I feel like it was such a short time ago I was anxiously writing about spring gardening, it is hard to believe we have made it to December and true winter is just a few weeks away. Despite the bitter cold, howling winds, and difficult travel — OK, I will stop — undoubtedly the brightest time of the winter is the holidays. Otherwise dark streets by night are illuminated and transformed by decorative lights in all colors, doorways are bedecked in greenery and ribbon, and trees shine from inside packed to the gills with family mementos. While I do love the freedom of summer warmth, my absolute favorite time of the year is December. This special time of year is made even more special by using natural materials in your dÃ©cor. As soon as I was old enough to hijack my family holidays, I pawned the cumbersome, dusty artificial off on a family friend and proclaimed we would only have real trees from this point on.