Deck the Halls With the 8 Best Christmas Garlands
Create your very own winter wonderland.
Published Dec 28, 2021 10:32 PM
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In addition to decking the halls with boughs of holly, hanging—and choosing—a Christmas garland can leave even the most seasoned holiday decorator a little stumped. Should you go for real greenery or something you can reuse year after year? Will a traditional green garland work for you, or are you interested in something a little more modern?
“When it comes to a classic holiday vibe, I love mixing fresh florals that dry out nicely (think: eucalyptus, juniper, cypress, and fir) with traditional decor,” says New York City–based interior designer Becky Shea. Baltimore-based designer Tiffanni Reidy also likes to use fresh elements wherever possible, and points out that garlands—whether real or not so real—can be a jumping-off point for holiday displays all over the house. “Previously I’ve used ribbons in the fabric of my tablecloth, and snow globes and other holiday accents alongside garlands on a table,” she says.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best Christmas garlands to instantly give your space a December 25 feeling—no matter when you start your decorating.
- Best fresh: Terrain Fresh Garland
- Best citrus embellished: Creekside Farms Citrus Garland
- Best magnolia: Pottery Barn Faux Magnolia Garland
- Best cedar: Anthropologie Faux Cedar Garland
- Best pre-lit: National Tree Company Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Garland
- Best pine cone embellished: Faux Norway Spruce Pre-Lit LED Garland
- Best preserved eucalyptus: Afloral Green Preserved Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Garland
- Best value: Wondershop 9′ Unlit Pine Artificial Christmas Garland
Best Fresh: Terrain Fresh Garland
Material: Cedar, eucalyptus, bay leaves | Length: 10 inches
What we like:
- Options beyond traditional pine
- From a store known for its garden products
- Since each one is unique, what you get might look slightly different from what you order
Why we chose it: A fresh garland that looks as good as it smells.
It’s only natural that Terrain, a go-to store for anyone who loves to garden (or wishes they loved to garden), would be a destination for fresh garlands and wreaths for the holiday season. There’s traditional fir with pine cones, of course, but also some nontraditional options: a fresh bay leaf and olive garland for a Mediterranean-inspired celebration, and a rosemary wreath that delicately perfumes the room with the herb’s fresh notes.
Terrain’s garlands and wreaths are designed to be used indoors or out, and they’re handmade, which means each one varies slightly in color and shape. We like the idea of starting with one of these standout garlands and building a decor plan around it, rather than the other way around.
Best Citrus Embellished: Creekside Farms Citrus Garland
Material: Eucalyptus, blood oranges, assorted citrus | Length: 72 inches
What we like:
- Smells incredible
- Blood oranges make it classic with a twist
- Shipping includes a surcharge
Why we chose it: A Christmas tradition with historic roots gets a modern update.
Citrus fruits have been a part of Christmas celebrations since the 19th century, when getting an orange in your stocking was considered the height of luxury. Today it’s still a fun way to bring some zest into a Christmas scene. Designer Reidy uses wire to affix dried pieces of citrus fruits to her garlands, but this option from Food52 comes already assembled.
Navel oranges (or similar varieties) are the traditional Christmas citrus, but this garland offers a subtle upgrade by incorporating vibrant blood oranges. Why not pair it with a pitcher of blood orange mimosas for a festive holiday brunch table?
Best Magnolia: Pottery Barn Faux Magnolia Garland
Material: Polyester, plastic, wire | Length: 61 inches
What we like:
- Multiple layers give added depth
- Southern-inspired charm
- Material can fade if exposed to direct sunlight
Why we chose it: Putting a Christmas spin on a Southern mainstay.
Magnolia is a staple of any Southern-inspired design scheme, and while it’s not explicitly a Christmas plant, this Pottery Barn garland makes it easy to incorporate its glossy green leaves into a holiday tablescape. The leaves are made with realistic-looking fabric and real twig accents that wipe dry with cloth, which is one of the reasons it works as table decor—no major damage if you happen to spill a little eggnog.
Best Cedar: Anthropologie Faux Cedar Garland
Material: Plastic and wire | Length: 6 inches and 9 inches
What we like:
- Simple and chic
- Can be used on its own or trimmed with lights
- For indoor use only
Why we chose it: An iconic symbol of Christmas reimagined as a reusable indoor accent.
Sometimes keeping it simple makes the most impact. That’s how we feel about this Anthropologie garland that looks like it was collected from a tree deep in the woods. (Unlike a real cedar garland, however, there will be no stray bits to clean up.) You can go two ways with this one: We like it wrapped around doors and windows for a festive touch of color and texture. Or use it as the supporting character in a more elaborate scheme, woven around a set of Christmas ceramics or candles.
Best Pre-Lit: National Tree Company Pre-lit Artificial Garland
Material: Plastic, glass, wire | Length: 9 inches
What we like:
- Easy to set up
- Can be used inside or outdoors
- Lights aren’t on a timer
Why we chose it: The look of twinkling lights against a backdrop of green branches—without any of the hassle.
Wrapping lights around a Christmas tree: fun! Wrapping lights around every other piece of decor in your house (and outside it): less fun. Which is why this option—which happens to be under $50—is the perfect accent piece for a mantel, doorframe, or banister. It’s pre-lit, so all you have to do is plug it in to get the Christmas glow sans the headache of assembling it yourself.
Best Pine Cone Embellished: Faux Norway Spruce LED Garland
Material: Plastic | Length: 6 inches
What we like:
- Comes in garland and wreath shapes
- Bendable for a custom fit
- Higher price point
Why we chose it: A bendable garland that allows you to add pine cones to almost any space or object.
Pine cones have been associated with Christmas—and winter in general—for centuries, which is why they make an appearance in so many holiday tableaux. For a pine cone garland that you can reuse, we like this Crate & Barrel option—which offers the added benefit of being strung on bendable wire, so you can shape it to hard-to-fit spaces that might otherwise be tricky to trim, like a bar cart or an arched window.
Best Preserved Eucalyptus: Afloral Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Garland
Material: Eucalyptus leaves | Length: 76 inches
What we like:
- Each one is slightly unique
- Delicate scent
- An unusual variation for Christmas that still fits into the holiday color scheme
- Leaves are dyed with color that might bleed
Why we chose it: A natural option that will last the entire holiday season.
Eucalyptus is a best-of-both-worlds leaf when it comes to decorating. Dried and preserved properly, it can last a really long time, which means you get the look, feel, and scent of real greenery without having to water or replace it multiple times throughout the season. This version is elegantly simple, with lushly arranged leaves that would look striking woven in between platters of cookies and other treats on a holiday dessert table.
Best Value: Wondershop Pine Artificial Christmas Garland
Material: PVC | Length: 9 inches
What we like:
- Price makes it easy to stock up
- No-frills faux pine looks good with any decor scheme
- A little thin
Why we chose it: Gets the job done for—we’re not kidding—$5.
The cost of decorating for Christmas can get out of hand before gift giving even begins, which is why we’re always on the lookout for pieces that won’t break the bank. As is often the case, Target heard this call and is offering a simple green garland for $5, which is by far the most affordable option we’ve come across. At this price point, we suggest buying a few; hang them together for a dramatic look, or just keep a couple extra on hand to fill in any last-minute holes in your Christmas look.
Our Shopping Checklist
When looking for garlands, it helps to break down the options into either/or questions. Do you want something natural or something you can pack away and reuse? Are you looking for a garland that reads Christmasy or are you gravitating toward an accent with a winter vibe you can leave up from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day?
Handmade garlands offer a one-of-a-kind look, while faux options will have a more uniform look, which might make them easier to incorporate into a carefully planned aesthetic.
Most garlands are simply a length of string or wire and decorative material. Some come pre-lit, while others require you to add lights (or ribbon or ornaments). Depending on where you’re going to put your garland, pay attention to the flexibility of the wire or string the leaves are attached to: The more flexible it is, the more options you’ll have.
Q: How do you hang a garland securely on a Christmas tree?
The key is to start at the top and work your way down, the way you would if you were braiding hair. From there, you’ll want to make sure no branches are bearing too much weight, which means spacing out the garland. Ideally keep about a foot between each row of garland. And don’t pull it too tight as you’re wrapping; you want to leave some room for adjustments.
Q: What is the best hardware for hanging a Christmas garland outside?
Wreath-hanging hooks, arranged in a row, will keep your garland secure all season long. If you’re renting (or you just don’t want to deal with drilling holes), stick-on hooks can work, though you’ll need to make sure to match the weight limit to the weight of your garland.
Q: Which type of Christmas garland smells best?
For the scent of Christmas, look for any garland made with pine, fir, or cedar. Pine cones add a spicy note, and if you’re going with a faux garland, you can always supplement with candles and diffusers. (Just be sure to keep open flames well away from garlands or greenery of any type.)
The Last Word
Garlands are the multipurpose hero of Christmas decorating: Draped over a mantel, strung around a doorframe, or laid across a table, they add a rich sense of color and texture that will bring your holiday scenes to life.