One lovely Old English tradition – the precursor of the Christmas tree – is the kissing bough, an evergreen sphere speared with mistletoe and hung on a beam inside the front door.
2 wire coathangers
Ivy, holly, mistletoe and other seasonal greenery
Santa Claus or other seasonal decorations
Bend each wire coat-hanger into a circle, then cross one inside the other to make a sphere and secure at top and bottom with florist's wire. Wrap ivy and other greenery around the four metal frames securing with florist’s wire at regular intervals. When you have a shape you're happy with, attach a figure, baubles or other seasonal decoration in the centre wity wire. Hang with florist’s wire near the front door. The kissing bough was often decorated with mistletoe so women passing below could be kissed – and so long as a berry was plucked off at the same time, it brought good luck to both participants.
If young children want to help you make a kissing bough, you can simply get a large sphere of florist's foam, stick a knitting needle through the middle and thread a length of ribbon through to hang. Tie it at the bottom with a small strong twig or cone to act as a toggle. The children can push greenery into the florist's foam to make a big green ball.
For a modern kissing bough, pick up a dropped deciduous branch on a walk, and spray paint it white (in the old days it was dipped in flour and water to give the appearance of snow, or in a solution of Epsom salts to make the leaves sparkle). Decorate with baubles, bows and mistletoe and hang near the front door.