Beyond evergreen, there are a handful of other festive plants you can use for garlands, wreaths, table settings and more.
Hanging a wreath made from anything but evergreens may make some people itch like a kid in an ugly Christmas sweater.
7 Fresh Holiday Greenery Decorations
Plenty of natural materials can give a fresh and lively twist to traditional decorating schemes. Here, This Old House TV landscape contractor Roger Cook and landscape designer Jenn Nawada share their favorite ideas for sourcing holiday decor from nature.
1. Festive Holly
We can’t forget this holiday-greenery staple. Roger suggests finding long branches that have lots of berries and will fit nicely in your display. Tuck sprigs into an existing wreath or among hurricane glasses on a mantel to bring together the classic Christmas combo of red and green.
Find inspiration in period holiday decor in a presidential guesthouse.
2. Hardy Succulents
Jenn likes placing succulents in frames as wall hangings or in interesting containers like birdcages for tablescapes. The plants’ drought tolerance means they’ll stay green through the season with little maintenance. (Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of Ask This Old House with her tutorial on the wall hangings.)
Watch Roger’s tips for choosing and caring for succulents.
3. Bright Redtwig Dogwood
These vibrant red branches—another of Roger’s seasonal favorites—add a little edge to large containers, as seen in this Topiarius design. Tuck them into indoor containers as well for a dramatic vertical effect.
Keep your seasonal entry looking good with these weatherproofing tips for outdoor decorations.
4. Crisp Magnolia Leaves
This Southern-style favorite is a stunner in its fresh, glossy-green form. But the golden-brown hue of the dried leaves makes a nice transition from fall to winter. Use brown leaves to break up and elevate your traditional holiday greenery.
Put this handsome find to work on your mantel by making a magnolia leaf garland.
5. Minimalist Eucalyptus
The matte leaves will fit in with your pared-down, farmhouse-style setup. Fill a basket with sprigs, or strategically place them in a fresh wreath with other cuttings.
Watch and learn how to make the pictured colorful winter wreath with eucalyptus, grapevine, and more.
6. Romantic Mistletoe, Revamped
Ditch the doorway’s notorious hanging cluster, and opt for a mistletoe wreath or party backdrop instead. Just avoid telling any Christmas partygoers what the wreath’s made of, lest you cause a kissing commotion.
Gather ideas from the American colonial and Gilded Age periods about decorating with locally sourced greenery.
7. If All Else Fails, Go Evergreen
This lush go-to rarely disappoints. Snip a few boughs from your Christmas tree or purchase tree-lot extras to tuck into vignettes, wreaths, garlands, and more.
When its time is up, check out these reuse ideas for your dead Christmas tree.
Pro-Tip: How to Keep Your Cuttings Fresh
Roger points out that cuttings used in a Thanksgiving feast centerpiece can easily pull double duty for a Christmas party table vignette.
He recommends storing them outdoors between the two occasions to promote longevity. For the short term, he advises spraying antidesiccant on cuttings to keep them fresh—without placing them in water.
Channel Roger’s smarts for picking the perfect Christmas tree.