Many years ago when I was single and lived near the beach, I decided to go "simple and natural" with my holiday decorations and used shells to trim my Christmas tree. Wow - what a wonderful look! I looped red velvet ribbon through sand dollars and hung them as ornaments. Many of the clam and scallop shells I found on the beach already had small holes in them, so I slipped hooks through each shell and used them in place of balls. White shells against a green tree with a pop of red looked so festive in December.
After having children, I used lots of shiny balls and tinsel, but we made it a tradition to buy one beach-themed ornament each year on vacation to add to our tree. Now that the girls are older, I'm thinking of incorporating shells and other "found" natural decorations again. I've been looking through Pinterest for ideas on how to use shells, rope, greens and pinecones for garlands, wreaths and ornaments. I'd like to do a small tree like this one!
And I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't mention the decorations in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are the masters at using natural objects to make the most beautiful decorations. My daughter recently sent me this photo she took of a wreath on a door in Colonial Williamsburg. I'm glad to know my love of nature is rubbing off on another generation.