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Earlier this year, many people found themselves at home, baking bread, baking cookies (let’s be honest, baking all the things) to help keep themselves busy during quarantine. Now, with the holiday season in full swing, we want to know, is wreath-making the new bread-baking? We think so. We asked three local floral designers who know their way around holiday greenery to give you tips, direct from the trade, for a complete crash course in wreath making at home.

At Amy McLaughlin Flowers in Newburyport, owner Amy McLaughlin’s shop is bursting with cheer—and greens. When setting out to make your own wreath, McLaughlin encourages people to take inspiration from the outdoors.

“Go for a walk, see what you come across. You are likely to find evergreen branches, berries, and other types of greenery from which you can draw inspiration. I often tell people to step into their backyards and not to be shy about foraging for materials they already have at home that will work well in a holiday wreath or tablescape,” she explains. Good seasonal materials include feathers and pomegranates, which add interest and color.

Need a holiday gift? Consider gifting a wreath. “It’s something that can last the whole holiday season,” and the recipient will think of you each time they pass by it,” she says. 

McLaughlin suggests layering to create movement. Eucalyptus on a traditional pine wreath is a wonderful way to add depth. Red or white berries are also useful, as are pinecones, which you are likely to find while out on a morning walk. 

If you like the idea of making your own wreath but need a little guidance, McLaughlin’s Make Your Own Wreath Kits are the perfect solution. They come complete with everything you need, right down to the ribbon for a big, beautiful bow. These kits make for a fun activity to do with a friend or family member.

If you have little ones, McLaughlin’s Winter Wonderland Kits come with reindeer, snow, pine trees, a picket fence, a tiny house, and more—everything required to create your own miniature winter scene. McLaughlin also has a variety of pre-made wreaths for sale and takes custom orders. 

At Les Fleurs in Andover, floral designer Sandra Sigman is serious about the holidays, infusing her own brand of holiday flair into every design she creates. Sigman also suggests turning to nature for inspiration, echoing the sentiment that oftentimes all you need to create a beautiful design is just outside your front door. And feel free to expand your horizons when it comes to a traditional pine base. Branches are a great alternative. 

When creating, Sigman encourages people to follow their intuition. If you want to fill out your wreath base completely, by all means. If you want to focus only on the top or the bottom, that’s perfectly acceptable. Symmetry is not a requirement and letting some of the base remain unadorned can be beautiful and make your wreath a statement piece.

Not just for front doors, holiday wreaths can be displayed in a variety of ways, from adorning fences to miniature sleighs.

How’s your handwriting? Penning a handwritten holiday phrase or song lyric (or having someone do it for you) is another way to make your design stand out. Whatever direction your wreath design takes you, Sigman wants people to enjoy the process, noting that this can be such “an enjoyable activity for a small group to do together” and get everyone into the spirit of the season.

Katie Rocheford is the owner and lead designer at Sweet Annie Floral Design and the co-owner of Salt & Grove in downtown Newburyport. For this task, Rocheford brought her own spin to wreath design, opting to use a gold hoop as a wreath base instead of traditional greens. By fastening fresh greenery and flowers to a gold hoop, Rocheford created a whimsical, wintery look, complete with an oversized white ribbon tied in a bow. Berries and eucalyptus (which dries well naturally) complete the look.

The Home + Parties arm of Sweet Annie Floral has been busy this season, adorning front doors and front porches with seasonal décor all across the North Shore and in Boston.

Rocheford says part of the beauty of this time of year is “getting to incorporate your own style and preferences into the holidays.” If red and green don’t speak to you, they’re not a requirement. Do what you like and you’ll always be happy to walk through that front door and into your home.,,