I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with finding my family’s Christmas style. As a relatively newly married couple we are still meshing our ideas of what Christmas should look like.
Take for instance how my husband likes to decorate the exterior of our home. Growing up he and his family really looked up to the Griswolds. They covered every inch of their home in lights and Christmas figurines- twinkle lights, big lights, small lights, icicle lights, Santas, igloos, penguins, candy canes! They are equal opportunity lights kind of people except when it comes to white lights. White lights are boring.
I first met my husband’s family at Christmas. He told me constantly about his and his family’s love for Christmas lights. It wasn’t until I was standing in the dark in his front yard while he turned on each strand of lights that I truly understood the magnitude of their love for lights. Later that trip, he warned me that if I needed to use the microwave for anything, I’d need to make sure the lights were turned off first. This little tip was learned after many times of tripping the breaker and feeling around in the dark to turn the lights back on. Their breaker simply can’t handle the outrageous number of Christmas lights and the microwave
My family, on the other hand, took a more restrained approach. Don’t get me wrong, we cover our Christmas tree in colored lights and tinsel, but we rarely decorated the outside of our home. When we did, it was a few strands of white lights. Growing up, I loved the homes that had just a touch of white lights with lots of greenery. Naively, I just knew that my husband would have the same taste in Christmas lights and our home would forever be tastefully decorated.
Our first year of marriage, like many others’, was a year of learning and combining our family’s traditions. When it came to Christmas lights, I knew that my reality would be different than my previous dreams. My husband carried his family’s tradition of lights into our family’s decorating. He says that kids like to look at lots and lots of colored lights. So as not to disappoint, he covers our house in covered lights. While I didn’t love it at first, I can’t deny that it is pretty precious to see how excited he is each year when we add more lights.
Each year, he works tirelessly to decorate our home. And each year, I say “Wait, wait, don’t turn them on until I’m standing outside!” So then I stand out side in the dark while he turns on each strand of lights. And when they’re all turned on, I say “Oh my gosh, it’s beautiful! The best house on the street!” I really am starting to love this little tradition.
That folks, is what makes our marriage work! We combine the traditions that we can, but there are some traditions that just can’t be changed.
Knowing that my home will forever be covered in colored lights at Christmas, I know that simple greenery just won’t cut it. In an effort to support these holiday decorations, I was inspired to make an ornament wreath. It’s colorful, sparkly, and won’t be lost when the lights are turned on. If you know me, you know I tend to go all in so one ornament wreath turned into three ornament wreaths to make a snowman that covers almost our entire door.
This year, with great anticipation, we brought the ornament wreath snowman down from our attic. As Dan was bringing it down the stairs, I heard the thud, thud, thud, of loose ornaments rolling down the stairs. This is not the sound you want to hear.
This is what was left of our wreath:
Poor Frosty. We suspect that when our air conditioner was repaired the repairman stepped on the wreath loosening the ornaments. I will not be upset about it though because that angel of a repairman fixed our air conditioning unit in the summer in Alabama. He is a saint in my book.
This project is really easy, but does require some time. I’ll show you how to make it using what’s left of Frosty.
You will need:
3 wire frame wreaths (I used 8″, 12″, and 16″ wire frames)
Ornaments (150-250 of varying sizes)
Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks
Floral Wire/Zip Ties
A note about ornaments: The ornaments are the most expensive part of this wreath, primarily because you need so many of them. To cut down on costs, I purchased most of my medium and small ornaments from a dollar store. The large ornaments were a steal from Home Goods. They had a giant tub of ornaments-75 total- for less than 30 dollars. These really made the wreath because of their unique colors and shapes. If you keep a look out for Christmas décor sales, you can usually find lots of great ornaments!
To begin, hot glue medium/large sized ornaments to the outer rim of the metal frame. You can easily attach the ornament by hot gluing both of the outer wires of the frame, and nestling the ornament on the glued frame. Do this with the prong going through the frames and towards the ground.
When these are secure, glue medium/large sized ornaments to the inner rim using the same process. Try to connect as many points as possible to keep the ornaments secure. For example, if your inner ornament can be glued to two spots on the wire frame and the ornament beside it, you’ve hit ornament wreath gold! The more points you can glue, the more secure your wreath!
Once the two rows of ornaments are secure, begin filling in the gaps on the top. You can use small, medium, or large ornaments. Really go crazy filling in those gaps!
At this point, you’re gluing the top ornament to the lower ornaments. I like to lay out the ornaments to see where they will best fit and fill in the most gaps, and then glue the ornaments in place. I didn’t have any method for deciding which ornament went where other than filling in the gaps and separating some of the similar colors. For example, if there was a red ornament on the bottom, I didn’t put a red ornament on top.
You can use this process for each of the three wreaths. When the wreaths are completed and the ornaments are secure, you can start attaching the wreaths to make the snowman shape!
Carefully turn the wreath over with the ornaments facing down. Using floral wire, secure one wreath to the other like so:
I cut several inches of floral wire then made several loops through the exterior wires of the wreath frames. I wrapped the tail of the wire around the loops to secure it.
I so wish I could give you more specific instructions, but this is really a trial and error process. You want the loops to hold the wreaths close enough that you don’t see a lot of wire, but you don’t want the loops so tight that it tilts the wreaths and makes them uncentered. Just play around with the lengths until it looks right to you.
When the wreaths are attached, hang the wreath on you door! Colored lights optional.