Checkout Lane: Christmas wreaths can be customized

A.J. Bauer

Christmas wreaths may be a mainstay of traditional holiday season decoration, but that doesn't mean they all have to look the same.

While traditional-style wreaths, usually decorated with red bows or pine cones, are still by far the most popular, an increasing number are looking to add a self-expressive touch to the season, said Caroline Driscoll, owner of Floral Impressions in North Easton.

Part of that, she said, stems from competition.

''They want the best wreath in the neighborhood,'' Driscoll said. ''When you're driving down the street and all the houses are decorated elaborately, you see the huge gorgeous wreath and you think, 'That house looks awesome.'''

Fresh wreaths come in all different shapes, colors and sizes - from hot pink to lime green, and from 12 inches to 5 feet in circumference – to accommodate the tastes of every decorator. But the key to making sure the wreath lasts the season is checking for moisture, Driscoll said.

Wreath prices vary widely depending on size and quality, ranging from $10 for a simple 12-inch wreath with a bow to hundreds of dollars for elaborate or massive wreaths.

Lynch said she mostly sells wreaths in the $12 to $100 range. Driscoll said she once sold a $600 wreath, complete with handcrafted ornaments and crystal angels.

''It's really whatever's in your budget,'' Driscoll said.

For those on a tighter budget, choosing a silk wreath may be a better long-term investment, said Marybeth Lynch, owner of Arla's Floral Boutique in Pembroke.

While silk wreaths may cost a little more initially, for someone whose Christmas decor changes little from year to year, it might be less expensive than buying a new wreath in the same style every year.

''That way you'll have it and most likely get tired of it before it falls apart,'' Lynch said.

''They've come out with very nice, high-quality silk pieces that people will look at and say, 'Is that real?'''

But for others, there's no replacement for the real thing.

''Everyone likes the smell of fresh greens,'' Lynch said. ''It puts you in the mood of the season.''

Hanging it up

Wooden door: If you want to display your wreath on your wooden door, but don't want to scar your door with a nail, metal hangers work and cost about $5.

Glass or steel door: Scituate-based Holiday Hang-Ups offers a magnetic wreath-hanging implement that uses sturdy magnets to hold wreaths weighing up to 10 pounds. They cost just under $20 for a set of two.

Brick: If you want to hang your wreath on brick but don't want to drill holes, try using a Brick Clip. The clips fit standard brick sizes and are capable of holding wreaths weighing up to 25 pounds. They cost $4.95 each and come two to a package.

Information courtesy www.wreath.com, www.holidayhangups.com and www.christmasspiritshop.com

Patriot Ledger writer A.J. Bauer may be reached at ajbauer@ledger.com.