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By using plants, you can create the cheer without calling to mind a loaded holiday tradition.

’Tis the Season: How to Incorporate Nature into Holiday Decorations

sleigh-ride2012Holiday decorations are an essential feature of the season. Without festive lights, winter-themed knick-knacks, and glittering tinsel, it hardly feels like the holidays to most of us.

While many traditions contribute to décor during the month of December, one of the most prominent is the use of nature or nature-inspired themes. Whether you want to make your decorations yourself or select nature scenes for your holiday card design, incorporating nature into your holiday decorations can be both fun and beautiful.

There are many reasons nature gets used as a prominent theme in holiday décor. For example, many people want to keep their decorations religiously neutral, or save money by avoiding overpriced holiday decorations.

Bringing nature into home holiday decorations

Many people might picture winter as a time of bare trees and dead grass, but using decorations that depict nature or incorporating plants into holiday décor can be a great way to bring some life into your holiday season.

The Christmas tree is probably the most obvious example of the long-standing tradition of importing plants indoors during the winter holiday season, but holly, fir, pine, and mistletoe are also frequently features of winter holiday decorations.

Using fallen pinecones and other objects found in nature is another way to add a rustic feel to your holiday décor. Found objects direct from the outdoors will save you significant expense because you can dodge the overpriced holiday decorations sold by stores.

Also, if you’re concerned about how to celebrate the holidays without evoking a specific religious or cultural theme, using winter plants and evergreens can create holiday spirit without incorporating specifically religious elements. And there are countless ways to integrate nature into your holiday decorations.

Once you know what types of branches, berries, or evergreens you have available, start thinking of ways to use them around the house. One of the easiest ways to bring a little nature into your holiday décor is to wrap evergreen plants around your banisters using florist wire, for a festive and elegant touch.

If you have access to pine cones, dip them in glitter or white paint to give them a wintry look before hanging them from chandeliers or other areas of the house. Using objects found in nature can save you money during the holiday season while you still achieve a festive ambiance in your home.

You should be aware that some holiday plants can be dangerous for animals, though. Poinsettias are the most prominent holiday decoration that is toxic to pets.

Check that all the members of your family (including pets) know how to interact with the plants in your house. Whether you’re interested in saving money or having a nonreligious theme for your decorations this holiday season, using the natural resources around you can be a great way to spruce up your home.

Decorating your office with nature

Issues regarding cultural sensitivity and neutrality have higher stakes in the business environment. Employees may come from a variety of backgrounds and religious affiliations, so how a business chooses to decorate for the holidays can carry a significant (and potentially mixed) message.

Using winter plants such as fir, pine, and holly can make an office look seasonal and festive without raising sensitive issues. For some color, bring in poinsettias.

By using plants, you can create the cheer without calling to mind a loaded holiday tradition. Watch out when you’re tying ribbons and bows on winter plants, because certain colors can carry religious meanings.

Avoid the red/green of Christmas or white/blue of Hanukah to stay safely and culturally neutral.

Natural imagery in holiday cards

Even if you’re not enthused about bringing live plants into your home or office, natural imagery in decorations and holiday cards can be a great way to celebrate while staying culturally and religiously neutral.

Winter weather and nature are a great options for sending holiday cards to a large group of people because they can be suitable for any scenario, ranging from business holiday cards to family cards. It’s especially important for business cards to avoid assumptions about the religious affiliation of employees, clients, or investors.

Minted.com has noted that some of the most prominent nature themes in Christmas cards are snow, evergreens, mistletoe, and holly. These beautiful cards avoid making a declaration about religious identity while still offering the recipient a taste of the holiday spirit and showing you care.

Using nature scenes in your holiday cards and creating beautiful decorations with winter plants are great ways to boost your holiday spirit without running the risk of referencing a specific religious tradition. By using objects found in nature, you reduce decorating costs and ensure your house looks appropriate during the holiday season.

Holiday cards that depict seasonal changes or winter nature can be safe to send out to people you may not know well. Embracing the seasonal changes of winter allows you to tap into nature’s cyclical character and suggest a refreshing start to the new year.

Image credit: fws.gov (public domain)

About Jessica McMohen

Jessica is an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors.

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