When the Christmas holiday season rolls around this year, there are a lot of American families who will decorate their homes with more traditional items like garland instead of their air blown Santa and lighted reindeer plus white light sleigh displays! Who really wants to see some old plastic giant sized lighted candles, Santa and Mrs Claus standing there holding books, and candles signing jingle bell rock? But I digress, as we are here to discuss covering your railings with garland, and I intend to educate you on the reality of this strange Christmas tradition.
Nowadays there are so many different garland options it is difficult to decide what to purchase! You can go with old time standard style real pine roping, or head straight upscale and spring for the real cedar garland, now that stuff looks great and smells even better! They even sell versions of these real pine and cedar garlands with lights already added! This can be a real time saver, but can also cost you big bucks! plus I never could figure out what you would do with the lights once the real pine garland was ready to be taken down.
My mom would buy virtually hundreds of feet of this fresh stuff every year, and each and every linear foot of railing had to be absolutely covered in some form of pine or cedar garland. It was one of our family’s most creative holiday rituals to see who could come up with the wildest excuse for not being there the day she wanted to start hanging the garlands! Needless to say if you told her that a bear ate your foot, well man you better be one limping son of a beach! or have the severed foot to prove it, and perhaps even live action pictures of the attack, all of these just might get you back in good graces with here before the big day! This whole holiday family fun binge eat and drink celebrity death match cage wrestling event kind of thing is not how many of us want to spend our free time around the holidays.
I mean it was a three day affair just to get the lights all working without having cords where people would trip on them! Not to mention the three or four rolls of craft wire it would take to get it all hung up just right! I have learned that many Real Estate people can have very high standards when someone else is doing the work!! I mean how exactly do you make something that inexact become perfect?? It sure wasn’t easy being me! I do have to admit, once I got to actually sit down with a cold drink in my hand, and look over the vast expanses of roping and garlands, it was quite a sight! albeit a gaudy one, but a sight none the less!
Most places that stock this kind of material will sell you the fresh cut garland raw, and you can get creative and put bows, ornaments, red berries, or silk adornments onto the garland in any style you choose. Some of the most attractive trends in garland are the silk flower based garlands. And some of these are so beautiful and colorful, it is hard to believe that they are not real!
You can almost always find the supplies to make your own garland if you know people with any evergreens! the trick to this idea is that you go offer to trim the tree or shrub for free just before the holidays. You would be surprised how many shrubs there are that make a fabulous fresh garland! Just make sure all the birds, bugs, and bees are gone from the donor plants before you bring them into the house! Another source of good looking garland is the attic where your mom or grams keeps her old Christmas decorations, you can reuse and recycle that old stuff and save a lot of cash for other holiday season festivities!
When you figure out what area you want to cover with the garland, get out your tape measure, and get a length for the railings you intend to cover. I always add 15-20% for making little swoops, covering the newel posts at top and bottom of stairs that the railing is on. Also nice to have a bit left over for correcting and measuring or planning mistakes.
Some of the simplest things to use for mounting this garland is the green craft wire that they use in silk and fresh flower arrangements. Green craft wire is easy to find at almost any department store with a craft or home decorating department. You can cut this wire with regular scissors, or wire cutters. It twists around the item you are trying to hold in place, and can be hidden very easily!
Always make the garland ends neat by cutting them long enough to have a tie off pigtail at the end. This can be looped around behind the newel posts to make the installation look as neat and clean as possible.
Make sure that you plan for your electrical connection before stringing the garland, this way you are not running around adding extension cords or worse yet taking it down and starting all over again at the other end!
For safety reasons, check to see the safest way to connect electrical power to any lights that may be in the garland, and do not leave them on when you are not at home! It is easier to click them on when you want to light things up, and not have to worry about causing a fire, plus turning them off saves you on the electric bill!.
The hand rail part of your railing must still be visible and usable! If you have guests and they need to use the rail to navigate your stairs, they will have a hard time trying to use the garland to balance themselves.
If you add fresh, plastic or silk flowers to your garland be it fresh or fake, make sure these additional items are secured tightly with the craft wire, especially if you have kids or pets! The small berries and flowers people sometimes use to dress up the garland can come off and become a choke hazard if you are not cautious.
Decorating using garland can add plenty of color, or it can be left plain to give the railing a solid color for the rest of your home decorations to play off of. For example the fresh cedar garland can be a bit lighter green than the deep dark green of your traditional pine garland. So you can use these shades to accent your Christmas tree, or your other decorations that light up your life.
If you choose the classy pine or cedar garlands, make sure to keep an eye on how fast they are drying out, and get rid of these immediately after the holidays. Mainly because you don’t want a million little needles in your carpet, and also if it gets too dry you could have a fire hazard on your hands! play it safe and toss it right after the holidays are over or at least winding down.
Other than the tips I just laid out for you, just remember to shop wisely, recycle evergreen cutoffs if you can find them, and have fun being creative! it will be worth your time to make the job look as nice as you can!