Whether you choose a traditional approach, using evergreen plants to symbolise Christ’s gift of everlasting life, or adorn your wreath with bright baubles to celebrate the festive season, here are some gorgeous examples to fire up your imagination. Plus suggestions for using local plants to give this festive decoration a South African flavour.
This lovely wreath containing holly, bay and pennygum leaves, among others, can easily be copied with the foliage of evergreen trees and shrubs that grow in South Africa. Make one out of leaves that dry well or create a fresh version as a centrepiece for your Christmas dinner table with lots of foliage and a florist’s foam (Oasis) ring (from craft shops and garden centres). To keep the wreath looking fresh, soak the ring in water for a few hours, then arrange sprigs and leaves to your liking. Use floral pins or florist’s wire to secure those that aren’t sturdy enough to be pushed into the foam. Add a single, fat candle in the middle or group a few slimmer ones of varying heights.
Hints: Slant the foliage in the same direction all the way around to cover the stems. Pack densely for a luxurious effect. This is particularly important if you’re going to allow the wreath to dry as the leaves will shrink and you don’t want unsightly gaps.
For the kids
This fun wreath is really easy to make and will appeal to kids of all ages. All you need is cardboard, a ribbon loop for hanging, tinsel, lollipops and a decoration or two, then follow the pictures. You can adapt the design endlessly by using sweets in wrappers in different colours and any broad, fluffy tinsel and Christmas ornaments of your choice.
Bright and beautiful
Pick your colour scheme and go mad with lots of baubles in various sizes, a styrofoam ring (from craft shops) and a glue gun to make a wreath that’s bright and shiny as a kid’s face on Christmas morning. Find easy-to-follow instructions here.
Symbols of peace
This is one of my favourites with its sparkly bird ornaments to celebrate the Christmas message of peace. The bunches of white fluffy balls are the dried flower heads of the brunia plant which has lots of indigenous varieties. Local alternatives to the pine fronds and cones are brunia branches and the cones of leucodendron bushes (members of the protea family).
Make a local is lekker version of this simple beauty with indigenous foliage – options include the leaves of the everlasting known as kooigoed (Helichrysum petiolare). As in the wreath above, you could add dried brunia flowers instead of the berries.
A classic with a twist
I love the sense of abandon of this creation with its wayward fronds. Copy the look with beefwood or casuarina branches (they’re aliens but grow in abundance here) and dried and dyed leucodendron cones or artificial berry sprays (from craft shops or garden centres). Or make a golden version out of tall dried grasses and a variety of dried undyed seed pods.
Show off your style year after year with an everlasting wreath. This one is made with balsa wood flowers but it would be equally stunning if you used artificial flowers made from corn husks or paper, for example, or any of the wide variety of dried flowers available in SA.
Lots of little wreaths
These mini wreaths made out of wooden curtain rings are so easy to create and are another craft project the kids could tackle in the holidays. Simply wrap ribbon or fabric strips around each ring, glue on a bow, star or other little decoration and tie a loop of string onto the eyelet. Hang the finished items on the Christmas tree, below the mantelpiece or on the back of each guest’s chair at the festive table. You could even use them as napkin rings which everybody can take home afterwards as a memento of your celebration.
– Alfie Steyn