Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Wreaths - Inspiration & an Easy DIY

williamsburg wreaths

Ever since I was in elementary school, I loved taking a trip to Colonial Williamsburg (CW) around the holidays for two very important things that have created traditions lasting all these years:  gingerbread & Christmas wreaths.  I figure I can't be the only one who loves their decorations, so up today are my favorite wreaths from this years pilgrimage, along with a few tips to create your own.

CW was restored and continues to be maintained as a historic site thanks the the Rockefeller family.  Yeah those Rockefellers - with the big tree in New York.  They must have a thing for evergreens.  Back in the 1700s, the homes in the town weren't decorated with greens & natural ingredients like these wreaths.  That tradition started in the 1930's as a way to attract visitors to the site.  And now that I've ruined all the illusion....

Consider this your warning that there are entirely too many pictures in this post.  Disclaimer: I don't care.  There were too many ideas on these wreaths to leave any out - trust me, I skipped over more than a few handfuls of excellent ones!  I'll highlight in the captions why I love each one.  

This one is unique with it's partially exposed wreath, but it keeps to the symmetry principle.  The deconstructed pinecones into "flowers" is my favorite part!

This one is unique with it's partially exposed wreath, but it keeps to the symmetry principle.  The deconstructed pinecones into "flowers" is my favorite part!

This wreath was HUGE and actually displayed at the top of a barn.  It was completely covered with flowers and flower pods - no fruit here!

This wreath was HUGE and actually displayed at the top of a barn.  It was completely covered with flowers and flower pods - no fruit here!

These two wreaths both are made of completely dried out materials - corn on the right, and okra pods, pomegranates, & sunflowers on the left.  Just as beautiful as the greenery wreaths but you don't have to worry about them drying out in the sun or dying before Christmas.

These two wreaths both are made of completely dried out materials - corn on the right, and okra pods, pomegranates, & sunflowers on the left.  Just as beautiful as the greenery wreaths but you don't have to worry about them drying out in the sun or dying before Christmas.

I adore this one and it's simplicity - magnolia leaves, pinecones, and it looked to me like dried thyme.  Or maybe lavender.  Either way - awesome. I love the look made by combining the front & backs of the leaves to give extra dimension.

I adore this one and it's simplicity - magnolia leaves, pinecones, and it looked to me like dried thyme.  Or maybe lavender.  Either way - awesome. I love the look made by combining the front & backs of the leaves to give extra dimension.

I've entitled this one 'Oranges 3 Ways"- whole, dried whole, and sliced.  Or maybe it should be the circular cornucopia. Apples, oranges, limes, lemons, walnuts.  All I know is it's beautiful!

I've entitled this one 'Oranges 3 Ways"- whole, dried whole, and sliced.  Or maybe it should be the circular cornucopia. Apples, oranges, limes, lemons, walnuts.  All I know is it's beautiful!

Seriously - don't you just love the mind that created this one?  It's on a styrofoam form, so super easy to attach the flowers and insert the dried okra pods and flower stocks.  It's almost a star if you use your imagination.  

Seriously - don't you just love the mind that created this one?  It's on a styrofoam form, so super easy to attach the flowers and insert the dried okra pods and flower stocks.  It's almost a star if you use your imagination.  

This was on display for purchase in the garden shop at CW.  I love the flowers they chose - a very un-Christmasy feel - which is a great reminder that natural ingredient wreaths aren't just for Christmas!

This was on display for purchase in the garden shop at CW.  I love the flowers they chose - a very un-Christmasy feel - which is a great reminder that natural ingredient wreaths aren't just for Christmas!

Another magnolia wreath (I'm partial to the name of course!) for good measure - I love the simplicity of it!

Another magnolia wreath (I'm partial to the name of course!) for good measure - I love the simplicity of it!

For years I've had aspirations of drying out fruit myself and making my own wreath.  And finally this year I woke up, realized I don't have unlimited time, and IT'S OK TO CUT CORNERS.  Can I get an amen on that one?  I can still do-it-myself if I buy all the parts and put it together.  Don't make something harder than it has to be!

So here was my first (not nearly as beautiful as CW's, but made with as much heart!) attempt at a natural wreath.

I bought dried limes and orange slices last year during my visit to use in my wreath - you can see the lineup of products they have in their garden shop to take home and use to DIY your own!  I bought red peppers and cotton to use with my leftover fruits in next years wreath.

That green book 'Colonial Williamsburg Decorate for Christmas' has lots of tips on drying your own fruits and constructing your own wreaths.  A great tool if you plan to make your own!

That green book 'Colonial Williamsburg Decorate for Christmas' has lots of tips on drying your own fruits and constructing your own wreaths.  A great tool if you plan to make your own!

If you ever get a chance to visit CW around the holidays, be sure you take the Christmas Decorations walking tour.  It takes about an hour and you get to see the finest wreaths that year, including those that won in various categories.  It's worth the extra ticket (PS - they usually sell out so reserve a time before you leave home)!

Happy wreath making - I'd love to see if you make your own - comment with a link to your picture or email it to me & I'll update the post to share your great examples!