With everything going on, I got started on my holiday decorations really early this year – Halloween. If it’s something that is fun and can get my mind off of heavier things, I’m doing it! 2 trees are up, and this fireplace mantel garland is also up. I went a bit more lush and dramatic this year, and love the effect.
Here’s a very detailed walk through of the entire process. If you’d rather read about it, skip on for the details.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way, but it may contain referral or affiliate links where I earn a small credit or commission if you purchase.
This year, I wanted to do something a little more lush than I had last year, just to switch things up a little bit.
Last year, I relied on long needle pine garland, a gold glittered garland, ribbon, and berries.
This year, I used all of those ingredients, and added cedar stems, green and gold magnolia leaves, long needle pine picks, and a large glittered magnolia stem that matches my tree in that room.
Step 1a: Fluff and place your base garland.
Long needle pine garland
I love this lush long needle pine garland. I’ve had this garland for several years and it always looks just as good as when I bought it. It’s 6 feet, and I use 3 total. The center of the garland is a heavy, thick wire, so I can position it however I need, even if it’s to give it a 90 degree angle and hang it on the edge of the mantle. If you don’t wish to be a daredevil like me and just place it on the mantle, you can secure it with Command Hooks.
Fluffing your greenery is probably the most important part of any decorating you’re doing. Really work everything open so it’s not flat and crumpled. Quality greenery won’t fall apart when you pull at it, so don’t be afraid to get in there!
Step 1b: Add additional decorative garland
I love glitter, and saw some glittered garland at a big box craft store a few years ago (either Michaels or Hobby Lobby). Unsure of how to use it, I placed it on my pine garland and manipulated the pine ends and the glittered leaves so they were layered, but not simply sitting on top of each other. I quickly ran out and bought more! I use this trick on my staircase garland as well. It is an inexpensive and easy way to get another layer onto an existing garland. Just like the pine garland, I use 3 pieces of this.
If glitter isn’t your thing, there are so many types of garland: berries, wooden beads, pom poms, etc.
Step 2: Add floral picks
Floral picks or stems are where the magic really happens with this particular type of garland. I was always timid with this, until I continued watching tutorials from the boys at House. This particular tutorial changed how I do most of my holiday decor and is probably the only reason I can produce something like this.
The picks add variety and volume to the garland. Use as little or as much as you’d like. It’s so easy to simply fluff and shove them into the garland to see how you like it.
For this step, I usually add some, then walk away for a bit. When I come back to the room, my eyes feel more “fresh” and I can see where I should add or subtract items.
Again, the picks I used in this process were: cedar stems, green and gold magnolia leaves, long needle pine picks, and a large glittered magnolia stem. I also used the sugared red berries I got from At Home a couple of years ago. Can’t find them this year online, but they were in a multi-pack for a few dollars each. I used around 6 cedar stems, 6 green and 6 gold magnolias, 5 long needle pine picks, and 1 glittered magnolia. If you were interested in the glitter bomb, I’d suggest grabbing it the day after Christmas – they always plummet in price quite considerably. Otherwise, I couldn’t have afforded all the ones I put on my 12 foot tree!
Step 3: Add lights
For garland, I prefer having a non pre-lit, just so I can add exactly the lights I want, and to not worry about the lights shorting out and being unable to replace them. I don’t have an easily accessible plug here, so I use battery powered rice lights. This is a 15 foot strand. I place the battery pack on the floor and work my way from one side to the other. Doing this towards the end means you can get the lights where you want them, without covering them up with picks or stems.
Step 4: Add ribbon/bows
I made these bows a few years ago, and simply roll them up and store them every year. Everything I know about bows, I learned from YouTube, and from my friend Kelli’s mom!
Here’s a really great tutorial on YouTube if you have struggled with bows.
To secure the bows to the garland you can use floral wire, pipe cleaners, or zip ties.
I have extra long tails on these bows, so that I can trail the ribbon down, and also up and across the top of the mantle. This is totally optional. I avoid cutting ribbon as much as possible in case I want to use it in a different application later, so I made these in a way that minimized cutting. If you wanted ribbon across the top, you can always add it independently of the bow.
Where to shop for Christmas garland decorations:
House by JSD – I already shouted my love for them all over the video and in this post, but it’s 100% where I buy the majority of my decorations. They’re in Lexington, KY but also ship. I’ve been buying annually for the past several years, and that’s how I’ve amassed a bit of a collection. The quality is amazing and everything is timeless. Some favorites: long needle pine garland, long needle pine spray, gold sedum spray, gold faux magnolia leaf, magnolia leaf pick, cedar stem, mixed pine greenery stem.
Target has some nice options, including this 9 foot flocked, pre-lit garland. This is a pretty pre-decorated one with gold, blush, and burgundy. They also have a magnolia garland. They also have some floral stems/picks.
At Home is great on a budget, and for shopping in-store. They have garland, a lot of stems, and a good selection of ribbon. My suggestion is to shop EARLY in the season, and to overbuy. You can always return something, but once it’s sold at at your local store, you probably won’t find it again during the season – it gets picked through pretty heavily.
Pottery Barn has some nice done-for-you options if you’re not into a lot of glitter or maximalism like I am! This white berry garland is gorgeous, this magnolia and pomegranate is beautiful, and this is a nice, lush set of cedar garlands.
Frontgate – If you really want a professional-looking garland without any of the work (beyond fluffing), Frontgate has gorgeous holiday options. (But of course, they’ll cost you!) I’m obsessed with this Delft blue garland (would go great in my dining room.) This garland has nearly everything that I put in mine: pine, cedar, magnolia, and berries. If you want luxe gold, this is a good option.
Kirklands – There is a lot of good stuff at Kirklands right now, and I’ll admit that it’s a place I often overlook. This is a pretty garland if you like buffalo check. You can use this eucalyptus and pine garland with bells on its own, or add a few things to it if you wish. These frosted berry picks could go with nearly any type of decor.
Grandin Road – They have a lot of holiday decor items, including garland, urn fillers, picks, and more. This cascading garland is pretty. For something romantic, try this blushing floral garland.
RIBBON – A quick addition as I just received an order I placed for some ribbon from an Etsy shop called 5th Street Studio. Before ordering, I was skeptical of the quality based on the price, but needed about 60 yards and wanted to stay on budget. I’m really impressed with the quality and will be ordering more the next time I need ribbon!