Updated: October 22, 2015

Christmas Wreath Reviews:

Finding the Best Holiday Wreaths - 'Tis almost the season, and that means you'd better get in the decorating spirit! The holiday season is a welcome break from the brown, dreariness of fall, and it helps make the cold weather seem more cozy and welcoming. The best way to take the chill off the winter is to invest in beautiful Christmas decorations. Even if the "chill" of winter in your area is a balmy 70 degrees, you can get into the holiday mood with Christmas tree decorations, garlands, and wreaths. Wreaths, especially, have a long history and close association with Christmas. You can find gorgeous holiday wreaths in any number of wonderful materials, styles, and sizes. Where is the best place to get them? How much should you expect to pay? This guide will help you get ready for the joyous season.

A Bit About Christmas Wreaths - Christmas wreaths have long roots in history; the Ancient Romans used the wreath as a symbol of victory, and Eastern Europeans used to craft wreaths of evergreen and light them with candles to symbolize sunshine and spring - two things we are in dire need of in the winter! The Christmas wreath itself began as a Christian tradition. A wreath of evergreens was made - to symbolize everlasting life - and four candles were arranged around it. Traditionally, three of the candles were a violet or purple color and the fourth was rose. This represents the four weeks of Advent. Many Christians, particularly Catholics, still have Advent wreaths in their homes and light a candle each week in preparation for the Christmas celebration. Even more common today, though, is the ring of evergreens, decorated with pine cones, bows, and other decorations. Christmas wreaths have become a holiday classic, a symbol as much for warmth and family as for the birth of Jesus.

The Best Christmas Wreaths: Made by Hand - The best Advent and Christmas wreaths are made by hand, but many of us can't go in our backyard and collect evergreen boughs and pinecones. If you can, great! All you need is some wreath wire to make the round structure or a pre-made wreath frame. These are available very inexpensively (It is about $3 for an 18-inch frame), and the frame will be your biggest expense. From there, you wrap your pine boughs around and secure them with wire. Add some pinecones, bows, faux berries, and other Christmas decorations, and your holiday wreath is complete. If you don't have evergreen trees available, you can go to a craft store and purchase realistic looking pine or evergreen branches. But you can also use the opportunity to make a different, yet equally lovely, holiday wreath. Use Eucalyptus sprays, ivy, or other greenery or dried herbs you find at the craft store. This is particularly nice if you live in an area where pine trees are a rarity. It encompasses both the holiday spirit and your own home. You can also forgo the greenery altogether and construct a wreath using round Christmas tree ornaments, plastic berries, candy, Christmas cards, or even duct tape. (Yes, it looks amazing. See the directions on Joann.com). If you want to make your own but are too busy to fetch the supplies, you can find wreath-making kits. The Advent Wreath Kit from Wilson Evergreens, for instance, includes everything you need to make a beautiful wreath for under $30. The best part is that you can use it year after year. You can also find plain, unadorned artificial wreaths. You can then embellish these with bows and other fun decorations. Again, you can also try a non-traditional approach: instead of evergreen, buy an unadorned grapevine wreath. You can then decorate it for a very simple, very elegant look. This is an inexpensive, yet gorgeous option. Around the holiday season, look for locally-made wreaths. 'Tis always the season to support local vendors and craftspeople. No matter where you live, you should be able to find handcrafted holiday wreaths for sale. Wreath-making is a popular fundraiser, so you could help a local cause while getting a beautifully-made holiday wreath.

Buying Christmas Wreaths:

If you don't have the time or inclination to make your own Christmas wreaths, there is certainly no shortage of opportunity to purchase them. First, decide if you'd like natural or artificial holiday wreaths. Each has its benefits. A real wreath not only looks great, it smells great. It can be hung outside or in, and it is festive long past Christmas. These can be very expensive, though, especially if you have to ship it in from another area. Artificial Christmas wreaths tend to be less expensive. You can find very realistic looking ones, and you can use them year after year. You can find online sources for real Christmas wreaths. ATreeAtYourDoor, for instance, offers both Christmas trees and wreaths. A 24-inch wreath made of natural and fragrant Fraser fir costs $20. This is without ornamentation. You can add a Christmas bow for a few dollars more. (http://www.atreetoyourdoor.com/christmas-wreaths.html). These arrive fresh and looking full and beautiful. Tannenbaum's also sells real Christmas trees and wreaths through PremiumChristmasTree.com. A 20-inch decorated Balsam wreath is $20. If you want to buy real Christmas wreaths, look for vendors that offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Adding lights to Christmas wreaths is a very popular idea, and you can find pre-made wreaths that incorporate twinkle lights safely and effectively. A great choice is the Green River Spruce 24- Inch Wreath from GKI Bethlehem Lighting . This lovely, elegant Christmas wreath is made of PE and PVC accented with fern-like stems, amethyst-scented leaves, small pine cones, and 50 clear mini lights. These are locked into their sockets, safety certified, and UL listed. The string stays lit if one light goes out. The GKI Bethlehem Lighting holiday wreath comes with a 10-year limited warranty. One happy customer said, "It is classy without decoration overload." It mixes different kinds of needles, both pine and spruce. "Looks pretty realistic for a 'fake wreath.'" You can find this beautiful wreath for $40. Lights, Christmas, and Thomas Kinkade go together like winter and hot chocolate. The popular Thomas Kinkade Victorian Christmas Village Wreath, for instance, features a beautifully handcrafted, one-of-a-kind wreath with a Victorian village theme. More than 20 hand-painted characters grace the wreath, and you will see windows in 7 buildings lit, as well as 11 charming lanterns. It is truly a work of art that you'll treasure for years. It is $99. Look for other Thomas Kinkade Christmas wreaths on Amazon.com. The best Christmas or holiday wreath is the one that helps you remember to take a minute and appreciate the beauty of the season. Give yourself the gift of beauty.