A couple of years ago my sister and I braved the snow and tortuous bends of Box Hill to go to a National Trust workshop on Christmas decorations. Since then, inspired by what we had learned, we have met up in mid December to do our own thing.
This weekend, three generations of ‘students’ with an age range of more than 70 years, and including two PH members, met up to create centerpieces and mantle shelf decorations for use over the next week or so. I buy Oasis by the box at a local supplier (who also does mail order for those further afield) as well as any tape, trays and candle holders I need. Everyone goes away with a basic arrangement, to which they can add flowers nearer the 25th. With some care and regular watering these arrangements will generally last into the New Year.
The secret is to add the flowers at the end, having covered the Oasis and the container with foliage; ivy, holly, yew, box, Thuja, Pittosporum, and Euonymus all grow profusely in my garden and need to be pruned anyway, so there is always a mass of material available.