Turn Your Christmas Tree into a Winter Wreath

Today is officially the last day of Twelvetide, which means for some people it’s just about time to take down their Christmas tree. Up until this morning, I planned to drag our tree to the curb and wave goodbye. But on my morning run, I saw remnants of trees scattered across curbs and cul-de-sacs. To think a few weeks ago, this same Christmas tree was carefully picked, decorated and cared for and now it was so easily discarded, left in pieces quite literally on the side of the road. I thought about our own tree cutting experience at the end of November and how much joy our little live tree brought us.

Coincidentally, a few days ago I entertained the idea of making a winter wreath using some branches from the spruce trees in our backyard. I didn’t even think about the beautiful spruce perched in the family room corner. Thankfully, as my shoes hit the fresh snow on the pavement below, a few synapses fired and a new idea formed.

Unsure if my idea would work, but feeling resourceful and thrifty, I quickly rummaged around the house to find some supplies. A few minutes later with arms full, I embarked on Operation Tree to Wreath and wouldn’t you know about 10 minutes later I had a beautiful, full wreath ready to hang. Here’s how I did it:

SUPPLIES:

  • Tree branch cuttings
  • Pruning shears or sharp scissors
  • Wire hanger
  • Floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Hot glue gun
  • Extras like pine cones, milkweed seed pods, etc.

STEP ONE: TRIM THE TREE

First you’re going to need branches. I used pruning clippers I had from my potting shed to tackle this task, but any type of sharp scissor should suffice. You’ll want to cut a mixture of longer and shorter branches to create a nice full wreath. If your wreath is on the bigger side, focus on the lower branches as your main branches. If it’s smaller, the higher branches will work well as the wreath foundation. You’ll fill both wreath sizes in with smaller clippings as needed.


STEP TWO: CREATE THE BASE

Now it’s time to get started on the wreath construction. To the best of your ability, form a circle with your wire hanger. This is going to be the wreath base you will use to secure the branches. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, but one that is about the size of the inner circle of your wreath. If you’re fancy, you can wrap your hanger with some twine, but I left mine as-is. It will be covered from the front. I bent and hooked the ends at the top to keep the circle stable.

STEP THREE: TIE ON THE BRANCHES

Use a piece of floral wire to tie a tree cutting to the wire hanger base, knotting the floral wire in the back. (At first, I tried twisting the wire in the back, but found it was more secure by knotting it.) Continue this process until all of your tree branches resemble a circle and you can no longer see the wire hanger. As I was going through this process, I discovered the tip of the branches naturally curved and it was very easy to use this natural circle as part of your wreath design. These naturally curved branches are what I used as the foundation of my wreath.

STEP FOUR: EMBELLISH YOUR WREATH

Now is the time to get creative! You can add anything you really want to your wreath. I had foraged some pine cones from my backyard in early December, so I knew those would work well. I also cut down some milkweed seed pods in an abandoned field near my house to make cute Santa ornaments, but alas, I never found the time to actually make them. I soon discovered these milkweed seed pods made the perfect addition to my wreaths. I glued them haphazardly around the wreath using my hot glue gun. After I finished, I trimmed long or poorly located branches to further hone the overall shape of the wreath.

STEP FIVE: HANG YOUR WREATH

I made two different sized wreaths — a large one for the outside of my door and a much smaller one for the inside of my front door. For the outside one, I simply hung the wreath by the wire hanger on a door hanger. For the smaller one, I attached a removable hook to the door and used the same floral wire to create a little loop for hanging.

STEP SIX: ADMIRE YOUR WREATH DAILY

This is the best part in my opinion. Everyday , I look fondly at the front door and its new ornaments. There is something so satisfying about making something new from something old, continuing its use and perpetuating joy by simply looking at it. You can’t really buy that feeling.

STEP SEVEN: DO EVEN MORE WITH YOUR TREE

I ended up fashioning a little tree from more tree branches. I filled a vase with water in hopes that it might extend its life a bit. I treated it like a floral arrangement, trying to create balance with just the branches.

I decided I am not going to toss our Christmas tree after all. When I am done harvesting its branches, I plan to use its trunk in other projects.

Have you done this before? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Till next time,

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