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Christmas wreaths: how to make your own, London’s best wreath-making workshops, plus expert tips and trends

·6-min read
 (Philippa Craddock)
(Philippa Craddock)

There’s something quite special about a fragrant front door wreath at Christmas to give that warm and welcoming festive feeling.

If you’re seeking something spectacular to impress neighbours and guests, you might want to buy a Christmas wreath or perhaps even make your own.

Christmas wreath-making surged in popularity during last year’s lockdown, say experts, with many creatives and florists offering online workshops or DIY wreath kits, as we were forced to stay at home.

“People were spending a lot of time inside so they were looking for fun, creative things to do,” says India Burrill, store manager of Lavender Green Flowers, who ran wreath-making workshops online for hundreds of people via Zoom in 2020.

This year, there are dozens of in-person workshops happening across the capital, including at Lavender Green in Kings Road, Chelsea.

Participants can create a bespoke wreath with a vast selection of mixed foliage and a pick and mix of dried elements during a two-hour workshop with expert guidance.

“Have a nice time, be creative and get into the festive spirit,” Burrill told me when I tried the fabulous workshop out for myself. “There’s no right or wrong way, just follow all the tips and have fun with it.”

And for those of us who don’t have a front door, or fear it might get nicked in our neighbour? Wreaths can also be used as a table decoration. That’s me covered then.

Those who prefer to stay at home this year can choose from a range of wreaths - from supermarket options starting at £30 to luxury options from London’s independent florists and department stores. There is also a plethora of make-your-own options available.

“Wreath-making really makes you feel happy, as it uses a part of your brain that wakes up your creative side and it’s great to take time out to do something for yourself that is not work related,’’ says Lucy Dell, founder of The Real Christmas Company.

When lockdown brought Dell’s in-person workshops to a halt in 2020, she launched DIY wreath kits, which are still proving popular this year.

“It is such a wonderful way to get a group of friends or colleagues together to get into the festive mood,” Dell adds. “Anyone with a dining table or kitchen island can host, making it accessible to everyone.”

How to make a Christmas wreath

“Wreaths are wonderfully easy and hugely enjoyable to make,” says world-renowned florist Philippa Craddock, who is running an online Christmas design masterclass this year.

“However, you do need to know the right techniques, and with a few practices, you will be quickly making beautiful, full festive designs, which will make you feel immensely proud.”

Philippa Craddock’s wreath making workshops (Philippa Craddock)
Philippa Craddock’s wreath making workshops (Philippa Craddock)

There are two different types of bases for a wreath, says Craddock; a simple branch or metal ring base, which is great for smaller wreaths, or a larger, sturdier traditional base, made with moss, which offers longevity and scope for more decorations.

To build a Christmas wreath, you first add mixed foliage to the base, which can include ivy, pines, eucalyptus, or pussy willow.

The next step is the dried elements, which can include pine cones, green oranges, orange slices, whole oranges, cinnamon sticks and ribbons. These can be attached with wires.

Christmas wreath trends 2021

Traditional colours are a big trend this Christmas, according to Lavender Green store manager Burrill.

“This year the style is very much red, green and gold,” she says. “People are going very traditional perhaps because of Christmas being cancelled last year so people are going big this year.

Eucalyptus and lavender Christmas wreath, by Lavender Green Flowers (Lavender Green Flowers)
Eucalyptus and lavender Christmas wreath, by Lavender Green Flowers (Lavender Green Flowers)

According to Dell, of The Real Christmas Company, 2021 is all about wide velvet ribbons.

“They’re a real hit this year,” she says. “What I really like about this fantastic ancient craft is that every wreath is totally unique and you can see that personality come through in people’s choices too.”

When should you put up your Christmas wreath?

According to Burrill, the first weekend or first week of December are the best times to hang your wreath.

“It’s evergreen foliage so it will last a long time but it can dry out. It will last for a good period of time so you can enjoy it over Christmas.”

However Balham-based florist Ronny Colbie, who has several handmade wreaths for sale, says we should wait a little longer.

“The best time to put up your wreath is two weeks before the 25th,” he says. I know that seems late but it is to ensure ultimate freshness, so the closer to Christmas the better.”

How to care for your Christmas wreath

If you want your wreath to stay greener, longer, keep it out of direct light and heat, says Kate Kern, head florist at Maison de Fleurs, which has a range of wreaths for sale.

You should also avoid moving it around too much so that pieces don’t become dislodged and make sure it is securely fixed to your door or wall to avoid damage, she adds.

Wreaths with a moss frame should be kept moist to ensure freshness. You can either run it under the tap or mist it once or twice a week.

Bonus tip: If you’ve made your own wreath using wires, make sure they are tucked away properly to avoid scratching your door.

When should you take down your Christmas wreath?

Taking Christmas wreaths down is all a personal preference, says Colbie. “Our family tradition is to take them down on New Year’s Eve. New year, fresh start. Clean house, clear mind.”

Wreath-making workshops in London and online

Wreath-making masterclasses at Lavender Green Flowers, Kings Road, Chelsea. Throughout December

Don an apron and become a florist for the evening to create your own bespoke Christmas wreath at Lavender Green’s flagship store. Groups between eight and 16 can be catered for throughout December with prices starting at £75 per person

Philippa Craddock’s Christmas wreaths double as table decorations (Philippa Craddock)
Philippa Craddock’s Christmas wreaths double as table decorations (Philippa Craddock)

Wreaths & supper at Leila’s Shop, Calvert Avenue, Bethnal Green: 6pm Tuesday, December 7

Learn how to make an evergreen wreath that will be fully compostable using native foliages during an evening including dinner by SSAW Collective. Tickets £95

Festive wreath making at Petersham Nurseries: at stores in Richmond and Covent Garden throughout December

This immersive masterclass promises to teach you the art of wreath making while socially-distanced. Tickets £150 include light refreshments

Philippa Craddock Christmas Design masterclass: Online from December 1

If you fancy staying online this year, there are plenty of options available online. A three-part masterclass combines step-by-step guides including how to make an abundant wreath, how to create an elegant festive table and how to instal a sustainable festive design on your staircase bannister. Tickets for £195 include a live Q&A and a private community group.

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