I’m not a big fan of wreaths until it comes to the holidays. Then I firmly believe that wreaths are the most versatile holiday decoration that we can use to deck the halls, front doors, stairways, chandeliers, fences and gates.

I love to use wreaths in unexpected locations. Surrounding chandeliers, draped from ribbon down a staircase, adoring the neck of statues or hanging from trees in the garden. There is no limit to the display options when it comes to a beautiful holiday wreath.

There are two basic types of wreaths; real and artificial. I don’t have a particular favorite. There are pros and cons to both. First, real wreaths smell and look fantastic but they do have a limited shelf life. Most are harvested in October and then shipped to retailers in November. That is why they generally dry out and start losing their needles a few days before Christmas. By News Years they are toast.

You can extend the life of fresh wreaths by making your own from cuttings in your own backyard. Daily misting with a little water helps insure their freshness for an extra week or two. If you are using fresh wreaths outside they will last twice as long as those that are subjected to our HVAC systems.

Beautiful Wreath Ribbons by Sand & Sisal.

Artificial wreaths are a great investment. They last not only threw the holiday season but if stored properly for many seasons to come. I’ve had some wreaths for over twenty years. A good artificial wreath can be very expensive but worth the investment depending on where it will be displayed.

Mock wreaths work great in exterior locations. The higher the display the least likely one will notice the quality or cost of the wreath. But a wreath that will be displayed on your front door should be of superior value if not a natural wreath.

What makes a wreath, artificial or fresh, look substandard is always the bow. It’s hard to preserve a nice bow season after season. It helps if you remove the bow from the wreath before storage and keep it in a separate box. Always take the time to press any crimped or wrinkled streamers or bows. New bows are available everywhere for a just a few dollars.

I love a great red bow but not the neon reddish/orange bows that you find at many of your dollar and home improvement stores. But if your home is like mine, red just doesn’t work with your overall decorating scheme. Think about mixing it up a little this year, go for the unexpected with a lime green bow, copper, silver or aqua ribbon. Use the color of the bow to tie the wreath into your overall home’s décor or holiday theme.

Beautiful Handmade Bow Wreath

I also love a wreath that tells me something about the homeowners. If you’re a southern, a wreath of cotton bolls can be so charming. Beach lovers, a wreath decorated with shells, aqua ribbon and sand dollars is a welcomed sight in place of the traditional holiday wreaths adorned with red and green ornaments and bows. Better yet, go without ornamentation. Every wreath doesn’t need a bow!

Be creative with wreath materials as well as the adornments. A wreath fabricated from magnolia leaves, holly steams, rosemary branches or boxwood is a refreshing alternative to Douglas fir or cedar branches.

This holiday season consider your homes style, décor theme and color schemes before you deck the halls.