Beauty of holiday wreaths is in creative process, designers say

David Siders crafts dozens of holiday wreaths every year, many using contemporary designs and materi

David Siders crafts dozens of holiday wreaths every year, many using contemporary designs and materials, but he shies away from calling any of those designs trends.

Whether adorned with red bows, glittery Christmas balls, bird figures or giant pink and lime green lollipops, the holiday wreath has an ageless quality, said Siders, who co-owns Experience Creative Design in Schenectady.

“It’s timeless because it has an endless circle to it,” he said.

Assorted pines, boxwood, laurel, bay leaf, cedar, pine cones, winterberry, juniper, holly and arbor vitae are some of the flora — either fresh from the tree or artificial — that can form the bulk of a wreath.

But wreath-makers don’t have to use foliage — Siders sells a few holiday wreaths that are made of tiny crystal lights.

Designers allow their imaginations to take over from there, adding all types of embellishments.

“You could put 100 different things on a wreath,” said Earl MacIntosh, who sells a few wreaths a year at his mom-and-pop business, Weathered Willow Tree Farm in Altamont.

Owls and red-headed woodpeckers are two of the newer decorations MacIntosh has seen lately.

Shaping up

Most wreaths are round, but they don’t have to be. Susan Goderie started making square wreaths a few years ago to sell at Goderie’s Tree Farm in Johnstown, where her husband, Michael, is co-owner. They have been popular.

“A gentleman came in and said, ‘That’s what I’m looking for. Something different,’ ” Susan Goderie recalled.

Her wreaths, which use branches of wild balsam, also sometimes take the shape of peace signs, bells, stars and snowflakes.

Christmas wreaths traditionally come with red, green and gold decorations, but some people prefer other colors, Siders said.

“Red and green doesn’t always fit into everybody’s home or front door,” he said. Purple, blue and teal get some of his customers into the spirit just as well.

Holiday wreaths can cost anywhere from $15 for an undecorated ring of greenery at a local tree farm to a couple hundred dollars for a permanent wreath from a designer store.

Siders’ store sells permanent wreaths made with artificial greenery and fresh wreaths by request. Experience Creative Design also sells the raw materials for people to make their own wreaths and gives demonstrations and classes for people to learn how to create them.

Other options

Other types of decorations can replace a wreath either outdoors or indoors.

Siders makes teardrop swags in various sizes, using the same greenery, ribbons and decorations he does for the wreaths.

Kissing balls also are popular. The round decorations often are made with real or artificial greens and embellishments and can be hung on a front porch or in a home.

A kissing ball lends a “really tasteful look,” said Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director for the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of NY.

“It looks really nice on a Victorian house,” she said.

Goderie makes traditional kissing balls and recently started making a more rugged Adirondack-inspired variation, which she describes as “wild and wispy,” after a customer suggested the idea.

Local wreath-makers say the beauty of their wreaths is in the creative process, and customers looking for something special to decorate their home for the holidays can expect each one to be different.

“Each and every one is so special. To come up with new ideas is so fun,” Goderie said.

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