Holiday Wreaths of Colonial Williamsburg

Wreaths on the doors of Colonial Williamsburg homes have inspired holiday spirit for more than 300 years. This virtual tour will help you use natural greenery and fruits to create a wreath reminiscent of yesteryear.


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Multiple wreaths, garlands, and a blue door
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Longstanding Tradition

    The pineapple arrangement above the door proclaims hospitality to all who enter. Other fruits -- lemons, pomegranates, apples, and oranges -- brighten the wreath and garland, producing a vibrant display.

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Hospitable Home

    Pineapples, rare fruits only available when ships brought them from afar, came to symbolize hospitality in colonial times and they still do so today. A fan of colorful fruits, centered with a pineapple, draws attention upward with its welcoming message to visitors.

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Natural Beauty

    Symbolize generosity with holiday decorations by using them at the door and also the windows. Fruits and greenery, which are often free for the cutting, are the primary ingredients. In winter, these fresh materials usually last several weeks before browning.

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Boxwood and Berries

    After placing heavier fruits on a sturdy backing, fill in spaces with dried flowers and foliage native to your area. This festive wreath uses magnolia and boxwood greens, Granny Smith apples, golden yarrow, cotton bolls, and plump red berries.

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Twice the Impact

    For double doors, decorate with two vertical plaques or a wreath split in half so doors can open. Assemble fruits and favorite greenery on a plywood or plastic foam base.

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Extra Trimmings

    Natural pine garlands drape the doorway and twine around the entrance railings to frame the more colorful wreath. The wreath features rich red fruits and yellow lemons, surrounded by more pine.

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Classic Simplicity

    Make an elegant window display in contrasting shades of green. This handmade wreath uses deep-green boxwood studded with six bright-green lady apples.

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Welcoming Aromas

    Adorned with cinnamon sticks and garlands made of coffee beans, this fresh balsam wreath exudes a spicy fragrance that welcomes guests. Other trimmings include dried yarrow, Granny Smith apples, and small lady apples.

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Blue-Ribbon Style

    A Delft-style container in blue and white adds an unexpectedly elegant touch that wins the neighborhood decorating competition. Showcase the greenery arrangement by draping the doorway with a natural garland -- this one is made of pine.

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Citrus and Greens

    To create the effect of a topiary, the three-tiered arrangement of evergreens, dried plant materials, and fruits rises from the ceramic base. Oranges and kumquats, plus dried dusty miller leaves and flowerheads, peek out of the greenery to provide more color.

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Herbal Harvest

    Use fragrant sprigs of homegrown rosemary for greenery during the holidays, and add other garden elements for color. A small window arrangement combines rosemary, apples, artichokes, red pepper pods, and dried heads of golden yarrow.

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Double-Door Solution

    To accommodate windows and doors that need to be opened, split wreaths in two pieces. Each half of this wreath has boxwood sprigs, several kinds of apples, and dried seed pods. The fan-shape arrangement above it includes a pineapple.

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Old-South Magnolias

    Instead of more common evergreens, this double arrangement uses locally grown glossy magnolias and boxwood as the base for more colorful elements. Culinary surprises include artichokes, pomegranates, lemons, and dried okra pods that produce a stunning display.

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Winter Windowsills

    A dried pomegranate is the vibrant focal point for this windowsill box. Nuts and pods provide muted colors that offset golden yarrow, apples, lemons, and red-orange berries. All are nestled in a base of fir sprigs.

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Fine and Simple

    Simple decorations are often as effective as those more elaborate. These pears, aligned along a windowsill, contrast with evergreen boughs and bright orange bittersweet berries.

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Pear Together

    A casually arranged spray graces the entryway with its asymmetrical shape, combining American holly with golden fruits and rich red berries. Pears are the dominant theme in this entry, repeating on the transom above.

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Vines and Garlands

    Enhancing the antique-style lantern nearby, a collection of natural arrangements is in keeping with this traditional home. With multiple wreaths at the doors and windows, a pineapple fan at the transom, and fresh pine garland, the dwelling emanates warm holiday spirit.

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Berry Beautiful

    Lavishly decorated in a varied selection of reds and browns, this classic wreath leans heavily on tradition. Fruits, cones, and berries are clustered at the bottom, leaving the top of the wreath relatively bare.

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Surprising Tradition

    Cinnamon sticks and clay pipes project from a rustic vine wreath festooned with dried citrus and pomegranates. Using dried fruit instead of fresh fruit creates a weathered look compatible with historically styled homes.

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Natural Bounty

    Bursting with color and texture, this wreath combines milkweed pods with dense berries, fruit slices, and evergreens. Small apples peeking out add brighter splashes of color in this abundantly full wreath.

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Understated Elegance

    Identical sprays in tones of green and brown are dramatic despite their lack of bright color. Interest comes from the texture in a multitude of cones, set against plentiful leaves and tiny sprigs of bittersweet.

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From Garden to Door

    Unconventional elements produce the most interesting holiday arrangements. Here, a traditional straw bee skep, usually found in the garden, becomes a container for a bounty of fruits and natural greenery.

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Nature's Jewels

    Bold wreaths make good use of bright colors and simple shapes. This one calls attention to the house with its vibrant oranges and crimson pomegranates.

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Spiraling Sections

    Miniature lady apples in a spiral arrangement set this wreath in a class of its own. Abundant berries and greenery provide contrast, texture, and more color.

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Lemons, Multiplied

    This door dazzles with geometric lines of lemons and a brightly adorned wreath. String lemons on clear nylon or wire to form the vertical garlands. Accent the wreath with additional fruits and cones.

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Celebrate Laundry

    Under the protective cover of an overhanging roof, holiday arrangements might contain elements that water would damage. This door spray includes old-fashioned soap balls and laundry sticks as well as cinnamon and boxwood greens.

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Colonial Favorites

    Door decorations often reflect the personal taste and interests of the homeowner. This wreath combines handmade tin ware, traditional clay pipes, quince slices, and dried Chinese lantern pods in a vibrant fall wreath.

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