Another option for Christmas Decorations – Vernacular Decorations

by Diana Pastor

When I was studying constructive drawing, they taught me about an interesting way to make the buildings of a particular place more attractive: vernacular architecture. This form of architecture uses elements of the surrounding region to build and decorate. An example of this in Guatemala would be the construction of fences around houses using dry corn stalks.

Based on the above, then perhaps we could apply the term “vernacular decorations” to denote the set of natural ornaments that belong to the surrounding environment for use in our Christmas festivities. So how about going vernacular for our decorations this Christmas? I know that most of our readers are used to decorating with dolls of Santa Claus and Frosty, reindeer figurines or stockings and candy canes, which is all fine, but would you not be more interested in passing Christmas here the Guatemalan way? So for those who are going to stay here for the festivities, and are going to decorate their workplaces, their homes, or help to decorate the homes of their Guatemalan families, this year you can try decorating with organic and cheap products from the region.

Right, so if you fancy giving it a go then here´s some of our top recommendations. The first thing I recommend is using fruit for garnishes. Right now is mandarin and chamomile season, which can provide you with some bright colors, and they don’t easily go off making them popular for decorations. Chamomile is sold in the market, loose or in bundles, and you can link them together to form long chains. These are known as “gusano de manzanilla” (chamomile worms) and can be hung on the walls of houses, like making waves. Like chamomile, firs and pine are also available in long strips, like garlands, although these are a little more expensive. Additionally, you can also get Christmas wreaths which are made from these trees from the market. They have about a month and a half of life and their delicious aroma spreads throughout the place where they are hung. You can integrate the mandarins with these Christmas “worms”, like you would do with traditional Christmas baubles.

You can also use pine cones, called “chicharras” (crickets) in Guatemala. These can be decorated with paint or glitter to make them more eye-catching. These ornaments are just a few examples. So … just use your imagination and decorate away! And don´t worry when the holidays are over, everything will rot quickly and can be thrown away easily.


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