If you’re looking to create your own holiday decorations and gifts this year instead of rushing out to the closest big-box store, turn to organizations and gardens throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Options range from wreath-making classes to scarf dyeing to centerpiece creation.
While some classes may already be filled this season, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s programming.
Class members participate in the Holiday Greens Workshop./Courtesy of Delaware Center for Horticulture
At DCH, not only can visitors participate in holiday classes but they can also purchase unique gifts from local artisans.
The Holiday Greens Workshop teaches participants how to create a festive wreath or table arrangement from an unusual collection of fresh, locally sourced greens, dried seeds, seedpods, fruit and ribbon, according to information from the center. Refreshments are also offered.
Expert flower arrangers and wreath makers will be on hand to offer guidance, encouragement and a demonstration.
DCH asks participants to bring hand pruners and gloves to work with prickly materials. The center also warns that space is limited and recommends registering early to specify your choice of wreath or centerpiece.
If you’d rather not worry about your artistic abilities or meeting a cutoff date, head to the annual DCH Holiday Bazaar to pick up one-of-a-kind, locally sourced wreaths, swags, centerpieces and gifts from artists and craft vendors. There will be a gift-wrapping station on site.
With the Trolley Square center’s courtyard fire pit, hot-cider station and a bake-sale table, you’ll be full of cheer by the time you leave.
1810 N. Dupont St., Wilmington
658-6262 • thedch.org
A look inside the eco-printed scarf -dyeing class./By Meg Ryan
The classes at this Hockessin, Delaware conservation and preservation center range from creating centerpieces to containers and fabric projects.
Courses like Sara Setzer’s scarf-dyeing classes, which ran this year through November, teach everything from eco printing to creating a scarf of super-soft silk. The Wool Flower Art session and the Handmade Bayberry Candles workshops Dec. 14 invite attendees to craft perfect gift items.
Duncan Himmelman, the education manager, says programming is planned by student requests or according to instructors’ strengths and interests. Classes also change seasonally, offering attendees projects that fit the time of year.
If you’re looking to exercise your green thumb, Mt. Cuba offers multiple workshops utilizing native plants. Courses teach participants how to search their own backyards to create something beautiful, Himmelman says.
December classes include the Elegant Winter Container Workshop, Holiday Greens Workshop and Natural Holiday Centerpiece on Dec. 19. Or, begin planning your holiday meal with “From Field to Fork: Venison” on Dec. 13.
Whichever class you choose to join during the holiday season, Himmelman suggests signing up early, as space is limited.
3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin
239-4244 • mtcubacenter.org
Class participants show off their wreath-making designs./Courtesy of Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens prides itself on offering floral design workshops with some of the top experts in the craft.
The former home and gardens of Pierre S. du Pont, located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, offers yearly holiday classes primarily focused on floral design. Other courses include how-tos on quilts, snowflake ornaments and centerpieces, says Matthew Ross, director of continuing education.
“[The courses] empower you to make your own decisions,” he says.
The garden’s offerings are 30 percent annual courses, 30 percent rotating courses and 40 percent brand-new classes each year, Ross explains. The goal is to keep students interested and engaged with updated topics. Courses are chosen with input from students and instructors.
The wreath-making class is particularly popular. Other holiday courses include Lights! Camera! Christmas!, in which students can photograph the garden’s holiday displays without crowds, and Floral Fun with Silver, where students create a themed floral design.
While classes for this holiday season were sold out at press time, Ross recommends heading to the website to sign up as soon as the programming schedule comes out.
“They’re very popular courses,” he explains.
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
(610) 388-1000 •â€‹ longwoodgardens.org