Oooh, I’m pretty happy with this foraged holiday swag I made, and I think my nature lovers will enjoy it too. With winter and Christmas only 11 and 15 days away (!), this simple project will bring a bit of natural beauty to your front door, your mailbox, anywhere you want to hang it.
Let me set the scene:
I’m spending five days at The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs. Yes, I’m writing. But I have a daily routine that includes a morning walk into town and an afternoon nature walk on one of the nearby trails. These walks clear my head and provide inspiration.
Monday on my town hike, I admired all the wreaths and tinsel and festively decorated porches and doors. Then later, on my nature hike, I noticed all the pine cones and red berries and vines wrapped branches in the woods. And bam, I thought I’ll make a holiday swag from some of these forest goodies.
During my next nature hike, I walked through the woods carrying a sack and scissors. I picked up sticks and pinecones, trimmed a few fir branches and snipped a dried seedpod or two. Now that autumn color has fallen away, what’s left in the woods provides perfect material for a foraged holiday swag.
Rules of Foraging
I believe it’s important to respect nature. If you decide to become a forager, keep a few rules in mind…
- Tread lightly and stay on the trail. You are a guest in the home of wildlife.
- Take only what you plan to use. Seed pods provide meals for all sorts of critters. Dried twigs and branches are used to build homes.
- Don’t trespass on private land.
- Inspect your foraged goods for hitchhikers. Hitchhikers (i.e. insects) brought inside should be carefully removed and returned outdoors.
- Some berries / leaves may be toxic. If you aren’t sure what you’ve foraged, keep away from your pets.
- Wash your hands afterwards. You might be sensitive to something you’ve touched.
- Check yourself for ticks. I bet a few rogue ones don’t go dormant in winter.
My Method: Make a Foraged Holiday Swag
With items gathered, spread everything out.
Trim away dead pieces or stems that are too long.
Form a base using the larger pine and fir greenery pieces.
Approximately two inches from the top of your swag, tie the base pieces together using twine or ribbon or rubber band. (It’s amazing the things I can forage from the bottom of my backpack…)
Weave other pieces in and among the greenery. If your base pieces are tied together tightly, other stem “decorations” will stay secure between the main greenery branches.
Some seed heads look like starbursts. Braid these into the top. Allow coralberry to hang.
Wrap with ivy or other vining greenery.
Let your imagination lead your design. There is no wrong or right way to swag.
Back to Nature
Yesterday on my walk through the woods, I took my foraged holiday swag with me, and left it behind on the Crescent Trail. Attached to a spindly tree, it’s my holiday decoration for nature. Maybe another hiker will see it and wonder how it came to be. Maybe a bird will pick it apart, using bits of it for her nest. Maybe a squirrel will inspect it during his morning scamper through the hollow.
While this holiday will likely be different from those of the past, I’m grateful for nature’s calming, steady presence. I hope you are able to go outside and breathe her in.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.