Xmas Decor

Christmas decorations go up around the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2002, as workers put up a large wreath and evergreen bunting on the Eisenhower Executive Building at the White House complex.
On the latest Saturday Early Show, P. Allen Smith puts an unusual spin on a traditional holiday decoration -- the wreath.

A variety of wreaths adorn doors, windows and walls this time of year. Smith says a wreath is a comforting symbol of the season because of the unbroken circle. Although we traditionally see evergreen wreaths, many with pinecones and red bows, other types of wreaths can also embody the holiday spirit. Smith says it's easy to create beautiful wreaths, and he demonstrated the various types below:

Berry Wreath

Smith says he loves this wreath because he can incorporate fresh berries from his own garden.

Look around your garden and see what is available, Smith says. Your berry selection can help define the mood of the wreath. For instance, if you want to create a wreath at Thanksgiving, choose berries that are harvest colors such as orange, yellow and cream; for Christmas, use red berries.

Smith's wreath on The Saturday Early Show incorporated Chinese photinia, rose hips and pepper berries. Once you've gathered the berries, cluster them in small bundles of three to five stems, depending on the size of the berry. Cut the stems to make them an even length, then bind together with a little floral wire. (The wire is green, comes on a spool and is sold at craft stores.)

Next, pin the clusters to a 14-inch foam wreath with floral "U" pins. Make sure that all the stems point in the same direction. Overlap the berries to hide the stems.

Smith says the key to a beautiful berry wreath is abundance. Really pack the wreath full of berries. Once you've gathered all of your materials, it will probably take about an hour to fill the wreath.

Eucalyptus And Lemon Wreath

If you've ever made a wreath, you know that the most difficult step is creating a perfect circle -- a frame that doesn't look lopsided. Smith solves that problem by buying an artificial wreath and simply embellishing it. This also saves you a lot of time. He suggests looking for an artificial wreath that has stems made of wire because you can twist and bend them. This makes it much easier to attach real greenery and other items to the wreath.

To make this particular wreath, Allen covers all of the evergreen with eucalyptus branches. He then pierces lemons with an ice pick, runs a pipe cleaner through the lemons, and attaches clusters of two or three to the wreath. Finally, he ties on a beautiful bow.

Traditional Wreath

Again, begin with an artificial wreath. Then attach real evergreen branches to the back of the artificial wreath. Smith says his favorite greens are cyprus because they drape well. This fills out the wreath and adds texture. Smith also includes some strands of wooden cranberries and red ribbon on this wreath.

Of course, Smith says you can use a fresh wreath for this project if you prefer. He suggests soaking fresh wreaths in water for about three days before displaying to prolong their lives. Expect a fresh wreath to last about two weeks.

Hydrangea Wreath

This wreath is a sophisticated take on Christmas. Buy a 14-inch grapevine wreath and use a hot glue gun to attach dried green hydrangea blooms.

This is wreath is simple to make and it can really add a unique touch to any door or wall during the holidays, Smith says.

To finish the wreath, Smith attaches gold balls and a gold bow.

Many people struggle with the last part of this project -- tying the bow. Smith agrees that it takes time and practice to achieve an attractive bow, but the following tips may help.

  • Buy "wired" ribbon (usually the wire is incorporated into the edges of the ribbon). This allows your bow to hold its shape.
  • Buy more ribbon that you think you're going to need -- Smith swears that one spool is never enough.
  • Finally, once you have a bow that you're happy with, you can preserve it. Tuck tissue paper inside all of the loops and place the bow in a plastic bag. Smith then suggests hanging the bag in a garage or basement until you're ready to use the bow again.