale traditions and tailor it to your life and your home – it will certainly help you feel at home during the Holidays, especially if you’re away for the first time.