top of page
  • admin58976

Garlands to Deck the Halls!

You know the song...

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la." What are the "boughs of holly"? They're a garland! What’s a garland? If you go back to the Middle English and to even earlier Frankish, it means “to adorn or bedeck”. In modern times, the word has changed from something we do to something we have and so today while we can still garland something, normally the word conjures up a vision of a long plait of flowers or leaves used as decoration.

Garlands of flowers are popular at weddings, but really, you see them at any celebratory event. At Christmas you’ll see garlands of tinsel, holly, and pine winding down staircases, over doors and windows, on the mantelpiece and, of course, around The Tree.

While technically band, or chain, of flowers, foliage, and leaves; when a garland is joined at the ends to form a circle it’s a wreath, when they are worn worn on the head they are a chaplet, and when draped in loops they are festoons or swags.

Garlands have been a part of religious ceremonies since the Egyptians. They have featured in religious rites of the Greeks and Romans and you see them used quite often in European Renaissance artwork and architecture. During the 15th and 16th centuries garlands of fruits and flowers, especially of roses, were worn in pageants, festivals, and at weddings, a custom echoed in the folk festivals of Europe in which cattle are decked with flowers and dances are performed with chains of flowers linking the celebrants in a garland dance.

In the 18th and 19th century, the traditional Christmas boughs of holly and pine included additions of dried fruit, candies in wrappers, cookies, nuts, and strands of popcorn or cranberries. Garlands became edible!

Today, while we still see some garlands used in a religious or ceremonial way (to dress a religious statue, for instance), most of the time we see them in homes and businesses just to add to the ambiance and lift the rooms from the ordinary to the special.

So how do you make a garland? You can make a very elaborate one, like in this YouTube video. Note the baubles woven in it!

Or you can make a simple one. The Rum Lot offers a thick, 2 metre rope swag with ribbon ties on it that you can use to hold anything that takes your fancy. Just use the ribbons to tie on Christmas crackers, baubles, cards or anything you want to use.

Garlands aren’t just for Christmas; they can be themed for any holiday! Easter eggs, a birth, a wedding, even Halloween!…every event can have a special garland that can be brought out every year as a family memento. If you want a garland as a year round decoration, think of your unique style and create a personalised charm bracelet for your house that reflects your interests and personality. It doesn’t matter if you are into Mid-Century Modern or Cottagecore, you can create a garland to match your taste.

Here’s a Pinterest page with loads of garland ideas.

And another with modern garland ideas.

And finally, here’s how to hang garlands without using nails!

106 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


No tags yet.
bottom of page