It’s that time of year, folks, when we make time in an already busy month to spruce up our house in the name of the holidays. First come the outdoor lights, then the tree, then all of the here-and-there extras that pull it all together. It’s fun to work on decorating the house together, but with December being a more expensive month than others, we’re always looking for ways to save some money along the way.
In previous years, we’ve bought garland for decorating mantles and long tables at Costco for $15 a bunch. Not a bad price for the prettiness and the great smell, but once we buy enough to cover 2 mantles, a server, and shelves here and there, it becomes a major investment for something we’re either going to compost or burn in the fire pit in January.
This year, we held back on the purchased stuff and improvised with greenery from the backyard. We have a very well-established Gold Dust Croton that grows persistently by our garage. No matter how much we hack at it in the summer to regain control of our space, the thing always bounces right back. So instead of fighting it, I finally decided to embrace the Croton and use it for garland this year.
When I trimmed the first few branches and took them inside to test out the look, I admit that I felt a bit crazy, but who says that garland has to be made of spruce or pine?! It’s your house, your holiday celebration — do what you want! Since our camellias are blooming right now, I also added a few white and deep pink flowers for a finishing touch.
Here’s what the finished mantle in our living room looks like. We’re both very pleased, and now finally have an appreciation for the mighty Croton that lives in our backyard! Some holly sprigs or even some poinsetta trimmings could be part of your non-traditional holiday garland. Just be sure to check anything that you cut from the yard for spiders or other living hitchhikers that would love to make your house their home.
For bonus points, can you find the three “special” gingerbread men on our tree?
Wishing you safe, happy holidays!