Tip 3

Deck the Halls

Want to add a festive touch and natural aromatic to your home without breaking the holiday budget? Dress your mantle, buffet or hutch, and table tops with fresh clippings of magnolia, holly branches, white pine or Douglas fir. Take a walk around your neighborhood with clippers and basket in hand (communal trees and bushes only, and no trespassing please), or visit your local tree stand or hardware store for inexpensive bundles or free discards and bring home the bounty. 

Quick and Easy Greenery Deck-o-rations!

White Pine

Starting from the bottom up, a little goes a long way. When clipping, you’re looking for long, flat pieces cut from the ends of low branches. I like to use them as the first layer on my surface as the spiny needles do a good job laying flat and peeking through. Pines are accustomed to leaking sap drips so be mindful of unprotected surfaces. I like to place a runner on my table just in case.

Douglas Fir 

The next layer is the most fragrant of all the evergreens. These clippings are easily obtained from your local tree stand. Ask for their discards from trimming the trunks of Christmas Trees. Clip pieces that naturally fall in an interesting arrangement over the white pine needles. You are designing from the outer edges in. Think sprawling and flowing when laying out your pieces allowing the bottom pine to peek through. Don’t worry about the cut part of the branches as they are easy to hide with the last layer. 


When clipping magnolia, opt for the cluster, or bud of the magnolia leaves as they are the prettiest part of the branch. Use these to create height in your display. The leaves are deep green on the topside while the undersides boast a bronze rust. They last a few weeks, so if you decorate early hoping to muster every ounce of festivity from the season you may need to replace clippings once before Christmas. 

Add a small cluster, (one bud) of magnolia every so often to add height to your mantle display, hiding the end or cut side of the evergreen branches. You can also nestle lanterns, candlesticks, frames, Santas or other decorations amongst the greenery using them to cover the origin of the cut branches.

Note: Use extra caution when lighting open candles around fresh greenery being mindful of potential fire hazards

If you are making a tabletop centerpiece, cluster several magnolia buds together in the center between two candles with evergreens elegantly fanning out towards the length of the table.


The final layer of your display are deep green clippings that add depth. Use them to fill in holes and add more interest and diversity. 

There you have it. Stand back and enjoy the view, or better yet invite others over and share your new skill. 

MyTip: Some retailers offer precut bundles at a very fair price. Consider the time saved searching, trekking and clipping, along with your availability to green space in order to decide what’s right for your budget. 

There’s something so cozy and welcoming about a home decked for the holiday’s. Find your inner designer this season and bring the outside in using natural elements.

Hugs out! Laura


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