There is nothing more magical than an open-air party in a forest clearing. There's a festive smell of pines, ferny green undergrowth, and clear bright moonlight. The only trouble is that in December it might be difficult to persuade prospective guests to brave winter's freezing temperatures. No need. With help from our partner The Home Depot, we brought the outdoors in to create a woodland holiday party.
We decked out Gardenista editor in chief Michelle Slatalla's house for the occasion, figuring it would complement the Starry Night Holiday Lights Display we recently designed for her. Here's how we created an indoor fairyland:
Photographs by John Merkl.
Above: To bring nature indoors, we found supplies at our local The Home Depot: a large selection of Fresh Garland, Fresh Cut Christmas Trees, Fresh Wreaths, and Live Poinsettias. To gild Christmas tree ornaments, we also got a can of gold paint and a brush. And then we set to work.
In the foyer, a 24-inch Classic Fresh Worcester Balsam Fir Wreath ($29.98) and a Live Poinsettia in a 6-inch pot ($5.98) greeted guests. We also hung a swag of tallow berries and cedar, wrapping the stems with Everbilt Natural Sisal Twine ($13.38) to create a bouquet.
Above: It turns out that creating a fairy woodland indoors is easy: all you need is about 100 feet of Fresh Garland, such as The Christmas Tree Company's Classic White Pine Garland ($34.95 for 25 feet).
We hammered small Assorted Brass-Plated Steel Bendless Nails ($2.98 per 10-pack) unobtrusively (we promise you'll never see the holes, Michelle!) into the top edge of wood moldings surrounding doorways to create support for the "forest" of garland.
Then we draped Clear Mini Lights ($8.98 for a strand of 300) in the garland to simulate moonlight.
Above: It's important to think about safety whenever you bring greenery indoors. We updated Michelle's smoke alarms with battery-operated Nest Protect: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms ($129 apiece from The Home Depot). This high-tech, low-maintenance upgrade made her husband happy, as he now no longer has to get a broom and jab at alarms that go off in the middle of the night or when he is broiling chicken. To quiet a Nest alarm, all you have to do is stand under it and wave to let it know the smoke was a false alarm.
Above: For mood lighting, we got a Silvered Glass Tealight Candle Set of four votives ($4 from The Home Depot).
Above: We draped garland across the back of the sofa to transform it into a woodland sled and got a recipe for festive Poinsettia Cocktails from Gardenista contributor Justine Hand. Her recipe calls for cranberry juice, prosecco, and Cointreau.
Above: We scoured The Home Depot's selection of live Christmas trees (choices included Noble and Fraser Fir) and brought Michelle a 7-Ft. Fresh-Cut Douglas Fir ($37.98).
The Home Depot also has a large selection of pre-lit artificial trees, including a 7-Ft. Quick Set Benjamin Quick Set With Clear Lights ($119) and a Home Accents 6.5-Ft. Pre-Lit Verde Pine Christmas Tree With Clear Lights ($49.97), both of which will last for several years.
Above: We decorated the Christmas tree with items found in nature. Our tree topper is a bouquet of beautyberries.
Above: After a couple of Justine's poinsettia cocktails, we felt emboldened to also follow in her DIY footsteps, by making the same paper garland she used on her Gilded Tree, Inspired by Nature.
Above: We painted walnuts and a picture frame with Martha Stewart Living Vintage Gold Satin Metallic Paint ($5.48 for a 10-ounce jar) to decorate Michelle's foyer.
Above: We filled the votives with white Zest 1.5-Inch Citronella Tealight Candles (no odor or smoke!); $25.98 for a box of 100. They burn for four hours.
That's all you need to turn your house into a fairy woodland for a holiday party. And something tells us none of the guests will miss the freezing temperatures a bit.