DiY Your Holiday Décor
By Stacy Milbouer
Fiddlehead Contributing Editor
The average American spends about $635 a year on the holidays – $225 of which goes to decorations, according to the National Retail Association.
But for those Fiddleheads out there devoted to living local, there are plenty of options to keeping that money close to home.
Of course, there are our numerous nurseries and Christmas tree farms for that evergreen decoration in the house, but there’s so much more. Starting now, local garden centers, farms, stores and libraries are offering workshops using local products and natural materials to DIY your own local holiday décor.
Are you looking for something special to jazz up the dinner table this Thanksgiving? Head to Churchill’s Garden Center, 12 Hampton Rd., Exeter, Thursday, Nov. 21, from 5 to 6 p.m., for a teen and adult holiday centerpiece class made with live greens, fresh berries and pinecones for $35. There will also be a similar class for children on Nov. 23, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 1:30 p.m. for $15. Learn more at chuchillsgarden.com or call 772-2685.
Rolling Green Nursery, 64 Breakfast Hill Road, Greenland, is also offering its “Make and Take Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop,” Sunday, Nov. 24, from 10:30 to noon. There will be a large selection of plants and materials and staff to answer questions or give guidance. Tickets are free. Plants and materials can be purchased “a la carte.” Call 436-2732 or visit rollinggreennursery.com.
At Beaver Brook Association in Hollis, walkers not only get to make decorations out of natural objects, but they get to take in the natural world while doing it. On Wednesday, Dec. 4 there will be two workshops, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Participants take a hike through some of the nature preserve’s 35 miles of trails to gather evergreens, Eastern hemlock, white pine and mountain laurel as well as pinecones and winter berries. Then it’s back to the Brown Lane barn for hot tea and cookies while learning to make long-lasting holiday wreaths. The event is BYOC – bring your own clippers; wreath rings and wire are supplied. The cost is $28 for nonmembers and $25 for members. Learn more at beaverbrook.org or call 465-7787.
What better gift to give than one you can assemble with materials found in forests and fields? Learn to make a variety of cute and decorative ornaments from nature at Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center, 928 White Oaks Road, Laconia. A “Nature-Inspired Holiday Ornaments Workshop” will be held Dec. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m., at a cost of $8 per person, or free for members.
You can also make your own one-of-a-kind wreaths at the Delahunty Garden & Landscape Center, 41 Range Road, Windham, on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. The $65 fee includes light snacks and refreshments.
And on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m., instructors will show how to create a winter wonderland using a fresh boxwood tree and embellishments to create tabletop centerpieces. The workshop is $65. Learn more at delahuntys.com or call 893-7155.
Succulents are all the plant rage making appearances at holiday tables as well as in wedding bouquets. The Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake St., Salem, is offering a class on making your own succulent decoration planter Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. The garden center is also getting an early start on Poinsettia Day holding its annual Poinsettia Open House on Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. That’s two days before the celebration named for American botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett who brought the plant to the United States from Mexico more than 150 years ago.
But even he would be astonished at the popularity of this seasonal decoration favorite and the fact that there are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias today. The garden center won’t have all 100 varieties on-hand, but they’ll have plenty in a greenhouse full of the festive plants, including those in shades of red, white, pink and even blue.
There will also be a visit from Santa, refreshments and raffle giveaway. For more information on both events, visit lakestreet.com or call 893-5858.
The League of NH Craftsmen offers decoration classes in some of their locations throughout the state.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Meredith Fine Craft Gallery, 279 Daniel Webster Highway, create original winter scene holiday cards using the watercolor masking technique. All supplies will be provided.
Work from your own photograph or another picture that serves as inspiration. Instructor Ann Xavier will have samples to work from if needed. She is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with 30 years of teaching experience.
Students should bring their own winter landscape picture or holiday ideas. Tuition is $50 per student with a $35 materials fee paid to the instructor on the day of the class. Space is limited and advanced registration is required to meredith.nhcrafts.org or 279-7920.
At the Hanover League, 13 Lebanon St., two wreath-making classes will be held Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 1-5 p.m. Learn to make a stunning winter wreath with all-natural materials for a striking decoration that is sure to be a showstopper!
Bring work gloves and pruning shears. All materials will be provided for making a single wreath. The total cost is $90 for nonmembers or $85 for members. Learn more at hanover.nhcrafts.org or call 643-5050.
If you want to chill while creating gifts and decorations for Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza, you might want to make your own Zentangle ornament at the League of NH Craftsmen Nashua Fine Craft Gallery, 98 Main St., Nashua. Zentangle is a relaxing, method of creating beautiful images by using simple structured patterns. Artists and non-artists alike enjoy the simple elegance of putting pen to paper and find that it enhances creativity and stress relief.
For this paper bell ornament holiday decoration, you will have the opportunity to try metallic ink on dark paper and color on white paper. Feel free to bring pencils, pens, markers or watercolor pencils use to add color; a variety will be supplied. The workshop takes place Dec. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Total cost is $35 for adults and teens 12 and older. Learn more at nashau.nhcrafts.org or call 595-8233.