The Best Holiday Wreaths Are Festive—But Not Necessarily Fresh
No one has to know it’s faux.
Updated Oct 20, 2023 11:01 AM
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Hung on a front door (or apartment entrance), the best holiday wreaths offer a dose of cheer to visitors and lend a festive, fragrant reminder that the holidays are here each time you come back home. To find out whether to go fresh or faux and learn a few new hanging hacks, we tapped a couple of experts with different design expertise but with one thing in common: an obsession with all things Christmas.
Jan Goodman, the founder of Cityscapes, has a whole room in her basement devoted to decorations for the season. Eddie Ross, an entertaining expert, magazine alum, and now chief content creator of Maximalist Studios, has been known to put a wreath on the front of his car. She transforms hotel lobbies and residential spaces into winter wonderlands; he knows how to make a picture-perfect holiday display. Their decorating tips and the 30 best holiday wreaths, organized by style (from minimalist to nontraditional dried florals), are right this way.
- Best minimalist: Afloral Real Touch 24-Inch Norfolk Pine Wreath
- Best classic: Balsam Hill Fresh Noble Fir Woodland Wreath
- Best affordable: Target Studio McGee x Threshold Christmas Wreath
- Best luxury: Saks Fifth Avenue CocoBella Ivy Holiday Wreath
- Best nontraditional: Creekside Farms Chili Pepper Eucalyptus Wreath
Best Minimalist Wreaths
Perhaps you’re not into big bows, lights, and snowcapped pine cones, or prefer to DIY your holiday wreath with a fresh base. The best minimalist wreaths are just that, a blank canvas. Sometimes all a front door needs is the addition of elegant Norfolk pine branches, fresh magnolia leaves for a natural pop of golden bronze, or braided bunches of holly berries. The greenery used in our favorites are magical enough on their own.
Best Classic Wreaths
If you’re a stickler for tradition and your decorating style tends to skew L.L.Bean catalog, this is your category. We found a front door addition from the retailer, made with sustainably sourced noble fir and Western red cedar, decked out with pine cones and faux berries. “Because they are so fresh, I keep mine up all winter,” one shopper shares. Other favorites include a more autumnal alternative from Creekside Farms—a family-owned-and-operated establishment known for its dried creations—and a “fresh as can be” evergreen wreath from Balsam Hill for true countryside charm (our personal fave).
Best Affordable Wreaths
Our full list averages in price around $100, which isn’t exactly what we’d describe as affordable. If your budget is tighter, we got you. While a lower cost may limit you to faux material, these under-$50 finds are equally sophisticated, even if they look a little less realistic compared to the others featured. Our top picks include one from Amazon with silk-based eucalyptus leaves that are described by shoppers as “superfull and not fake.”
Best Luxury Wreaths
Big and bold, we made sure the best luxury wreaths are worth splurging on. In our opinion, these pieces are either overtly oversize, feature an overflowing amount of fresh materials, or are carefully crafted by hand. Each of our high-end highlights speak to a range of styles, too. We love the fancy brown palette of CocoBella’s ivy wreath, but we’re also smitten with the Gilded Nest’s timeless creations on grapevine bases, made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A tip: It looks like the maker crafts only a few at a time, so we’d suggest snapping one up from her Etsy storefront as soon as you see it.
Best Nontraditional Wreaths
Nontraditional, in our opinion, is a wreath that doesn’t focus on greenery alone and instead stars eclectic or unusual accents (hello, chili peppers!) that we don’t always associate with the winter months. They almost always stray outside the typical color scheme of green, white, and red. And not all are made of pampas or dried florals. While those do make an appearance here, there’s also a few sparse styles crafted from braided twine, plus a colorful paper fan for a more playful touch.
Our Shopping Checklist
“Ranging from simple to very ornate, wreaths are a great tool for holiday decorating,” says Goodman. While she works on a lot of hotels and building lobbies, she notes that wreaths are also ideal for small spaces because they don’t take up floor space. A single-species wreath is a low-key option or can be an opportunity for creative play; multi-species wreaths will have a more textured, layered look, and natural flourishes like dried citrus and berries will read as traditional. Ross likes adding a strand of battery-powered white fairy lights for a warm glow on dark winter days. We’re of the opinion that holiday decor is a great opportunity to dabble in maximalism, since the transformation only lasts a few weeks.
Materials and Size
Faux wreaths are looking more real than ever these days. A diversity of branches and a bit of asymmetry in the leaves will help fool the eye: “You don’t want it to look too perfect,” says Ross. He also likes to pull clippings from his yard and tuck them into faux wreaths. Pine cones, juniper berries, and appealing greenery can all work. Plus going the faux or dried route means you can hang it again and again, year after year.
As for real, natural wreaths, Goodman recommends the traditional balsam fir for that Christmasy scent you know and love, but she’s also a fan of multi-species wreaths, particularly those with cedar and spruce. “They look good and last longer than a single-species wreath,” she says.
So how to know which size to get? A typical front entry door is 36 inches wide; 22 to 24 inches is considered a standard diameter for wreaths. To keep proportions right, a narrower door will call for a smaller wreath, but if you have a larger door or like the look of a bigger wreath, try a 30-inch option. Oversize designs—36 inches or more—work well above a mantel. Goodman has been known to take down a piece of art and hang a wreath on the existing hook for a high-impact swap that won’t damage the walls.
Inside vs. Outside Use
“Outside, I always use fresh because it lasts longer,” says Goodman. Inside, with the heat on, real wreaths are prone to drying out and may not make it to season’s end. With faux wreaths, pay attention to product descriptions. Some options marked as outdoor-friendly can only be used in a covered space, and not every front door is protected in that way.
Q: How should I hang a holiday wreath on my door?
Ross is a fan of a simple nail in the door: “It’s charming and adds character,” he says. Julie Vadnal, Domino’s deputy editor, uses a Command hook. Over-the-door wreath holders are a great way to avoid making marks or hammering nails: Here’s a statement silver wreath hanger and a simple matte black one. Goodman points out that they don’t work with all doors, however, including those that have a particularly tight seal or run thicker than standard, so make sure you try it out before hanging a wreath.
Q: Is it possible to keep a real wreath looking fresh throughout the holiday season?
To keep real wreaths fresh, fill a spray bottle with water and spritz the branches every few days. Dried-out greenery, including Christmas trees, can quickly become a fire hazard indoors, so make sure you don’t have candles near your wreath. When buying a wreath in person, Goodman suggests giving it a shake. If a bunch of needles fall off, it’s old. Look for something fresher.
Q: What’s the best way to store my wreath beyond Christmas?
In the off-season you want your wreath to keep its shape and not accumulate dust, says Goodman. Pick up a bag specifically meant for wreath storage. Our recommendations: this affordable option (but because it’s not hard-sided, don’t plan to put other boxes or bags on top) or something a bit more heavy-duty that’s larger and will facilitate storage for multiple wreaths.
Q: Do you have some holiday styling ideas for an entryway?
Sure! Here are a few of our favorites: (1) Line up pillar candles in your entryway to instantly set the mood. (2) No room for a tree? Get creative with your wall and some greenery. (3) Whether it’s red and green, textural whites, or shades of blue, picking a color scheme will give your space a cohesive look.
The Last Word
Whether a wreath is your singular nod to the gifting season or something that appears on every window of your home, it’s a great way to get into the spirit. Any of our favorites, above, are sure to transform your home into a holiday house.