Decorating with herbs – Christmas edition

Use fresh herbs to create festive touches with a twist, says our founder Jennifer Irvine. 

I love to find ways to bring the outdoors into my home, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to fill it with natural, seasonal decorations. Gathering a few fresh herbs and foliage, then encouraging the rest of the family to get involved in the fun can result in something truly wonderful.

I tend to use rosemary, bay leaves and thyme because I have a surplus of these in my garden, but don’t worry if you don’t grow your own herbs – shop-bought ones are absolutely fine. Use extra boughs from a live tree or have a look at what’s on offer at your local florist – for instance, eucalyptus is a great choice for decorations as its warm, blue-green tones and beautiful fragrance add a special touch.

Making your decorations you will need…

  • Oasis ring or wreath form to use as a base
  • Florist’s stub wire to attach your accents.
  • String or florist’s wire to tie foliage securely to the base.
  • Ribbons for hanging, tying sprigs together or making bows.
  • Foliage: try fir, spruce or pine boughs, eucalyptus, moss, dried ferns, willow twigs, olive branches and gypsophila
  • Fresh herbs: try bay or thyme leaves, rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and oregano
  • Accents: try dried orange or lime slices, gingerbread shapes, cinnamon sticks, holly berries, pine or fir cones, and flowers.


Tree decorations 

  1. Small bunches of herbs and foliage make wonderful tree decorations – I like to use berries for that extra pop, and plenty of ribbons and bows. Larger pieces of foliage can also help to ‘fill out’ a sparser tree and add a layer of texture.
  2. Don’t forget the rest of the house – hand small wreaths from door handles and tie bunches of herbs around banisters and the base of pillar candles with baker’s twine (make sure they’re kept will away from the naked flame).

Wreaths

  1. Use an oasis ring or wired florist’s form as a base, then attach foliage to it with string or florists wire to build up the shape.
  2. Twist lengths of stub wire around your herbs and sue these to fill in any gaps, then add your accents in the same way,
  3. Experiment by moving herbs and accents around and re-positioning them, before finishing with a length of ribbon for a bow or to hang your wreath.

Table decorations

  1. Create a centerpiece for your table by making smaller wreaths to surround candles, a bowl of baubles or fruit.
  2. Gather small bunches or herbs and accents together with a ribbon and attach a handwritten label to make novel place cards, or tie them around napkins or to the back of your chairs.