How to Make a Christmas Dining Table Centerpiece

Why spend money on a Christmas dining table centerpiece from the florist when you can easily make your own?

Christmas table centerpiece in a birch box with greenery, white bows, holly, pinecones, and twigs.

Christmas Dining Room Table Centerpiece

I had so much fun making a centerpiece for my dining room table. All of the greenery I used came from my yard.

Christmas centerpiece with greenery, Holly, pinecones, twigs, and white ribbon trimmed with gold

At the end of June in 2012, our town was hit with a Derecho that did incredible damage to our home and yard.

My side landscape bed was completely destroyed by tree trucks that had to come in to remove two gigantic Poplars that fell on and damaged our home.

The tree trucks made roads through our front and back yard and crushed any existing shrub or planting that they had to drive over to get to the trees that had to be removed.

Side view of a Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, twigs, and white bows

A total of seven trees fell on our property, none of which were ours. Mr. SP and I spent a week in the hot July sun cutting up trees, hauling them to the street, all while living with no electricity.

Side view of a Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, twigs, and white bows

The two trees that did major damage to our home came from our next door neighbor’s yard. Instead of helping us clean the mess up, he and his wife high tailed it out of town. Nice, huh?

Every inch of our property was covered with fallen trees or branches that the high winds blew into our yard. Our yard and our landscape beds suffered major damage.

Side view of a Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, twigs, and white bows

I’m telling you this tale because the Derecho led to new plantings in our side yard and backyard landscape beds. It was a huge job to plant so*many*plants but it also was so rewarding.

Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, pinecones, twigs, and white ribbon trimmed with gold

A year later in June of 2013, our landscape looked so much better. Planting these plants leads us to today’s blog post as cuttings from the new landscape were used to make my dining room table centerpiece.

Side view of a Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, twigs, and white bows

If the Derecho hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have landscape beds in my backyard that I love or some of the cuttings used for this arrangement.

How to Make a Christmas Dining Table Centerpiece

I took a shortcut to make my Christmas dining table centerpiece by reusing a florist container from an arrangement that my old tennis friends brought to me one Christmas when I hosted them for dinner after they played.

Deconstructed Christmas arrangement from the florist

I used to be an avid tennis player but a cancer treatment that I received in 2017 aggravated an old back injury and my back still hasn’t recovered enough to be able to play tennis or do my beloved running.

I still dream about running because I want to be able to do it so badly. But I am able to walk and do weight training, and for that I am very grateful.

I saved this arrangement because I knew that I could reuse it by adding my own greenery to it.

If you like this birch bark container, this is a similar one on Etsy.

Step One – Cut Greenery

I started by walking around my yard snipping greenery to use for my centerpiece.

I used these plants:

  • Blue Spruce
  • Holly
  • Boxwood
  •  Japanese Cryptomeria
  • Green Giant Arborvitae
Greenery to make a Christmas wreath in a tote

Step Two – Condition Greenery

The next step was to condition the greenery to make extend the life of the arrangement. Each stem was given a fresh cut on the diagonal and placed into a bucket of room temperature water.

It is recommended to gently crush the ends of the stems with a hammer, but I didn’t do this.

Conditioning greenery in buckets of water overnight

The greenery was left to condition overnight.

Step Three – Make New Bows

I replaced the plaid ribbon with the same ribbon that I used on my Swarovski Snowflake Christmas tree.

Making a ribbon accent for a Christmas centerpiece

The florist used a thick gauged wire to make the bows. You can see how a section of wire was wrapped around the ribbon to make the bow. This gauge wire was stiff enough to be easily inserted into the oasis.

Plaid bow to add to a Christmas centerpiece

I didn’t have any floral wire with a gauge this thick to use, so instead, I used wired wood picks to make the bows.

Bow for a Christmas centerpiece

The original floral arrangement had four plaid bows, so I made four new bows to replace them.

Step Four – Make the Arrangement

The next day I pulled the plastic liner of the birch bark floral container out so that I could saturate the oasis with water.

I put the oasis in the sink and slowly ran water over it until it was saturated. Then I put the plastic tray back in the birch bark container.

The greenery was taken out of the buckets where it had been conditioning overnight. I spread all of my supplies out on a workbench in our basement.

Materials to make a Christmas centerpiece

For gardening, you can’t beat a pair of Felco pruners. The ribbon was cut with the wonderful Gingher scissors that my mother-in-law gave me long ago. Ginghers are hands down my favorite scissor brand.

I started by removing the plaid bows. Note that the sticks and pinecones were in place from the original arrangement from the florist.

I then added pieces of Japanese Cryptomeria and Green Giant Arborvitae to oasis, giving each piece that I added a fresh cut to both make it the correct length and to open the xylem so that the greenery could absorb water from the oasis.

Greenery in a birch bark container

Next, I added the bows, putting them in the same spots that the florist did on the original arrangement.

Greenery, pinecones, twigs, in a birch bark floral container

Looking down on the arrangement, note that there are a lot of empty areas to fill.

Greenery, pinecones, twigs, in a birch bark floral container

I then added in sprigs of Boxwood and finally sprigs of Holly to add a pop of red to the arrangement.

Greenery, pinecones, twigs, and holly in a birch bark floral container

Enjoy the Arrangement

My arrangement is the centerpiece for my angel themed Christmas table that I’ll share on Friday.

Christmas centerpiece in a Birch bark box with greenery, Holly, pinecones, twigs, and white ribbon trimmed with gold
Similar Birch Bark Container

I love how it looks and I’m looking forward to sharing all of the details with you.


  1. That’s a beautiful centerpiece, Paula. What most people don’t understand is just how much greenery it takes to make a nice and full centerpiece. If they did, they would understand retail pricing. THey would also know that Felco pruners are a gardener’s favorite tool, a “must-have”.
    Your Derecho story sounds just like my sister’s. They lost 6 Bradford pear trees, and a mutilated but recovered Magnolia, and also had to endure more than a week without power in the hot sun in that period. I can’t say anything nice about crappy neighbors so I won’t say anything at all. I hope yours moved. We moved from ours.

    1. Thank you, Rita! It was a lot of fun to make this centerpiece and I love that it didn’t cost a thing to make it.

      Boy, your sister had so much damage! Bradford Pears are beautiful trees but they don’t do well in ice or high wind. Our city has a lot of them lining streets and they’re so pretty in the spring when they bloom.

      Our neighbors are really nice people and they still live next door to us. I hope in your cono you have great neighbors!


  2. That’s a beautiful centerpiece!! You did such a great job with that!! I always enjoy your diy projects. I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas and your always in my prayers for healing and for a speedy recovery!!

    1. Thank you so much, Barb! I so much appreciate your prayers and I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.


  3. Beautiful centerpiece. I too love to use fresh greens. Arrangements look different every year and so much fun to see how they take shape.
    We would live you to join our garden club.

    1. I would love some training in floral design. My grandmother was in Garden Club and learned so much. I wish I could have been around her as she made arrangements to learn from her. I’ve always wanted to be in a Garden Club but apparently, in Lynchburg, you have to be born into it or run in certain social circles. I know that you make incredible arrangements, Peggy!


      1. Our garden club is very low key and fun. We do a variety of programs. You know many members. Soon as we can meet again I will see if we are taking new members. Our charter only allows so many members. Hope it works out.

  4. Paula this is absolutely GORGEOUS. I accidentally bought too many green foam blocks so I’m going to try to make one today or tomorrow for fun. If it works out and I post, I will link back yo your excellent tutorial! You have totally inspired me!! I thought I was done for the season lol

  5. You did an amazing job on your Christmas centerpiece, Paula… What are the long thin ‘feathery’ pieces called? I’m so impressed with your skills, knowledge of plants and florals, and that you grow them so well! (And the ribbon is perfect, too!)

    1. Thank you, Julie! The feathery pieces are Japanese Cryptomeria. I love the little cones that some of the sprigs have on them. Even though I don’t write about it much on my blog, I LOVE gardening and have studied it by reading about it over the years. Plus, my former running partner was had a master’s degree in horticulture. His landscape beds and gardens were and still are magazine worthy. We did a lot of garden talk during our runs.


  6. wow, this is amazing. I’m always so impressed with the talented folks that can put a greenery arrangement together. Very inspiring and a great diy. Pinning it because I’ll have to refer back. Love your choice of the ribbon, it’s gorgeous. Paula, Just want to add that you’re in my prayers and what an amazing positive person you are. God’s blessing on you daily and wishing you a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind compliment and for your much-needed prayers. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas!


  7. This is such a pretty arrangement, Paula! The holly is so vibrant and really adds that Christmas feel! Thanks for sharing with us all! Praying you get back to running and tennis soon! Merry Christmas! 🎄

  8. That looked like some storm! Do you still have those sucky neighbors? Seriously, who does that?! I would have saved that birch wood box too. It’s very pretty and you did a fantastic job choosing cuttings from your yard. I actually think you did a fantastic job choosing them so many years ago! We have such a problem here in Texas. Everything seems to burn up in the summer except a few of the same old bushes. And we ALL plant the same old bushes. Pinned and merry merry Christmas!

    1. Gardening in Texas has to be a challenge! I can’t take credit for choosing the plants. We had a landscape company do a plan and deliver the plants. We did the grunt work of planting and mulching to save money. It’s amazing how much the plants have grown in just a few years. We still have the same neighbors and they are super nice. It was just disappointing for them not to help with the massive damage that their trees caused. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. What a lovely centerpiece, Paula! I really enjoyed reading how you put this arrangement together and even learned a new floral bow technique! You are so lucky to have so many wonderful plants to trim for projects like this! Thank you so much for sharing! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!


    Tee @ Teediddlydee

    1. Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun putting it together and I am very lucky to have plants in my yard to use to make decorations like this. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  10. I took a screen shot of the plants used. I just buy stems from a local store but would love to be able to get from my yard instead!!

  11. That is absolutely gorgeous. You are so talented. And, thanks for the etsy place to buy the birch box. I’ve wanted somethingl like that for our table.

  12. I confess I’d never heard of a derecho till now. It’ sounds just awful. I’m so glad you’ve managed to find a silver lining in all that destruction. Talk about being able to see the bright side. Your arrangement is so lovely.

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