Traditional Outdoor Christmas Decoration Ideas

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Many homes include as much Christmas decorations outside as they do inside for the holiday season, primarily using lighting to create beautiful displays. Use this guide to create your own traditional, outdoor, Christmas decorations.


Create a welcoming display for guests in your front entryway.

  • Because outdoor seating is often unused during the winter, you can turn benches and chairs into display areas. Line them with large pinecones, pine boughs and even ornaments. If they are near an electrical outlet, drape them with a string of white lights.
  • Fill large planters near your front door with pine boughs, branches and cranberries. Use Christmas colored ornaments in place of flowers.
  • Place small pine trees in planters on either side of your front door, and decorate like your indoor Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. You can even wrap small empty boxes to resemble presents and set beneath the trees.
  • Wrap porch railings with plane pine garlands, or combine with lights and ornaments.
  • Tie large, red or green bows on the end of entryway stair railings, and above posts along porch railings.
  • Attach wreaths or bows to the bottom of sconce lighting on either side of your front door.
  • If your home has lantern style lighting, and the lantern can be easily opened, place small pine boughs and pinecones inside, around the base of the light bulb. Just be sure none of the décor actually touches the light bulb to prevent a fire hazard.
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Trees & Bushes

Many homes use trees as a part of their landscaping, tying in perfectly with traditional Christmas decorating. Use lights and accessories on the trees in your yard for a beautiful seasonal display. Always to be sure to check your string lights are certified for outdoor use.

  • Encircle the trunks and branches of large trees with white lights. For bright, solid lighting, leave little to no space between each layer of lights.
  • For a more subtle look, gently drape white lights through the leaves of a large tree.
  • If you have pine trees in your yard, wrap them with colored string lights like your indoor Christmas tree.
  • Use traditional Christmas ornaments to hang from the trees in your yard for a pop of color. Just be sure not to use any ornaments you don't want getting wet or damaged by bad weather.
  • Many stores sell string lights connected in a netting pattern, made for draping over bushes. These easily surround and entire bush with an even pattern of lights.


Another popular use for outdoor lighting during the holidays is hanging a string of lights from the trim of your home.

  • Use nails or a staple gun to secure string lights to edge of your home's roof. White or multicolored lights both look nice, and fit with a traditional Christmas theme.
  • Icicle string lights are designed to mimic the look of large icicles hanging from your roof. These lights typically come in white or blue shades, and are becoming increasingly popular in outdoor Christmas displays. Because icicle lights are larger than traditional string lights, use them sparingly to moderately to avoid making your home's exterior looking cluttered.
  • For added color, hang red or green ornaments from strings of lights attached to the edge of your roof.
  • If you have moderate to light weather during the winter in your region, consider lining your home's trim with a lighted garland.


Some homeowners like to celebrate the Christmas season with rooftop displays featuring Santa Clause and reindeer and even a sleigh.

  • Always use caution when working on your roof. Ensure you have the proper safety equipment, and never go on your roof without alerting someone to what you are doing, and that you may require assistance.
  • Use caution when using electrical extension cords to supply power to rooftop displays, and make sure all cords are free of obstructions and flammable materials.
  • Keep rooftop displays small to moderately-sized for a classic Christmas look, without appearing cluttered.


Decorating your walkways for Christmas is a beautiful way to celebrate the season, and increase lighting for the safety of your friends and family.

  • If you already have small light fixtures lining your walkways, wrap short sections of garland around the base of each light. Garnish with pinecones and cranberries.
  • Place a flameless LED candle inside a large glass hurricane candleholder (plastic for very cold regions). Fill the base of the hurricane candleholder with fake snow from a craft store, pinecones, cranberries, pine boughs and other traditional Christmas décor. Line your walkway with the Christmas candleholders for soft, festive light guiding your guests to the front door.
  • If you have square shrubs lining your walkways, wrap large ribbons around them, and tie with a bow to resemble a Christmas present.
  • In cold regions, fill large metal buckets (painted white, red or left silver) full with snow, then place hurricane candleholders inside. Set a flameless LED candle in the holder for slightly elevated walkway light.
Last Updated: October 25, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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