‘Tis the season to be jolly and a sure way to get into the festive spirit is to dress up your home for the holidays. Fairy lights, lanterns, stars, Santa figurines: the possibilities are endless, so why would you stick to boring old boughs of holly? Here are 20 great ideas for outdoor Christmas decorations that will inspire you.
1. Chalk Drawings
Bring colour to the driveway, the sidewalk, the doorstep and the walls by drawing on them with chalk. It washes off easily, so it’s best to choose surfaces that are protected from rain and snow, unless you want to do a new drawing every day. The kids will love getting in on the act.
2. A Stylish Wreath
Instead of buying a plastic wreath, make your own with materials you can find in your garden. Bits of straw or supple twigs can form the base and then you can add dried flowers, berries or herbs. It will look most striking against a wall or door painted in a single, solid colour.
3. A Deconstructed Wreath
Who says a wreath has to be shaped like a circle? Deconstruct the traditional wreath by simply tying the materials you’d normally use – pine cones and needles, twigs, and so on – together in a single string. It will look great on a narrow strip of wall, for example beside the front door.
Hang some curtains in a festive colour, like deep red, at the entrance to your porch. This will create a warm, welcoming and dramatic look.
5. A Twig Tree
Make a miniature Christmas tree for the front porch by gluing together twigs in different lengths. You can leave it as is for a natural look or add some shiny decorations or lights.
6. Snowflake Light
For a striking outdoor light, make a frame of wire bent in the form of a snowflake. Then fasten a length of rope light to it and mount it on the wall.
7. Lit-Up Tree
If you have a bare tree in your garden, wind strings of lights around the trunk and every branch. At night you’ll be able to see the full shape of the tree. You’ll need lots and lots of lights and a sturdy ladder for this project.
8. “Present” Trees
Another way to dress up bare trees is to hang “presents” in them. Gift-wrap empty boxes and tie them to the branches. Alternatively, glue together colourful paper to form box shapes and use them to cover low-wattage light bulbs in the trees.
9. Log Reindeer
A great idea from HGTV real estate and DIY guru Scott McGillivray is to make reindeer out of logs and twigs. You can use one as a focal point or you can cover your lawn in a herd of these quirky critters.
10. Fabric Stars
Scraps of fabric can become wonderfully rustic-looking decorations and are so simple to stitch together that you can get the kids to help you. You can even make bigger ones that can double up as scatter cushions on the porch bench. Rice or lentils make great stuffing materials.
11. A Sea of Lanterns
Find a flat surface, like the driveway, and arrange a bunch of lanterns on it. The lanterns will provide a warm glow and will make it easier for Santa to spot your house.
12. Candy Canes
A fun way to use large candy cane decorations is to plant them around your flower beds. Don’t use real candy canes, though, or the elements will turn them into a sticky mess.
13. A Curtain of Stars
Cut star shapes in different sizes out of stiff cardboard. (It’s a great way to recycle cereal boxes.) You can also use old plastic containers or cans for this. Paint them gold or silver, string them together and you have a gorgeous beaded curtain.
14. Festive Window Boxes
Just because you don’t have a garden doesn’t mean you can’t decorate the exterior of your apartment. This time of year you probably won’t have much growing in your window boxes, so plant small saplings in them and decorate these with Christmas lights.
15. Little Santas
Find small figurines of Santa, his elves and maybe even his reindeer and place them in unexpected nooks and crannies around the house and garden. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy trying to find them all on Christmas day.
16. Decorations on Clothes Pegs
A simple way to get around putting up decorations without damaging the walls is to place lengths of string against the walls. Then you can simply use clothes pegs to hang your decorations from the string.
17. Wreaths and Lanterns
Wreaths don’t necessarily have to go on vertical surfaces. Put a wreath on a flat surface such as a wide railing and place a lantern in the middle for a striking way to provide outdoor lighting.
18. “Icicle” Lighting
Sometimes simple is best. And easiest. Drape fairy lights along the edges of roof overhangs. This creates the effect of icicles without the iciness.
19. A Ball of Lights
If you can’t bear the thought of trying to untangle the Christmas lights from last year, simply don’t bother. Instead, shape them into a ball or even a nest and hang this in a tree for a dramatic effect.
20. Go All Out
If the festive season isn’t the best time to go all out with the decorations, when is? Compete with the neighbours to see who can come up with the most over-the-top decorations. You can take things a step further too by syncing your lights to your favourite holiday tunes.