Best Christmas Garland

Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for Best Christmas garland

Decorating for Christmas involves more than just putting ornaments and lights on your tree. If you want your home to feel as festive as possible, you need to add some other touches throughout your rooms, and nothing makes that easier than some Christmas garlands.

Traditional Christmas garland is made of leaves and greenery from pine or other evergreen trees and includes accents like pine cones and bows. These days, you can find plenty of artificial garlands that you can use year after year. However, green garlands aren’t your only option. You can also find garlands made of beads, tinsel, ribbon, and more. Some can even be wound through your Christmas tree’s branches to fill in any gaps between the lights and ornaments. 

You’ll want to consider factors like materials, length, and colors to find the best Christmas garland for your holiday décor.

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Many artificial greenery Christmas garlands have mainly polyethylene needles for a realistic look but have an underlayer of polyvinyl chloride needles to help them appear fuller without driving up the cost. 

How to buy the best Christmas garland 

What is Christmas garland?

Traditional garlands are woven out of boughs, leaves, flowers, and other greenery. Christmas garland is usually made of evergreen boughs woven together to form a long chain. 

Because these garlands are relatively flexible, they’re typically draped over or wrapped around the indoor and outdoor surfaces you want to decorate. For example, you can place a garland along your fireplace mantel, wrap it around columns, outline a door, or wind it through railings to give the area some festive holiday flair.

You can buy Christmas garlands made of real greenery, complete with its lovely fragrance and traditional look. However, you’ll have to deal with needles dropping off as the garland dries out, just like with a real Christmas tree. 

Artificial Christmas garlands can resemble live evergreen garlands, but you don’t have to worry about sweeping up pine needles. Others are made of tinsel or beads. You can use artificial garlands year after year. 

Types and materials

The most common garland types include the following:

Evergreen garlands are the most traditional type of Christmas garland. You can find them at plant shops and garden supply stores, but some online retailers also sell them. They offer a wonderfully rustic look for your Christmas décor and give your home that fresh evergreen scent associated with the holidays. Live evergreen garlands work well for decorating mantels, columns, stair railings, and light posts. However, these garlands only last for a few weeks, and they can drop needles as they dry out. 

Polyethylene (PE) garlands have injection-molded artificial needles, so they have the same texture and color as real pine, fir, or spruce needles. As a result, they have a highly realistic look but can be used year after year and won’t lose needles like live garlands. You can use them to decorate your home in the same ways as live garlands. 

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) garlands are similar to polyethylene garlands, but the needles aren’t quite as realistic. However, these styles are usually cheaper and last longer than PE garlands. They’re suitable for the same uses as live garlands too. 

Tinsel garlands are also made of PVC, but the needles are not designed to look realistic. Instead, these garlands are shiny and often come in bright, festive colors. While these garlands can be draped over a mantel or wrapped around railings like live and artificial green garlands, you can also wrap a tinsel garland around your Christmas tree

Beaded garlands are long strings of shiny beads that are often used to decorate a Christmas tree. You can also decorate tables or other flat surfaces with beaded garlands. 

Bare vs. decorated

If you opt for a live or realistic-looking artificial Christmas garland, you have a choice of styles that are bare or decorated. 

Bare garlands contain only evergreen boughs. They have a simple yet festive look that you can customize with your own touches. You’ll usually pay less for bare garlands, so they can be an excellent option if you’re on a budget.

Decorated garlands have decorative accents on the boughs. These can include pine cones, berries, ribbons, bows, sprigs of flowers, or small ornaments. Some artificial garlands also have flocking to mimic the look of snow. Decorated Christmas garlands usually cost more, but you can decorate your home quickly and easily with them.

Length

You need the right length of garland if you want to drape it over your mantel or wind it around a banister. Measure the area you want to decorate to make sure the garland you buy is long enough. For example, if you want to outline your front door, measure the height of the door, double that number, and add the result to the width of the door to determine how much garland you need. 

To drape garland over a mantel, measure the width of the mantel and multiply that figure by 1.5. That will give you the right length to cover the top of the mantel and drape down the sides. If you want to wrap the garland around a banister or railing, measure the length of the staircase and the height of the bottom newel post, add the figures together, and double that number.

If you can’t find a garland that’s long enough for your needs, you can always combine two or more to get the proper length.

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Staff Tip
Clean your artificial garland before you put it away at the end of the holiday season. Use a feather duster or hair dryer to remove dust from the needles.
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What features should I look for in a Christmas garland? 

Lights

If you really want your Christmas garland to stand out and accent an area of your home, opt for a strand with lights. You can find plenty of garlands with white or multicolored lights, and some also have colored lights in a single color like red or blue. 

To make it easier to decorate with your garland, it’s also a good idea to choose lighted strands that are battery operated. That way, you can place the garland anywhere in your home without worrying about having an outlet nearby. 

Colors

Most Christmas garlands are green because they have live or artificial evergreen needles. Some artificial garlands have flocking to make them appear covered with snow, which gives them a whitish color. 

If you opt for garlands made of tinsel or beads, you have many color options. Tinsel garlands typically come in gold or silver, but you can also find them in red, green, blue, and purple. Beaded garlands are available in similar shades, though many styles feature multiple colors. For example, you can find Christmas garlands with red and green beads for a truly festive look.

Indoor/outdoor

You can use Christmas garlands to decorate both inside and outside your home. For example, in addition to your mantel or staircase, your porch railing and outdoor light posts are perfect spots for some garland. 

However, if you plan to decorate with your garland outdoors, it’s crucial that you choose strands meant for outdoor use. These are usually made of materials or coated to withstand rain, snow, and other harsh weather conditions without deteriorating. Unfortunately, some garlands are relatively flimsy, so they’re only suited for indoor use.

While Christmas garlands are the most popular, you can find garlands decorated for other seasons and holidays too. 

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How do I accessorize a Christmas garland?

Christmas lights: If your garland doesn’t have lights, you might want to dress it up by winding a string of Christmas lights through it. Look for Christmas light strands that are long enough and have enough lights to fill your garland. Lights that can be used indoors and outdoors are more versatile.

Christmas wreath: When decorating with garlands outdoors, you can tie your holiday look together with a classic Christmas wreath. Look for one with adjustable branches that allow you to shape it to suit your preferences. Some wreaths include battery-powered LED lights for even more sparkle. 

How much does Christmas garland cost? 

Inexpensive

The most affordable Christmas garlands cost between $7 and $20. The styles in this price range are typically tinsel, beaded, or undecorated artificial greenery garlands that don’t include lights. Prices vary mainly based on the length of the garland. 

Mid-range

These garlands typically cost between $20 and $99. Most of the styles in this price range are artificial greenery garlands with lights and other embellishments or shorter fresh greenery garlands. The price usually depends on the length. 

Expensive

The most expensive Christmas garlands cost between $100 and $250. These garlands are usually artificial greenery styles with lights, ribbons, ornaments, and other decorations or extra-long fresh greenery garlands. 

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Staff Tip 
Store your artificial garland in a cool, dark, dry location. Heat, moisture, and direct sunlight can cause the needles to deteriorate. 
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Tips

  • Drape a garland over a mirror. It can make a piece of your usual wall décor look very festive so you don’t need to swap it out for a holiday-specific decoration. 
  • Add some Christmas garland as a centerpiece to your table. Simply drape it down the center of your table and add some ornaments, or snake it around some holiday candles for a truly impressive look.
  • Place the lights and ornaments on your Christmas tree first. That makes it easier to use garland to fill in any gaps between the lights and ornaments. 

 

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You might need to shape the needles on an artificial garland before decorating it. Set it on a flat surface and spread out the branch tips to make it look as full as you want. 

FAQ

Q. How long does a Christmas garland last?

A. If you’re using fresh garland, it typically lasts for just a few weeks, so you can use it for only one season. Artificial garlands, tinsel garlands, and beaded garlands are much more durable, allowing you to use them year after year. The lifespan of a strand of garland depends on the quality of its materials, and whether you use it outdoors or indoors. Christmas garland you use only indoors can last for years. 

Q. Can I cut a Christmas garland? 

A. You can easily cut both fresh greenery and artificial greenery garlands (without lights) to fit a specific area of your home you want to decorate. However, it’s important to take care when cutting it because you don’t want to wind up with pieces that are too short for the spot you want to decorate. 

Q. What can I add to my Christmas garland?

A. If you opt for a bare or undecorated Christmas garland, the sky’s the limit when it comes to dressing it up. You can weave a string of lights through the garland, add ribbons or bows, dust it with glitter, or even add small ornaments to help it look more festive. 

 

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