DIY Rustic Holiday Decorating – Pioneer Life in the 21st Century, Part 10

By Ebony Porter, November 16, 2017, Family, Green

Pioneer times were tough, and we would never suggest life without modern plumbing, refrigeration, or electricity! But with the fast pace of modern life, some folks have decided to learn skills from bygone eras. This includes purchasing local products made closer to home with more care and quality materials, unhooking from technology, and embracing homesteading. In our Pioneer Life in the 21st Century series, we’ll help you embrace a few pioneer-like actions, create mindful moments, and perhaps save a few bucks, whether you live in an apartment in the city or a planned community in the suburbs.

Big craft stores filled to the brim with baubles and glitter didn’t exist in the pioneer era.

Christmas and other seasonal holidays were something celebrated on a much more mellow scale, and typically with simple materials that would have been found in the environment or at home.

Step into another place in time this season, as we share tips on how you can keep your holiday decorating to a simple minimal, without sacrificing any of the meaning of the season.

DIY Rustic Holiday Decorating - Pioneer Life in the 21st Century | Bounce Energy Blog

Grape Vine Wreath

We’ve been making these at our home for years, simply because they are fun to do, and look so rustic and beautiful!

Make your natural wreath in 3 easy steps:

  1. Find three long grape vines, or some other long, strong vine, that will hold up to some twisting and shaping. You want to pick the vine green, so that it will bend nicely. You will also want to strip the vine of its leaves before you start bending it.
  2. With your three pieces, braid them into one long braid. Then begin to shape it into a circle or oval.
  3. Once you decide how large and round to make your wreath, you can use the ends of the vine to wrap around the other parts of the vine and secure it. You can also take a few pieces of wire and wrap those around the girth of the wreath.

If you have access to a bay tree, these are also wonderful to turn into wreaths. Leave the leaves on if you do. They look really great!

Hand Poured Beeswax Candles

During the pioneer days, paraffin wax wasn’t a thing. Nor was wax scented with artificial smells.

Candles were poured using beeswax, and their timeless glow illuminated the darkness.

Consider diving into the old time craft of pouring beeswax. The smell is unparalleled.

All you need is a mold or two, a wicking needle, wick that is the right size for the mold, beeswax, and a pot that you’ll place in a pot of boiling water to melt the wax.

Set aside one Sunday afternoon and enjoy the slow and satisfying process. Come holiday time, light them up and bask in the glow of a light from a bygone era.

DIY Rustic Holiday Decorating - Pioneer Life in the 21st Century | Bounce Energy Blog

Homemade Ornaments from Nature

It is said that the first Christmas tree was lit by candles! But instead of taking our Christmas tree decorating to the extreme, consider ornaments made from the simple earthy items you’ll find out your back door.

Acorns and pinecones can be collected and painted gold, red, or white for a seasonal effect. Brush off the dirt before you begin painting.

To attach a hanger, simply take some kitchen string and a hot glue gun, and attach the hanger with glue. Keep them simple for a minimal, rustic look that is back in style!

Paper Chains

There’s something so timeless about seeing paper chains. We imagine that in the pioneer era, plastic tinsels weren’t in the stores just yet, but maybe making newspaper chains was a way to add a bit of garland.

Grab a stack of colored construction paper and cut the paper into strips, about 1.5 inches wide and 4 inches long. Make a circle with one piece of paper and staple it together.

Then loop another strip of paper into the round chain and staple it again. Repeat this process until you have a lengthy chain that will hang nicely.

DIY Rustic Holiday Decorating - Pioneer Life in the 21st Century | Bounce Energy Blog

Cranberry Garlands

We are sure that cranberry garlands hail directly from the pioneer homemakers. These are easy to make, especially with kids.

Grab a bag of fresh cranberries at the store, and gather a needle and thread that will be cut long enough to make a garland.

Tie a few knots at the end of the string, and start by threading the cranberries onto the needle and pushing them along the string.

When you have it as long as you’d like, tie two loops on each end, and string them up on your home. These will last for a while, as the cranberries will dry out and retain that deep red festive look.

Decorate with Fir Tree Boughs

Take a walk into the forest with a pair of secateurs and some gloves on your hands. Cut a few branches off to hang above your doorway, and over the fireplace mantle.

You could also be thrifty and head to a Christmas tree farm where you’ll find lots of cuttings to use for lovely smelling, authentic decorative boughs.

Get creative by stringing them up together, and decorate with a few brass bells or other simple metal items you may have lying around the house. We bet you’ll get more than a few compliments on them!

What’s your favorite rustic and easy pioneer era display of holiday cheer?

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About 

Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.

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