The concept of lighting up our homes’ exteriors with Christmas lights began in the 1940s and has since turned into a national obsession. Bold and dazzling or soft and subtle, sparkly lights are now one of many ways we Americans love to bedeck our outdoor spaces for the holidays.
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, winter is always a fun time to showcase your personality with outdoor décor. And while some of us relish installing a Clark Griswold-esque Christmas display to light up the neighborhood, decorating your outdoor space for the holidays doesn’t need to be big or stressful.
Here four festive ways to spruce up your outdoor space this winter season:
Start with Evergreens.
Nothing says “winter” more than a house swathed in garlands of fresh pine, cypress, juniper, boxwood, or eucalyptus evergreens. Use varying lengths of this hearty greenery to wrap porch columns, frame your front door, drape over your mailbox, embellish deck rails, and/or adorn outdoor tables. Garland made from artificial greens is beautiful too and can last for years!
Choose a few strategic places to weave into your garland some twinkly white exterior lights– or save time by using pre-lit artificial garland (make sure it’s marked “safe for outdoor use”). Lit garland looks beautiful and lends an element of safety when used around your front door and porch columns/railings. Remember – garland wrapped in lights doesn’t look nearly as pretty or natural during the day, so practice some restraint and keep a few strands au naturel. Have fun hanging lights in other areas of your outdoor spaces too. Screened-in porches are so fun illuminated in green and red globe lights, while pergolas, with their rows of horizontal railings, offer the perfect frame for draping colorful string lights. If you celebrate Hanukkah, lighted menorahs and Star of David lights will look even more special and festive outside.
Layer in Color.
Brilliant red poinsettias are an easy and inexpensive way to add vibrancy to your outdoor space. Arrange several on your front porch steps or pop different sized pots in a rustic wagon. Add color and texture to a patio or side porch with a container garden of seasonal branches, sprays of holly, white pine, dogwood branches, and red winter berries – wow! If you have window boxes, now is the time to put a winter spin to them with evergreens, eucalyptus, holly, and pine boughs.
Don’t relegate your winter décor to the same old outdoor spaces. Got an outdoor fireplace? Hang a big wreath over it and/or layer in some white lights. Break out the red flannel or white and blue velvet pillows to place on porch chairs. Wreaths aren’t just for those who celebrate Christmas – celebrate Hanukkah or winter with a wreath made from birch bark, white berries, and a blue or silver bow. Throw some colorful winter blankets around your firepit chairs and string lights on trees and shrubs. Oversized ornaments are also fun to hang on outside trees. Got a pair of antique skis or a pair of old-fashioned ice skates? So cute displayed on a side porch or against a barn!