From wreaths, garlands and arrangements of local greenery to strings of dried berries, leaves, pine cones, seed heads and strings of wild berries we responsibly embrace the hedgerows, coast and woodland as a great source of materials.
Each year we bring out the decorations saved from the previous Christmas including dried orange and apple slices and refresh with new pieces. This year we have woven hazel sticks in to miniature wreaths that can be left beautifully plain or transform them with little sprigs of holly, fragrant rosemary and foliage offcuts. Tied with garden twine, butcher’s string or a length of saved ribbon they can then be hung from the tree, a beam or in front of a window. After Christmas you can strip the greenery off and keep the wreaths for the following year or they make great firelighters.
We have never decked HQ in tinsel but we do love swathes of something. As well as fairy lights, we thread cranberries or rosehips onto string to create garlands that can then go out to the birds in the new year. If it stops raining for long enough we will collect a pile of burnished autumn leaves and tie each onto a length of cotton for a winter bunting look. An arrangement of evergreens, mixed herbs or dried architectural shaped foliage look striking in our old terracotta jugs or in re-purposed jam jars placed down the table. To ensure your foliage doesn't wilt, make sure you create your decorations only a week or two before Christmas, or if you can't wait, you can of course refresh them mid-month.
If you need a sweet treat on your tree, and who doesn’t, take a look at Pam Corbin’s Christmas biscuit recipe in the River Cottage Cakes Handbook. This is an absolute favourite of ours and fills the kitchen with the warm, spicy scent of the festive season. If they last long enough they make great decorations or bake a batch for the biscuit tin and keep them hidden…