08 Dec Three ways to bring nature into the home this Christmas
As the days get darker and the weather gets colder, we can often head into hibernation mode and keep hidden away from the outside world until it begins to warm up.
Yet, our gardens – and the outside world in general – offer so much at this time of year that can be really beneficial to our health and inspire a sense of wellbeing. We all know the benefits of getting outdoors and embracing nature, and we don’t think that should stop at the front door!
Spruce it up
Often, at this time of year, a Christmas tree takes centre stage in the home. However, you can add greenery to the house in other ways too – whether you don’t celebrate the holiday, choose not to have a tree, or simply want even more decorations! Explore your garden or look out for winter greens like eucalyptus, pine, blue spruce, holly, or ivy while on winter walks. You can arrange these into a festive table display and finish with your favourite candles or liven up your fireplace with trailing ivy strewn with fairy lights.
Introducing pops of nature into your home is a sure-fire way to ensure you can still embrace the beauty of outside from the comfort of your own home, while instilling a sense of well-being and calm.
Pinecones, another one of nature’s offerings, can be used as homemade firelighters with the help of a few extra ingredients. Head into nature and source some pinecones (make sure to only take as many as you need!) and leave them somewhere warm indoors to dry. You’ll know when they’re dry and ready to use when they open up.
Take any old candle ends or tealights you have (discarding the metal casing and wick) and set them in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the wax has melted, it’s a great time to add any festive essential oils, such as orange, cloves, or cinnamon to create a festive aroma.
After allowing the wax to cool slightly, dip the pinecones into the concoction and leave aside to set. Once dry, you can store your homemade firelighters near your hearth ready to place on dry kindling when you light your fire. These also make really lovely gifts for your loved ones.
There are many things that are synonymous with this time of the year, and wreaths just happen to be one of our favourites. Now is a particularly good time to make a wintry wreath as it will last throughout the month, and you’ll have longer to appreciate the greenery in all its glory. The beauty of a wreath is that there are no set ways of making one; it doesn’t matter what mix of foliage you use, it’s just what looks nice to you!
Creating your own wreath from foraged finds is a possibility if you know what to look for. Head to your local green area or country park and look out for:
- traditional evergreens like pine or spruce
- larch with pinecones
Hopefully this has inspired you to forage for festive goodies when you’re next outside. We can’t wait to try out the firelighters! Do remember to avoid taking in excess, as this can affect local plant populations. Our knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer any questions you may have around this topic. You can contact us on Facebook or Instagram @HampshireCountryside.
And, don’t forget, we’ve got the perfect opportunity to get outside in nature this festive season. Our Countryside Elfventure trail is available at three of our country parks – enjoy a wonderfully festive setting as you help Thistle and Oak solve clues and puzzles. Find out more: www.hants.gov.uk/countryside-christmas