Just in time for the holidays, let Mother Nature inspire you with these crafty ideas for a wreath decorating party.
Nothing says “welcome” more warmly than a Christmas wreath. And for Elizabeth Allen, few things are as much fun as trimming them with a circle of friends.
“Our wreath decorating party is a happy, relaxing part of this busy season that we look forward to,” says Elizabeth, who’s from Leucadia, California. “It’s a chance to socialize with family, friends and neighbors and to get our creative energy flowing.”
For several years now, Elizabeth and her friend Marilyn Tedesco have hosted the festive get-together, always on the first weekend in December, so everyone can enjoy their fresh wreaths all season long. They credit Mother Nature with the inspiration.
The day before the party, Elizabeth and husband Don Mohr buy plain 18-inch wreaths at a warehouse club. Guests start arriving in the early afternoon, toting containers brimming with trimmings.
“They bring everything from ornamental balls, bows and ribbons to seashells and peacock feathers—whatever the imagination allows,” Elizabeth explains. “Themes range from Victorian to Hanukkah to rustic country.”
Typically, Elizabeth favors outdoorsy materials such as pinecones, seedpods, nuts, berries, lichen and date palm leaves. She collects all year and often brings home natural souvenirs from trips she and Don take.
Each partygoer gets a newspaper-covered work-station in the dining room, where there’s plenty of space for their glue guns, clippers and other tools. Brownies and scones fuel the crafters, while holiday music and the spicy scent of pine fill the air.
Elizabeth aims for a full, lush look with her own designs. “When I think my wreath is finished, I double its decorations.”
The party lasts about two hours, including a quick sweep for needles and stray bric-a-brac. Don then photographs each crafter individually with her wreath, and everyone gets a keepsake group portrait.
Tips from Elizabeth Allen to start your own wreath party:
- Decide whether the party will be girls-only or a mixed group. If you invite children, keep their wreaths small. Provide kid-friendly trims and tools to use under adult supervision.
- Send invitations about a month in advance. Advise guests about the wreath costs so they can reimburse you, and ask them each to bring their own trimmings, craft glue or a glue gun, scissors, and wrapped wire or raffia to make a hanger.
- Prepare the work space the night before. Set up workstations and chairs at long banquet tables or card tables. Cover work surfaces with newspaper, and allow floor space for materials and room on the table for supplies and sorting trims. For a big group, consider using a church hall or condo clubhouse.
- Keep extension cords handy for glue guns.
- Clear space for a grab bag table, where guests put extra decorations and craft supplies for everyone to share.
- Consider making the event part of a fund-raiser, where you sell hand-trimmed designer wreaths and donate proceeds to a worthy cause. Be sure to publicize it!