I used to always put up a live Christmas tree, but one year I found a vintage 1950's aluminum tree and well, pine needles and I parted ways. I've missed having that bit of green and the smell of a Christmas tree, so I brought it in through a different way.
This isn't quite a 'how to' but more of a guide on gathering up your greens. I went to Gethsemane nursery in Andersonville and picked up some boxwood branches, red berry sprigs, juniper greens and flowering eucalyptus.
My apartment isn't very big so I didn't want to buy any of the big pre-made garland (even though it was gorgeous). My next house will have a sweeping staircase and a wide entry way (kind of like Tara in Gone With the Wind) and then I'll be piling on the greenery.
For the entryway that divides my living room and dining room I hung larger lights and clipped some juniper and red berry's to the lights. That was it. My only warning is tape will not hold this thing up (not that I'm speaking from experience!). Make sure you have the lights hung securely before you start adding the greens.
I loved that it was quick and easy plus it smells delicious.
My mantle needed some Christmas spirit. For my first attempt I lay down some boxwood and berries. I also added a couple of things I picked up from Target. I couldn't resist the wee tree and owl. My first attempt was very underwhelming. It definitely needed more...something.
I took everything off and looped some lights all over the mantle. I used the bigger white lights again, but small lights would work just as well. I lay the boxwood and berries down and added the flowering eucalyptus to the mix and it felt much more lush.
I still had some boxwood left and so I laid a couple of branches stem to stem and taped them up. I added some red berries to hide the tape (you could also wrap it in some ribbon). I looped some picture hanging wire around it and hung it on a nail over the entrance way to my kitchen.
My apartment is now in the Christmas spirit. This is the first year I've splurged and brought home fresh cuttings. Having that bit of nature just feels good. Plus it smells incredible.
P.S. You only see a glimpse of it, but that amazing piece of art on my mantle was done by my friend Doug Birkenheuer who is a gifted photographer.