There are so many things I love about Christmas.
From the food, the buying or making of beautiful things for people you cherish, the carols and lights and of course the glittering decorations. I love the joy and sense of merriment, the festiveness and my favourite of all, the joy of giving.
So many of these things are universal. Joy for instance, is understood and cherished, no matter the language or cultural barrier. How we choose to share and celebrate that joy though, well, that’s where it all starts to differ.
From the giving of apples on Christmas Eve in China, to the hanging of a sock in a window in Brazil in the hopes that Papai Noel will swap it for a present; from the garlands of holly, ivy and mistletoe all adorned in snow that are hung in the UK, to the elaborately decorated ‘Advent Windows’ in the villages of Switzerland. Each place in the world has their own unique twist on what is considered the traditional traditions.
Here in Australia, we tend to lean towards those more Christian traditions, where the decorating of our big Christmas trees with tiny twinkling lights is a family occasion, we have big feasts on Christmas Eve or day with all the family present, so we can witness one another open our carefully selected gifts.
We have our own unique traditions too, like chucking a shrimp on the barbie and a swim at the beach or in your backyard pool to cool off, followed by a Boxing Day of eating leftovers and watching the Aussie’s belt around the cricket ball.
It was with these Aussie traditions in mind that I decided to mix up my decorations a little this year. Now don’t go getting too worried, there were no cans of export or thongs (flip flops) harmed in the making of this tutorial.
What I wanted to do was put an Aussie spin on the traditional wreath. So, I went for a long walk with my little family and came up with this simple but uniquely Australian door wreath for you to try your hand at.
Why not give it a whirl this festive season! There’s still plenty of time to add that little bit of the ‘outback’ to your home.
How To Make An Aussie Christmas Wreath
Things You’ll Need:
A length of hard wire or similar type circular object
A bush load of well, bush
Pair of secateurs
Some florist’s wire
A few Christmas baubles/bells or ribbon
Now I’ll be honest here, I used a length of fencing wire that we just had laying around to form the base of my wreath, I suppose that’s one of the benefits of living on a farm huh! You can however, use anything to form the base, so why not get creative and use any kind of rustic circular item that might be laying around your home.
Otherwise you could pop down to your local dollar store and buy a cheap bare twig wreath or simple plain wire wreath base, like this one here.
You could also try using:
– Old Bicycle wheels
– Decorator’s wire/florist wire
- Next, you’ll need to go foraging and this is the best part! Get out and about your local neighbourhood and have a look at what’s around. Now don’t go just cutting anyone’s plants, especially not from your local park or reserve, a lot of our flora is rare and/or protected (just take a visit to Kings Park to see the extent).What I do suggest though is talking to your neighbours and asking if you can steal a few clippings from a plant or two. Have a look around your own backyard! You might be surprised to find some gorgeous native Australian plants just milling about.
If you’re lucky enough, like me, to live on acreage then you definitely won’t have this problem. I have so much bush around me that I didn’t know which way to look first. Interestingly enough, once I started really looking at what was growing on our property, I realized it’s all mostly the same few types of trees! Hah! See how much attention I wasn’t paying?
Now ideally (and this will depend on the size of one’s wreath) you want a good pile of a basic leaves and preferably green (as in recently alive ones) as they will bend more easily.
Start with a pile of base leaves with stems attached, add in a couple of different textures and finish with a highlight colour or flower and a handful of gumnuts, because I mean really, this is Australia after all!
- Lay out your flora selections, wire and all the tools you’ll need so you have everything at hand. Now you’ll want to decide how large a wreath to make. Most standard door wreaths run between 60 and 70cm in diameter, though you can make it as large or as little as you like!
- Now, since I used fencing wire, I had to strengthen it and wound several strands over one another and looped them tight (with a little help from my strong hubby!). This gave me a strong base to start with and a few spots to wind my foliage in and out of.
- Start layering. Have some fun and start cutting and laying pieces of foliage around your wreath, you can loosely hook them on with some florist wire or if you’re happy with their placement secure them tightly. My best piece of advice? Don’t over think it. Just go for it and start building up those layers.You can even try weaving a few longer pieces together or in and out of one another instead of using florist wire to attach.
- Select a focal point and choose a top and bottom point to your wreath. You’re going to want to hang your wreath somehow, you can simply pop it on a metal door hanger or you can string some pretty ribbon from the top, over your door and secure at the back. Either way, you’ll want to choose a top and a bottom. I decided to accentuate my top point with a cluster of silver bells!
- Layer different flowers/twigs/leaves and bits and pieces around the wreath until you’re happy with the overall look. You don’t want to go too overboard, so ideally try to stick to one or two focal points with only a couple of coordinating colours. Use your florist wire as you go to place everything securely.
- Finish off with a bauble or two, some bells or even a nice big bright bow! and Wollah! Instant Aussie festiveness! Why not make a few coordinating smaller ones and pop a big fat pillar candle in the middle and use as a center piece for your Christmas lunch too!
If you’re after a more traditionally styled Christmas wreath, you can check out my other tutorial on How to Decorate a Christmas Wreath.
Otherwise I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the outback and I hope you hang your beautiful creation with pride, or better yet, make one as a gift for a friend to cherish!!
What other Christmas traditions have you Aussie-fied?