I got some magnolia leaves and decided to make a pretty garland:
UPDATE: Gosh! I hate to do this but someone on eBay lifted my picture above and used it to sell their magnolia leaves. They never asked my permission, and what's more, when contacted them about it (the person that did this is seller ID terriiii), they didn't even send me back an apology! Nothing! Not very nice.
I did notice that other people on eBay have magnolia leaves for sale, and one called scubamom333 even makes her own wreaths too. You might want to check her listings.
Anyway. Sorry to have even had to put that up there.
I figure I can get at least three uses out of the garland each year: I can hang it at Chanukah (decorating with a runner of blue and silver ribbons), drape it on a table with other plants at Tu B'Shevat, and also use it to decorate the sukkah each year. If I get really inspired, I might make more garlands just so they'll make the sukkah look even more pretty.
Magnolia leaves are beautiful when they're fresh and they dry beautifully too, so you can find other uses for them.
If you want to use a magnolia garland as one of your Christmas decorations, just add red or green ribbon, or hot-glue some holly in so it looks Christmas-y. Garland doesn't 'belong' to any religious tradition, so since it's a Winter thing, I imagine that it would be really neat no matter what you happen to celebrate (or if you don't celebrate anything, just a nice part of the outdoors to have inside the home) - just add something to it so that it reflects who *you* are.
Anyway, this was my first time to make a magnolia garland, but it turned out to be just so easy.
You'll need magnolia leaves (my garland used about 250), green floral wire, hot glue gun, snippers to cut the floral wire, and pretty ribbon to decorate and hang the garland once you're done. This project took me about two hours to complete:
(Above:) I took three magnolia leaves at a time and twisted floral wire around each one. I tried to keep the garland in this pattern - one leaf to the right, one leaf in the middle, one leaf to the left. Every now and then, turn the magnolia leaf over so that the pretty bronze side of the leaf shows. Just add each new leaf at the bottom of the one before it so you keep working 'down'.
(Above:) Before long, you'll have a nice length of garland! The leaves that I turned over to show their pretty bronze side make it even nicer.
(Above:) once you have a length of garland long enough for where you want to hang it, turn the whole thing over, and just hot-glue some leaves over where the floral wire shows. It'll only take a minute to do this part.
(Above:) Next, just tie ribbon around each end of the garland, and hang it! I put some pretty blue/silver ribbons around the garland it so it really ties in with my menorahs and candles. If you like, you could put your garland down the center of the dining table with some candles around - that would be pretty, too.