For me, Christmas has always been a season of the heartfelt and handmade.

From the fruitcakes and cookies my grandmother made, to the ornaments my mother hand stitched for our Christmas tree to the crafts we make together as a family, so many of our holiday decorations and traditions are handmade, not store-bought.

I was thrilled when I was chosen to participate in a weeklong celebration of handmade Christmas crafts and decorating ideas.

Today, I’m sharing my handmade Christmas Garland with Gilded Pinecones and Magnolia Boughs.

Handmade Christmas Garland of Magnolia Boughs and Gilded Pinecones

The garland covers the railing leading upstairs from our living room.

Atta Girl Says 2013 Christmas Home Tour & Holiday Decorating Ideas

I already owned this faux champagne garland and have used it before in the foyer.

vintage Christmas village in white garland vignette by

In the past, I’ve used a pre-lit faux garland adorned with big bows on the staircase, but this year I wanted to do something different.

Transitioning from Fall to Christmas Decorations

And I did have a truckload full of magnolia boughs and boxwood.

Plus a Santa’s bag full of pinecones collected from the woods surrounding our house.

Decorating for Christmas with Natural Elements

Add some fabulous check ribbon for inspiration, and a stairway Christmas garland is born.

Atta Girl Says 2013 Christmas Home Tour & Holiday Decorating Ideas

I put this together over several days, first attaching the garland to the railing with zip ties, one of my favorite holiday decorating tricks.

Next, I added the ribbon, scrunching it into the garland until I liked the way it looked. I spray painted the pinecones a metallic gold, then wired them to fresh magnolia boughs.

Christmas Garland with Gilded Pinecones and Magnolia Boughs

Then it was just a matter of walking up and down the stairs, again and again, nestling magnolia boughs and pinecones into the shimmering white garland, twisting the faux branches to secure.

It’s times like these — legs burning from a hundred trips up the stairs to fluff and reposition — that I wish I had a design assistant.

Handmade Christmas decorations and gifts take thought and effort and sometimes a little extra time.


But there’s something special and soul-affirming in being able to say, “I made that.” Especially at Christmastime.

Handmade Felt Dinosaur Christmas Ornament

And there’s something special about watching a little boy’s eyes light up when he hangs his felt dinosaur ornament on the tree. It’s an ornament lovingly handmade by his Nana in the likeness of his favorite stuffed animal, more best friend than toy.

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

There’s something special about taking a journey through Christmases past with ornaments handmade by your mother, your grandmother and other beloved relatives.

Handmade Christmas Advent Calendar

There’s something special about watching your child count down the days until Christmas on the same cross-stitched advent calendar that welcomed the holiday when you were a child.

If you feel the same way about Christmas, then you are really going to enjoy all the other handmade decorations, gifts and touches other bloggers are sharing.

Friday December 6

Saturday December 7

Sunday December 8

Monday December 9

Tuesday December 10

For more handmade Christmas decorating ideas, don’t miss my Christmas home tour.

Atta Girl Says 2013 Christmas Home Tour & Holiday Decorating Ideas


  1. Amy. Your garland is just horgeous. I am convinced that I am going to plant a magnolia tree as soon as the rain stops.

    • Atta Girl Amy

      If this rain ever stops! It’s been so dismal and dreary here, too. I’m ready for some sunshine. If you plant a magnolia, it will be huge in no time, especially if it keeps raining.

  2. Gorgeous Amy…I love the combination of the magnolia leaves and pine cones…perfection!

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Thank you, Shirley. I’ve been following along with your decorating, too. I need to take some time to read all your post in detail, though, and look at all the lovely details. You are my Christmas decorating superhero. I don’t know how you get it all done.

  3. This looks amazing! I love the checked ribbon the most! Makes me wish I had stairs.

  4. Just beautiful! Love the ribbon and pine cones. I’m all about magnolia leaves this year as well! :) Great job, Amy!

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Thanks Beth! There’s no shortage of magnolia and pinecones here in the south. Next up, my grits Christmas tree! (Only kidding — although maybe it would go viral on Pinterest.)

  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous … I love the champagne garland for the backdrop to the beautiful ribbon, pinecones and magnolia leaves. I really loved your sentiments about a handmade Christmas. I have lots of ornaments that my mother-in-law and the kids made. It is the most fun to hang those.

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Thanks, Mary. Now, not every handmade ornament gets front-and-center placement on the tree. My husband has said he loves the back of our Christmas tree the best because it’s where lots of the handmade ornaments go.

  6. Amy, this is gorgeous, love everything. Perfection as always. PINNED!!!


  7. Gorgeous, Gorgeous garland! I do love magnolia and you have styled it so lovely with the ribbon and pinecones!
    Jennifer recently posted..Madeline’s CraftinessMy Profile

  8. Botanic Bleu says:

    Pinecones and magnolia leaves are two things I’ve loved all my life. We had magnolia blossoms on the window sills in the church when we married. Your garland is beautiful with the green checked ribbon the perfect accent to the magnolia leaves. So, what is the source for this fantastic ribbon?

    Alas, no magnolia trees or pine trees at my house, but I keep eyeing a neighbor’s magnolia tree that really needs trimming near the ground. I’ve been thinking about stopping by and offering my tree-trimming services.

    So glad to be on The Scoop tour with you,


    • Atta Girl Amy

      Judith: I bet the church was beautiful for your wedding.

      I actually got the ribbon from my friend Barb, of The Everyday Home, who sells it (or soon will be selling it) through her online shop, Farmhouse Decor. The ribbon is amazing. It’s like fabric with wire in it. It’s amazing to work with, and I imagine it will last for years and years!

      I definitely think you should snip a few boughs from your neighbor’s magnolia tree. They’ll probably be happy to not have to do the work themselves. They’ll never know that you’re the one on the winning side of that arrangement.

  9. Wow your garland is stunning! Absolutely love how you have made this! Magnolia leaves are simply gorgeous!
    Dria recently posted..DIY Pipe-Cleaner Ornament – The Scoop Christmas TourMy Profile

  10. Your garland is gorgeous, Amy. I looove that checked ribbon. The magnolia leaves and pine cores are just perfect.

    • Atta Girl Amy

      That checked ribbon is swoon-worthy. Barb of The Everyday Home is going to be selling it and some other ribbon soon in her online shop, Farmhouse Decor.

  11. Wow! It’s beautiful, Amy! I love fresh magnolia…so southern! And all of the other little handmade touches around your home create such a warm Christmas-y feeling! Thanks so much for sharing with us! Hugs…Debbie

  12. Beautiful garland! Your home is absolutely gorgeous too!

  13. Gorgeous gorgeous!! I wanted to add some magnolia this year too- but had a hard time finding bunches and bunches of it. Love how it looks in your home!!

  14. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Bless you
    bayside furnishings recently posted..bayside furnishingsMy Profile

  15. Elizabeth Ward says:

    Your blog is magnificent! I am swooning over your fabulous decorating! Thank you so much for sharing all your beautiful ideas. I am also so happy to know that the incredible checked ribbon might be available at Farmhouse Decor. I simply must have some of that ribbon! My husband and I will be moving to North Carolina next year and would love to make that gorgeous garland for our home. It is the perfect gArland for any home, but especially, the Southern Home.

    I am such a huge fan!

    • Atta Girl Amy

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth. And an early welcome to NC. Where will you be moving? Maybe I can share some of my favorite local shopping haunts.

      And I would definitely contact Barb at Farmhouse Decor to see if the ribbon is available. It is so luxe!


  1. […] you liked this project and vintage-inspired Christmas decor, be sure to check out my magnolia and gilded pinecone garland and my Victorian Santa Christmas gift […]

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