<p>We tested them on the quality and style of the arrangements, how long the real ones last and most important of all, their festive factor</p> (The Independent/iStock)

We tested them on the quality and style of the arrangements, how long the real ones last and most important of all, their festive factor

(The Independent/iStock)

After the stresses and strains of the past nine months, it’s time to get excited about Christmas – and hanging a wreath on the door is the perfect way kickstart the festive spirit.

The tradition of decking our homes with greenery is as old as the hills.

The Romans hung wreaths on their doors to denote victory, and centuries later wreaths are part of Christmas celebrations the world over, a sign of welcome and generosity.

This year, there’s a stunning array of wreaths to choose from – real wreaths created by florists, artificial alternatives designed by interior brands, and DIY kits that you can make yourself.

If you prefer a real wreath make sure you hang it outdoors and spritz it with water regularly. It should last until Christmas Day and beyond.

The advantage of an artificial wreath, of course, is that it’s low maintenance (even no maintenance). You can put it away for safekeeping in the New Year and bring it out again next Christmas.

We’ve tested some of the best wreaths on sale this year, judging them on the quality and style of the arrangements, how long the real ones last and most important of all, their festive factor.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart cinnamon magic wreath, 40cm

Type: Real

Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart is one of the best-known names in floristry, renowned for luxurious arrangements for weddings and high-profile events. Nikki Tibbles and her team have really gone to town this Christmas, creating a host of wreaths, garlands and tiny, decorated trees, all available for nationwide delivery. The cinnamon magic wreath made us look forward to Christmas as soon as we set our eyes on it. Decorated with whole oranges, dried orange slices, cinnamon and pine cones, it looks and smells divine. It comes in three sizes – small (£95), medium (£125) and large (£185).

Buy now £95.00, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart

Bloom & Wild festive forest wreath, 40cm

Type: Real

Decorated with silver poppy seed heads, golden pine cones and seasonal foliage, this beautiful wreath from online flower business Bloom & Wild brings the spirit of Christmas straight to your front door. Ours was well-packaged and came with a useful wreath-care guide to keep it fresh for as long as possible. It can be hung indoors too, as long as it is kept away from radiators and direct sunlight. For crafty types who’d rather decorate their own, Bloom & Wild also offers a DIY wreath kit, including a base, festive foliage, stems and lots of decorations. The company also sends mini Christmas trees through the post, complete with a pop-up pot and decorations.

Buy now £58.00, Bloom & Wild

Rockett St George fabulous gold eucalyptus style wreath, 50cm

Type: Artificial

Interiors emporium Rockett St George is admired for its distinctive look, which ranges from palm tree floor lamps and marble drinks trolleys to faux plants and leopard print oven gloves. This ultra-glamorous wreath features a melange of glittery gold eucalyptus leaves, and it put us in the Christmas mood as soon as we hung it on the door. It can be displayed outdoors but should be kept under cover so it isn’t exposed to the winter elements.

Buy now £35.00, Rockett St George

Arena Flowers luxury elegance wreath, 75cm

Type: Real

Arena Flowers prides itself on being “the UK’s most ethical florist”. The company works directly with Fairtrade farms, and for every bouquet customers buy, it promises to plant a tree in countries experiencing deforestation. This year it has produced a variety of wreaths at different prices. This mega-sized beauty features an abundance of winter foliage, including laurus nobilis, eucalyptus boule, eucalyptus populus, dried lavender and natural pine cones, all finished off with a soft grey ribbon. It’s a showstopper of a wreath and it smells delicious too.

Buy now £149.98, Arena Flowers

Bloom truly natural wreath, 30cm

Type: Real

Inspired by countryside walks, this wreath is a stunner – a combination of eucalyptus, lichen-adorned branches and pine cones on a base fashioned from nordmann fir spruce. Online flower delivery service Bloom was launched in November by celebrity florist Larry Walshe and prides itself on using natural, plastic-free materials (including packaging) and sustainable floristry techniques. Our wreath, with a hook on the reverse rather than ribbons, attracted loads of compliments from passers-by. It comes in three sizes – modest (£95), sumptuous (£120) and abundant (£145).

Buy now £95.00, Bloom

A by Amara glitter maple leaf and pinecone wreath, 50cm

Type: Artificial

Real wreaths look stunning but they’re often more expensive, need to be watered and only last a few weeks. If you want a wreath that will stand the test of time this one could be the answer. Stylish and elegant, it’s decorated with faux maple leaves and pinecones. For a Christmassy touch, the foliage is sprinkled with golden glitter that glows softly under the light. It’s suitable for indoors as well as outdoors.

Buy now £83.00, Amara

The Real Flower Company copper, plum and gold rose door wreath, 36cm

Type: Real

The Real Flower Company is based in Hampshire and specialises in creating bouquets and wreaths using seasonal and sustainable flowers, herbs and foliage grown on its farms. The copper, plum and gold rose wreath we tested is pretty and smells delightful. It reminded us of an English country garden, embellished with sweet-smelling roses, dried hydrangea, bracken, astrantia, scabious seed heads and twigs. The oasis base is biodegradable and if you water the wreath regularly it should last till Christmas and beyond.

Buy now £118.00, The Real Flower Company

Nkuku small talini wreath, 41cm

Type: Artificial

Devon-based Nkuku works with artisans across the world, using timeless designs, traditional skills and natural materials. This eye-catching brass wreath, made up of geometric shapes, can be used in a variety of ways. You can hang it on the door, display it in the centre of the table, keep it simple or adorn it with festive fairy lights and foliage. We tested the smaller wreath but it also comes in a larger size, both of which can be used again year after year.

Buy now £29.95, Nkuku

Interflora Christmas wreath, 30cm

Type: Real

Interflora is the largest flower delivery network in the UK. Its designs are crafted by local florists up and down the country and each arrangement is completely unique. Our wreath was made by Bouquet Florist in Wareham, Dorset and featured a dazzling array of red berries, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices and pine cones on a base of festive foliage, finished with a sumptuous burgundy bow. It was guaranteed to stay fresh for seven days or more, but with regular watering, ours lasted much longer than that.

Buy now £50.00, Interflora

Rose & Grey olive leaf wreath, 40cm

Type: Artificial

This gorgeous wreath is a perfect blend of the traditional and the contemporary. Its design harks back to the ancient Olympic Games when winners were crowned with wreaths of wild olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus, but the effect is chic and modern. Crafted in metal and adorned with pale green leaves and tiny olives, it could easily be used all year round. Suitable for indoor use only.

Buy now £32.00, Rose & Grey

Ronny Colbie ‘Love Actually’ wreath, 30cm

Type: Real

Ronny Colbie used to be the lead floral designer for the Soho House Group and now runs his own floristry business. This year he’s created a collection of wreaths inspired by movies like White Christmas, Frozen and Home Alone. We chose the Love Actually wreath and were very impressed with this glorious confection of ruby red hydrangeas, dried orange slices, gold-painted pine cones and festive berries, topped by a dark red velvet bow. The wreaths come in three sizes – 30cm (£55), 35cm (£75) and 40cm (£100) – and can be delivered nationwide.

Buy now £55.00, Ronny Colbie

Sarah Raven make your own wreath kit, 36cm

Type: DIY

For the personalised touch, why not make your own wreath? Sarah Raven’s excellent kit comes with a wire base, a bag of moss, wires to attach fruit and flowers, battery-operated LED lights and an easy-to-follow set of instructions (there’s also a video on the Sarah Raven website). Once you’ve padded out the frame with moss it’s time to go on a forage for colourful, decorative delights, such as bright-pink spindle berries, rosehips, hydrangeas and catkins. You can also add small oranges, red chillies, mini pumpkins – whatever takes your fancy.

Buy now £23.95, Sarah Raven

The verdict: Christmas wreaths

Florists and interiors brands have excelled themselves this year so we were hard-pressed to decide which wreath we liked best. For a beautiful, ultra-Christmassy wreath our top choice is Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart’s cinnamon magic wreath, but if you’re looking to spend less Bloom & Wild’s festive forest wreath is the bee’s knees. If you’d rather buy an artificial wreath, Rockett St George’s fabulous gold eucalyptus style wreath is ultra-glamorous and will bring a festive flourish to your door.

Yet to purchase your festive firs? Read our guide to the best real Christmas trees

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