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Two Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home for the Holidays

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This season, we're Making Magic, bringing you a series of easy transformations to embellish already-wonderful things, from tables to mantels to trees. Today, we're talking wreaths. Slide back and forth on the image below to see the magic happen.

The phrase "holiday season" conjures a full sensory experience: cozy homes, soft lighting, the aroma of something spiced baking or mulling, the sound of Bing Crosby (and/or Mariah Carey). There are a million things you can do to achieve this kind of backdrop—or you can hang a wreath and call it a day.

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A wreath instantly makes a room feel more cheerful and festive. A wreath adds a touch of color and natural beauty, bringing to mind all those gatherings spent over the river and through the woods (even if that's not how you got to your grandmother's house—or even if, like me, your grandmother never celebrated Christmas). A fresh wreath smells amazing, subtly infusing a room with its scent, whether rich and earthy or piney and bright. And it will eventually dry, resulting in—ta-da!—a dried wreath you can enjoy all season long.

Slide left (or right!) to see two versions we love.

To get there, start with—you guessed it—a wreath. It can be pine or boxwood or made of woody herbs. You can make it yourself, or pick up something from a garden shop or nursery. We used an olive and thistle version from Creekside Farms. Naturally lush, the mix of olive tree leaves and eucalyptus is a friendly green, brightening any room, and intensely aromatic. Our art director, Alexis Anthony, wanted to hang the wreath over a door—a welcoming sight, to be sure. But she didn't want to mar the door's surface with a nail, so she opted for an easy wreath hack: She put a nail in the top of the door, tied a glossy ribbon around the wreath, and strung the ribbon over the nail.

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She could have stopped there: The simple wreath with its simple bow was plenty beautiful as-is. But we're making magic here, so she went the (tiny) extra step, adding eucalyptus and red burning bush branches along with a few silver bell pods, securing her additions with the ribbon, and hanging the wreath as before (she took out the smaller flowers and thistle, but you could leave those in—anything goes). Suddenly our wreath had body, color, and a touch of "pow!"

Adding those elements was all it took to complement our wreath's natural beauty and bring it to the next level—and the same ideas apply to any type. For a pine wreath, try long, colorful branches, like red dogwood or bittersweet vine. For a boxwood wreath, a small bunch of dried flowers would introduce brightness. If you've got a rosemary wreath, conjure the countryside by tying on dried lavender. Or maybe you're a decor minimalist: You don't go in for all the flouncy frou-frou, but you want a touch more than a plain pinecone wreath. In that case, greenery in the form of pine boughs would add a bit of fragrance without disrupting your aesthetic. Whatever your style, you're only a few little touches away from something extra special.

How do you decorate your home for the holidays? Share your tips in the comments.

Automagic Holiday Menu Maker!
Automagic Holiday Menu Maker!

Tags: making magic, wreaths