Natural birch branches form the backbone of this project (but you could use redtwig dogwood or other branches). For added drama, cut the branches longer so they're taller than your banister, or include more bunches. Use thin florist's wire to lash them to the banister posts along with evergreens and twigs of bright red winterberries. Matte and glossy chartreuse ornaments add another dimension. Tie it all with a velvet ribbon.
A vintage lantern shows off pinecones, candles, greens and a drawing of Santa.
Burlap ribbons reflect the other natural elements in this room. Brown paper wrapping on presents anchors the look in nature. Words on the tree skirt pick up the writing above the mantel.
Give bargain glass vases the lustrous look of mercury glass with a spray-on mirror finish. We used Krylon’s Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint. Lightly spray water inside clean vases, then spray the same area with mirror finish. (Paint should run, creating an aged, crackled effect.) Turn upside down to dry. For a heavier finish, repeat. Remember, don’t leave lit candles unattended.
Black-and-white ribbons echo this kitchen’s color scheme, dressing the chandelier and chair backs for Christmas.
For a DIY snow globe, place a Goldcrest cypress tree (with soil around the roots) in a glass jar. Add artificial snow. Group large and small versions for a wintry display.
A birdbath overflows with large ornaments, berries and greens.
Bring a woodland scene inside. Gather bare branches from the garden, and arrange them in a narrow glass vase filled with artificial snow. More “snow” (cotton tufts) drifts on branches. Cardinals alight as if to gather the bright berries that we cut from faux sprays and wired on. Give the birds another landing spot with a nest on the sill.
Resources Glass vase, faux snow and faux berries Michaels Crafts Stores (800) 642-4235; michaels.com 
Caspia (Limonium latifolium) and pinecones wired to wood picks accent spruce and cedar branches tucked into florist foam.
Tip Pack tightly so you can remove branches past their prime and still have a full arrangement all season.
Red carnation wreaths look elegant over this Christmas mantel. To make fresh wreaths, soak a florist's foam shape in water. Trim carnation stems to about 3 inches and insert into forms; you'll need about 50 carnations for a 12-inch diameter wreath. You can also craft pretty—and long-lasting—wreaths with artificial flowers.
Accent with containers of shiny red and green ornaments along your mantel.