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How to Decorate a Lantern for Christmas

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I love finding easy ways to decorate with items across the seasons, and lanterns are a fave in this department! I’ll show you how to decorate a lantern for Christmas using items found in nature. Then you can easily swap out your decor when the snow melts!

Decorated Christmas lantern with pinecones, pine branches, berry stems, and ribbon with candles inside.

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How to Decorate a Lantern for Christmas: Easy Tutorial

Lanterns are a great way to add light and ambiance to any scene. I wrote about my love of decorating with lanterns in an earlier post, but that focused on outdoor decor for spring or summer.

Red lantern with mix of greenery, pinecones, and ribbon decorated for Christmas.

With the Christmas season here, I wanted to show ways you can add a holiday vibe to a pretty lantern using items you can find in your neighborhood.

(Yes, I’m the crazy lady who was cutting berries off a tree by the neighborhood pond!)


Faux Stem Options

Decorating a Christmas Lantern with Fresh Accents

The benefit of using fresh greenery and accents for Christmas is that you won’t have to deal with storing it later on! Plus, it just looks so pretty.

If you struggle with allergies or feel you can’t maintain the “freshness” of your greenery for the season, it’s completely fine to use faux floral stems.

In fact, toward the end of this article, you’ll see how the same lantern looks with faux berries. (Truth be told, fresh berries will shrivel after a week or two.)

Watch this Tutorial (<1 minute)

Step 1: Gather fresh branches and berries

Depending on the size of your lantern, you’ll want to cut stems that are about 1-2 feet long. You can decide how much you want the greenery to cascade down the side of the lantern.

Cutting fresh pine branches and berries for Christmas lantern
Cutting branches for Christmas lantern

Step 2: Frost the pinecones for a wintery look

My favorite combination for a “frosted” pinecone is a mixture of Epsom salt and glitter. I’ve tried other combinations with faux snow, but the salt just gives a nicer texture.

Plus, you can use salt to add magnesium to your vegetable garden or to soak your feet when you’re done with all your lantern decorating. Ahhhh!

Adding snow to pinecones to make DIY Christmas lantern decor.
Frosted pinecones

To frost your pinecones, simply add dabs of Mod Podge to the tips, and dredge the pinecone in the glitter-salt mixture. I like using a shallow container so I can dip my pinecones easily.

Step 3: Attach greenery and insert candles

While the pinecones are drying, we can add our “lights” to the lantern and attach the stems and berries.

Attaching greenery to the top of a Christmas lantern and inserting pillar candles inside the lantern.

When inserting your candles, it’s nice to add a few sprigs of your evergreen or pine stems along with some berries. You can also choose to add snow around the candles for a wintery scene.

I suggest adding three candles for a balanced look. You could also go with one large pillar candle, but those can be either hard to find or expensive. (Trust me!)

As you’ll see in my short video, I like to wrap some floral wire around the greenery and berry stems to create a type of swag. Then, I drape the swag over one side of the lantern using the same floral wire.

Step 4: Attach pine cones and ribbon

To finish off the lantern decor, you can use your own artistic license to add whatever type of bow or ribbon you like.

Attaching pinecones and ribbon to decorate a Christmas lantern.

I used the same floral wire to attach my frosted pinecones to the top of the lantern. Then I added a simple farmhouse ribbon with four loops and chevron tails.

I already had this ribbon from an earlier project. I’m all about repurposing!

More Christmas Lantern Decor Ideas

I love how fresh and natural this lantern looks. You can display your lantern indoors or in a covered space outdoors as long as you have a ribbon that will withstand the weather.

Red Christmas lantern decor with fresh greenery, berries, frosted pinecones, and farmhouse ribbon.

If you decide to go “all-natural” with your lantern, it’s a good idea to spritz the greenery with a mist of water every other day or so.

Red lantern with pine branches, berries, pinecones and ribbon as part of Christmas living room decor.

You can see above how I replaced my real berries with the faux variety after a week or two. I love how the red lantern looks by my Christmas mantel decor.

Christmas living room decor including Christmas tree and fireplace mantel with garland and Christmas accents.

To see more views of this space, head over to my Christmas living room decor next!

If you’re wondering what else you can use for Christmas lantern decor, try some of these ideas:

  • Fill the lantern with metallic ornaments
  • Place a large Santa or Snowman inside for a whimsical display
  • Place small decorative Christmas trees inside
  • Fill the lantern with decorative balls
  • Add a small topiary for a classic look

Pin it for later!

Collage of Christmas lantern decor and greenery and pinecones used to decorate the lantern. Text overlay reads "Christmas Lantern Decor".

I hope you enjoyed learning how to decorate a lantern for Christmas! I’d love to see what you come up with, so be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

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