How to make your own seasonal Latvian decorations

If your tinsel is sagging, your candles are crumbling and that box of seasonal decorations you keep on top of the closet looks like it needs a kick in the baubles, help is at hand! More fun, more beautiful (and much cheaper for any yuletide Scrooges) is making your own traditional Latvian decorations.

Pride of place goes to the 'puzurs' (or sometimes 'puzuris'), a unique geometric shape that, according to your preference and how complicated you make it, is an unusual and eye-catching decoration, a symbol with mystical powers, or a sort of map of the cosmos.

Needed: Long needle, woollen or linen thread, reeds/straw/sedge, colored yarn, dried flowers and leaves (optional).

Preparation: Leaves are removed from the plants, and knots and blockages are carefully cut out so they are hollow. The material is cut into regular sizes. Each size requires at least 12 straws.

A thread is threaded into the needle, and the straws are twisted onto the thread, forming a shape. The base can be a quadrilateral or a triangle, then cover with straws and form the desired shape.

In the corners of the puzuris, you can attach bouquets of leaves, dry flowers, or decorations made of colored yarn. The finished puzurs is hung in the air on a long string so that there is enough space for it to rotate as it desires.

Here is a video tutorial to make the whole thing a bit clearer, courtesy of Swedbank:


Still perplexed by the puzurs? No problem, here is our favorite YouTuber, Anete Germane, with her own masterclass.

Latvian State Forests is also here with a way of ditching the plastic from your decorations.

The publicly-owned foresty company has produced a series of very short but very good videos showing you how to make beautiful seasonal decorations of your own using natural materials. They are in Latvian, but you don't need to know the language to be able to understand thanks to the clarity of the expert demonstrations.

First up we have a Christmas star using pine cones, pine sprigs and a glue gun.

Perhaps even better is this variant below, which uses a few zig-zag branches to make a different star shape.

Now that you've got the hang of it, you can have a go at these pine baubles.

And now your confidence level is high, do you think you can manage this grand project: a complete winter forest scene?

As ever, take care when using Christmas decorations. The State Fire and Rescue Service has to answer calls every year in which decorations have caught fire, and issues an annual reminder to keep naked flames away from Christmas trees and wreaths. If your celebration does end in conflagration, the number to call is 112.

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