Thursday, 16 December 2010

How to make a Christmas wreath...

My neighbours have a Christmas wreath on their front door. I noticed it when I arrived home last night. It’s quite a nice wreath. They bought it from the florist in the village for twenty quid – a bargain!

Anyway, it made me remember the Christmas wreaths I used to make each year when I was a kid. I usually made two, one to hang on our front door and one for my gran to hang on hers. I used to really enjoy making them. So last night on a whim I decided to make a wreath for our front door at home. It was a real Blue Peter moment – I was going to need a wire coat-hanger, some thin wire, a selection of greenery – ivy, holly, fir, yew - a few pine cones and some ribbon.

The coat-hanger was easy. I found one hanging in my wardrobe surprisingly enough. Taking a pair of pliers I untwisted it at the top to make a single piece of wire and then re-twisted it back together, shaping it to make a large wire hoop about fifteen inches in diameter. I felt just like John Noakes. This was what I was going to attach my greenery to.

We have a brick wall in our back garden which is covered in ivy. I always used ivy as the base to my wreaths as it’s easy to twist around and around the wire frame, so I cut about a dozen two foot lengths. When I brought them indoors I found a ladybird on the underside of one of the leaves, I guess she was hibernating, so I took her back outside and placed her back on the ivy.

Back indoors I carefully wrapped the ivy around the wire frame, attaching it firmly every ten inches or so by twisting one of those ties that come with sandwich bags as I couldn’t find any florist wire in the cellar. The ties worked really well, and in a few minutes I’d covered the wire frame all the way around for the first time. Then I repeated this five more times, slowly covering the wire and building up the shape and density of the ivy.

Now I needed some colour and other winter foliage to add interest. A little walk was in order. Taking my Roy Cropper shopping bag and a pair of scissors I scurried along our road snipping off bits of greenery from the neighbour’s gardens as I went. Within five minutes I had a bag full of holly, yew, fir, and some lovely variegated holly courtesy of the Welsh Baptist church at the end of the road.

Back in the house I cut my greenery down into small floret like pieces and carefully intertwined them in my ivy circle, fastening them with my sandwich bag ties.

It was looking pretty good, but it needed something else. In our upstairs lounge we have a large basket of pine cones by the fire for decoration, a few of them was just what I needed. Going upstairs I choose half a dozen or so from the basket, brought them back to the kitchen, and (again using my sandwich bag ties) wired them to the frame.

Finally I rifled Gaynor’s bag of Christmas wrapping stuff and borrowed some wide red ribbon with gold stars on it. It took me ages to fashion a decent bow, but eventually I managed it and wired it to the bottom of my wreath. I used some plain red ribbon to make the hanger, stapling it firmly in place around the top of the wreath’s frame.

I bumped into my neighbour Barry this evening as he walked up his path. He didn’t say anything but I did notice him shoot me wreath an admiring glance and it didn’t cost me a penny.


  1. Alison Gee commented on Facebook:

    lovely christmas wreath Andy, and all for free x

  2. Kerry Swift commented on Facebook:

    That looks really impressive :-)

  3. Al Spence e-mailed:

    No such thing as free, or John Noaks. I wrapped him up in Christmas paper and stuck a greetings card on him, posted Never Never Land, and do you know? It was! 'Oh' I almost forgot did the same to Shep, but sent him to Lapland. They were far far to fond of each other. Wreath or no wreath, free or not free, 'happy times'
    God I wish I was back there now.

  4. Joan Dixon SMS'd

    ...wondering whether to brave giving it a go myself...

    I think she should - it's fun.

  5. I remember the yule log you made for a competition at junior school. There was no log just the empty bark of half a log that you'd stripped from the wood. You topped it with a beautiful arrangement of greenery and a tall red twisted candle. It was tasteful and so good that you won the prize (you always won the prizes).

    One of the Dix twins, either Graham or Nigel I can't remember which, claimed that you'd bought it in that nice gift shop that used to be in Buttermarket. Of course you hadn't but Mrs Mathews went to the shop anyway to check. You were only nine.

    You've always have such an eye for these things. I wish I could do it.

  6. Robert Mills commenbtedon Facebook:


  7. Tricia Kitt commented on Facebook:

    wassail, Andi - LOVE the traditions - very much like mine - surprised?

  8. Tricia commented on Facebook:

    "Looks fab, Andi - I am short on ivy and a second holly - which is why mine doesn't berry - but have done well in previous years with blue spruce offcuts and pine cones from Delamere - p.s. will post pic of Natalie's Delamere tree in the next couple of days - she's v proud; pps, your Holly looks far too gorgeous to be safe!"

  9. Sonya Tickle17 commented on Facebook:

    That is fantasic - good on you!

  10. Barbara Balding commented on Facebook:

    what can you not do Andi? - its certainly is impressive!

  11. Stephanie Ashton commented on Facebook:

    Blue Peter badge on it's way :)