Christmas decor inspired by nature

Dec 6, 2012 at 6:37 a.m. ET

Christmas decor doesn't have to be all glitter and glass globes. Some of the best decorations come from items found in nature. Bring a touch of the outdoors inside with these great decorating ideas.

Homemade Christmas wreath

Just mention Christmas decorations and most people immediately picture bright red and green, with possibly some gold thrown in. Even some of the more modern color schemes — think plum and gold or blue and silver — are still heavy on the glitz. Sometimes the beauty of nature is all you need to bring holiday spirit into your home.

Trim the tree

Some of the most beautifully decorated trees include simple, natural elements. Remember the cranberry and popcorn garlands from the past? Bring back those edible ornaments with a twist. Cranberries can be threaded onto thin wire, then looped into a small circle to form a miniature wreath. Add a raffia bow and hang the mini wreaths on your tree for a festive pop of color. Slices of dried oranges hung by ribbons not only bring color to your tree, but they smell amazing.

Clear glass or plastic ornaments from the craft store are great for making homemade ornaments. Fill them with acorns, small sprigs of holly, tiny pinecones, cranberries or other natural items and hang them on your tree. After the holidays are over, these ornaments can be emptied and saved for the following year.

What about a wreath?

Hanging a wreath in your home is a holiday tradition, and there are so many options. Trimmings from your fresh Christmas tree can be tied into a wreath shape and decorated with pinecones, fruits and acorn caps. Brightly colored kumquats can be strung together into a circle with added greenery for a new twist on the wreath.

Don't be trapped into thinking that wreaths always need to be round. Try tying your greenery onto a square frame for a different look. Add dried pomegranates, nuts, acorns and other natural items with a hot glue gun and hang. Make the wreath become the frame for a mirror and add a festive touch to your entryway or bathroom.

Table decor

When it comes to your holiday dinner table, the only limit is your imagination. The center of your table can be the setting for a beautiful array of items to complement your tree and other decor. A table runner made of burlap provides a natural background for a centerpiece, candleholders and place card settings. Use cranberries or walnuts as filler for small vases, then top with a votive candle. Scatter pinecones of various sizes on the runner or use some as place card holders by simply hot gluing name cards to the front. Apples — red or green — look festive in a bowl when mixed with chestnuts and pinecones. The trick with natural decor is to dress it up a bit, but not too much.

Top it off

If you have a staircase with a banister, gather bunches of greenery from the tree, branches of holly or eucalyptus and tie them to alternating balusters to create a visual pathway up the stairs. Bunches of greenery tied with ribbon are also a festive addition to the guest bathroom, wrapped around towels or hung from the shower curtain rod.

Every spot in your house that has a touch of natural decor ties in beautifully with your tree and table, to bring a natural touch of the holidays to every room.

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