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Though I didn’t have a working camera this week, I did manage to get all the “outside” wreaths hung and snapped a few pics for this tutorial. The porch isn’t decorated, yet. This is an old pic from a past Christmas showing the wreaths across the front of the house.
Wreaths hung on windows across the front of a home has to be my most favorite Christmas decoration of all. I’ve been hanging them on my home now for around 28 years, first at our old house and for the last 21 years on this home. Each year when I hang them, I think back to the first time I saw them on the front of a house. I marveled at the tremendous effort it must have taken to hang all those wreaths, envisioning long hours on a very, very tall ladder. Then one day the proverbial light bulb went off and it hit me just how easy it would be to hang them.
You may already be hanging wreaths on your windows, but if not, this post is a little tutorial showing how I hang mine each year. I have 13 windows on the front of my home. When you first decide to hang wreaths, there’s a bit of an initial investment. After that, they last almost forever. I did purchase new wreaths about 10 years ago but that was just because the first ones I bought were pretty skimpy. Wreaths have come a long ways over the years–they are much more realistic looking now.
Measure your windows before purchasing your wreaths. You don’t want them to be too small or too big. Apply the Goldilocks factor here. For comparison, my windows are 32 inches wide and my wreaths are around 21-22 inches wide.
There are several ways to hang them. You could buy those suction cup thingies that stick to windows. I prefer hanging them from ribbons–just love the look of a wreath hanging from a pretty ribbon. If you do wish to hang them with ribbon, be sure to buy outdoor ribbon. You’ll need about 4-5 feet for each wreath depending on the size/height of your windows.
I prefer to use 2 1/2 inch wide ribbon for my hanging ribbons. The ribbon I originally used to hang my wreaths was narrow. (See first pic of the house above to see the narrow hanging ribbon.) When that ribbon eventually began to shred after many years of use, I bought the wider ribbon and I much prefer that look. (See picture just above for wide ribbon look.)
After you’ve purchased your wreaths and your ribbon, you’ll need to cut the ribbon and wrap it around the top of your wreath. Previously I stapled the ribbon together after wrapping it around the top of the wreath. That lasted for many years but eventually the staples began to cause the ribbon to shred. That’s when I changed the hanging ribbons out to the wider 2 1/2 inch ribbon. I hot glued it together after wrapping it around the top of the wreath and it has held. (see pic below) Be careful if you use hot glue; you can feel it through the ribbon and it’s HOT!
I purchased ready-made bows at Michael’s for half-price after Christmas one year. I chose bows with long flowing tails. They look so pretty swirling in the breezes all during the month of December. Again, there’s a little investment in the beginning for your bows, but they last for many, many years. These bows are around 8 years old now and they still look new. You can place your bows at the top of your wreath or at the bottom–whatever look you prefer. I’m a “bow at the bottom” girl.
Once you have all the hanging ribbons attached to your wreaths and all the bows are wired on, it’s time to hang them. Now, go get your 28 foot extension ladder and call your insurance company for a little extra life insurance. Kidding! If you have double sash windows (hope you do because that’s what this tutorial covers) lower the top sash about a foot and push your be-ribboned wreath out the top. Hold fast to the end of the hanging ribbon or you’ll get some extra exercise running down to the yard to fetch it back. I speak from experience.
I have wood windows so I just stick a push pin through the ribbon into the top of the window. I try to hit the same hole each year. Update for 2012: Someone mentioned in the comments they just tie a knot in the end of their ribbon instead of using a pin to hold the wreath in place. I did that this year (2012) and it is working fine. Two things to note if you do use the “knot” method as opposed to the “pin” method.
1. It takes a little finagling to get the knot in the right place. I had to tie and untie each one a few times to get the wreath hanging at the level I wanted, but next year I won’t need to tie a knot since it will already be there. I also marked each ribbon with the name of room/window it goes in so the right wreath ends up in the correct window each year
2. Tying a knot would probably not be a good idea if you’ll use candles in the windows some years but not every year. I find I hang my wreaths at a different length/level when I use a candle in the window because I like to have the candle to shine through the hole in the wreath, so I tend to hang the wreath a bit higher on the candle years. If you have vinyl windows, the knot way of hanging them may work best.
Normally I let the tail of the ribbon drape down, but this year I decided to pull out my ancient candles and use them in the windows along with the wreaths. So I pinned the tail of the hanging ribbon up with the push pin.
I haven’t put the candles in the windows for many years. In the past I tried battery operated candles but they were not nearly as bright as the electric ones. So I donated those and stuck with the electric. I just set the candle over the window lock and then run the cord through the side gap where the shutters close. There’s just enough space for it to fit. I usually tape the cord in place on the window with a small piece of masking tape. You could also place the candle on the window sill, if you prefer. My shutters won’t close with it there, but that would work for curtained windows. Just make sure the bulb isn’t touching the fabric or anything else that could burn or catch fire.
Oh, this year I noticed the flickering bulbs in Walmart. They were around .97 cents each. I bought some but after trying just one, I think I’m going to return them. They are really pretty, but not very bright. I may give them another try. They really were pretty flickering red and orange in the window.
See what’s outside this dormer window? It’s the top of the camellia I shared a couple of days ago HERE. The cold hasn’t killed the blooms, yet. Unfortunately, it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully it will bloom again in late winter when it’s really supposed to be blooming. Georgia weather is so crazy. Two days ago it was 70 degrees–now it’s freezing out. No wonder the plants are so confused.
Now, I want to show you something new I did this year since I’m using the electric candles in the windows again for the first time in many years. It’s a big improvement over what I’ve done in the past and was prompted by having a secretary in front of the outlet I would normally use. I didn’t want to unload everything out of the secretary to move it, so I decided to use the outlets you see on either side of the room. (Note the arrows.) It was still a bit of a pain getting behind the trunk on the left and the table on the right to plug in the extension cords. They would be easier to move or reach behind than the hutch, but still a pain.
So I headed over to Big Lots (Walmart has these, too) and purchased several of these extension cords with the foot operated, on/off switch. I bet you use these for your Christmas tree. They are the best things! You just step on it to turn your lights on or off—no fumbling behind furniture or trees to get to the outlet to unplug the lights on the tree, or in this case, the windows. I definitely recommend this for window lights if you can hide it behind a table skirt or something near by. I put one downstairs in the living room and I can turn the candles in both windows on and off with just one step. This is going to make turning the candles on and off a cinch this year. Another great option would be timers for your candles. I saw bunches of those at Walmart, as well. I may try those next year.
A final daylight view, taken with the new, correctly-focusing, camera. See what I mean about the long ribbon streamers hanging below…love that look! I hung the wreaths a tad higher than normal on the top windows so the candle would be right in the center of the wreath. Normally they would be down just a bit lower and the tails of the bow would be almost touching the window sill. I still haven’t hung the wreaths or put the lights in the garage windows behind the magnolia and camellia. The garage windows are filled with dead buggies and I just didn’t feel like dealing with that yesterday. Yuck. What is it about garage windows? They are bug magnets!
A previous year’s view of the dormer windows with the garage windows below. This pic was taken with the skinnier hanging ribbons, before I changed them out for the 2 1/2 inch wide ribbon. The wider ribbon just looks so much better than the skimpy narrow ribbon for hanging. I see camellias about to flower out in this pic, too. I guess the camellia does this every year around this time.
Outdoor wreaths look as pretty from inside as they do outside.
Additional tip: If you live in an area that gets a lot of wind during the month of December, you may wish tie some fishing line to the bottom of your wreath and anchor it with the lower window. Or, you may wish to hang your wreaths from suction cups or some other method than with a hanging ribbon. We only get strong winds one or two days during the winter season so it’s never a real problem at my home. I’ve been having wreaths in this manner for 25+ years successfully. However, if you live where it’s super windy, you may find you need to attach your wreaths in a different manner or anchor the bottom half down.
An evening view: I think I may need to dial down the wattage on those outside lanterns. I never realized how bright they were until I took this picture. You’ll need to wear sun glasses if you visit my house at night. Ha!
Did you notice the “Blue Hour” was approaching as I took this pic? Of course, I couldn’t see that through the camera–that sneaky Blue Hour. You can read all about it, HERE.
What’s your favorite Christmas decorating idea each year? Do you hang wreaths from your windows? Would love to hear your technique for hanging wreaths. Do you also use the electric candles? Has anyone found some really bright battery-operated candles and if so, how long do the batteries last? Love hearing your ideas!
Happy wreath hanging!