To begin your search for Christmas decorations just head outside. Take a trip with the family to the mountains, lake, park, river, or your own property, to search the ground for fallen branches and twigs. Pick up pinecones, acorns, seedpods, late blooming wildflowers, and fallen leaves. Sprigs of cedar, pine tree, and douglas fir are choices as well. The best thing about these green decorations is that they leave the green in your wallet.

Once you get your findings home, begin the decorating. Fill bowls, boots, baskets, stockings, buckets, wine glasses, or anything else you can think of, with your findings. Hang stockings from the mantel and fill them with greens and pinecones so they stick out the top and spill over. Fill wine glasses with tiny pinecones, greens, and cranberries, and place them on the table or mantle. Make wreaths and boughs with your greens and embellish with bows and large pinecones. Hang wreaths on the front door and windows while placing boughs on the mantel or above doorways.

If you own a dehydrator, this can come in handy to make dried fruit to use in your decorations. Slice apples and oranges and place them in the dehydrator. Slice them about 1/3 inch thick and make sure to leave the peel in tact. Slice them in half and continue slicing in the same fashion. These fruit slices can be used in potpourri, garlands, to decorate wreaths, to place in bowls, tie to Christmas gifts, the ideas are endless.

Fill a wooden bowl or antique wooden trough with nuts in their shells. Use hazel nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, and so on. Place the bowl on the coffee table and surround the bowl with your greens and pinecones. Place a couple of candles with candlesticks on either end of the bowl and light the candles when guests arrive.

Make gingerbread and sugar cookies cut out in Christmas shapes and decorate them with frosting and embellishments like gumdrops, raisins, m & m’s, and jelly beans. Place your homemade cookies in bowls around the house to welcome guests. Send your guest’s home with little goodie bags filled with cookies and nuts. Tie the bags with ribbons and attach your dried fruit to the ribbons.