Having a Christmas tree at home was something I always took for granted. Even as I lived on-campus my first couple years in college, I still managed to live somewhere that we could have a Christmas tree to decorate and aid us in getting in that "holiday spirit." When I first moved into an apartment, and it was just up to me and my roommate to decide how to decorate for the holiday season, the main question was: Christmas tree or no Christmas tree?
We opted for the tree.
Although it was an adorable addition to our tiny living room, I can understand why one would want to bypass the Christmas tree option, based on space, time and money alone.
But there are other ways to decorate for the holidays that don't require 4-foot living things and can even allow you to incorporate your favorite herbs.
Buy a rosemary plant, often coined a rosemary Christmas tree for its shape, and keep it as a smaller alternative to a regular Christmas tree. Bonus: You can pick off the rosemary whenever to use in your cooking.
Though they're cute, they're hard to keep alive. Remember to keep them moist but well-drained, and in areas with lots of sun and humidity (think the bathroom when you're taking a shower).
Decorate with small lights or oranaments, but don't go crazy. Rosemary branches are delicate. GardenGuides.com provides lots of tips on taking care of rosemary Christmas trees.
They're simple, beautiful and will be easy to add to your home decor because of their size. Make an herb wreath yourself with a variety of herbs and fruit. That design includes mint, oregano and thyme, but you can add cinnamon sticks, dried flowers and anything else you think of. A wreath base and wire are generally the only necessary tools for making an herb wreath.
If you're too busy to make your own, go the easy route and just buy one. Organic Bouquet sells a variety of different types — from a bay and rosemary wreath (see right), to a colorful oregano wreath.
Candles make excellent year-round decorations, so these will last you through the holidays. Simple directions for herbal candle making are here.
Even if you don't want DIY candles, you can still make an herbal candle ring — the same Web site will show you how with just herbs, floral tape, a clothes pin and wire. You can use a combination of fresh and dry herbs for that project!
Place those rings all around your home for a simple but consistent holiday decoration.
So take the opportunity of some nights staying out of the snow, and days at home from work or school for holiday vacation, to work on a few decoration projects that could be a fine addition, or alternative, to the classic Christmas tree.
— Jessica is an editorial intern at The Herb Companion.