brick cottage with evergreen and red ribbon Christmas decorations

Outdoor Christmas Decoration Ideas And Tips For 2021

Morgan McBride9-minute read
PUBLISHED: December 15, 2021 | UPDATED: December 02, 2022

The holiday season is a magical one. Decorating for Christmas is a way to transform your home into a winter wonderland and bring the holiday season to life for your family. Decorating your home’s exterior can be a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Here are a few outdoor Christmas decoration ideas and tips for 2021.

8 Christmas Ideas For The Front Porch

Decorating your front porch for the holiday season is a great idea. It’s the first thing that guests will see as they approach your home, and neighbors passing by will appreciate it too. Here are some Christmas porch decoration ideas.

1. Hang Christmas Wreaths On The Front Door

front door with wreath

An easy idea is to hang a Christmas wreath on your front door. This will draw attention to the doorway. Wreaths can be real or faux greenery. Consider buying a larger faux-greenery wreath that you can decorate with your own ornaments and mix up the colors and look each year.

Wreaths don’t have to be greenery. You can instead choose a grapevine wreath with natural elements, a wire wreath form covered in ball ornaments, or a foam wreath form covered with festive floral picks.

2. Outline The Door With Garland

holiday lights, garland and wreath on front door of white house

Another great way to get a classic Christmas look on your porch is to outline the front door with garland. Garland can be faux or real and looks great with white lights on it, too.

Lit garland looks great at night, but you can also add touches to make it look special during the day. The garland can be decorated with pinecones, berries and festive ribbon, which can brighten the entryway.

3. Wrap Garland Around Your Porch Bench And Rocking Chairs

garland wrapped around porch bench and rocking chairs

You can never have too much garland during the holidays. Carry the garland from around your door to your entire porch. If you have benches or chairs, wrap them in lights and garland or hang small wreaths on them. Or, hang garland on the railings or hand rails for a dramatic, all-encompassing look.

4. Add Hodgepodge Holiday Decor To Your Porch

house decorated in lights and inflatable snowman

Just like the ugly sweater, hodgepodge Christmas decorations are some of the holiday items that hold a special place in our hearts, even if they’re not “trendy.” These are the types of decorations that can make you feel like a kid again because they’re fun, festive and often sentimental.

To achieve this cherished look, blend classic holiday decorations with ones that show off your personality and humor.

There is no theme, per se; it’s more of a mix of your favorite holiday decorations, both new and old, in an assortment of mediums (inflatables, plastics, signs, ribbon, garland, etc.) paired with an abundance of Christmas lights in a variety of colors.

5. Place Outdoor Christmas Toys Around The Porch

house with Christmas decorations and sled on front porch near door

Placing old Christmas toys around the porch can give your space a cozy, nostalgic look. Sleds and wagons are both great examples of toys that give a space a perfect vintage look. They can be hung on porch walls or set on a table under a tabletop tree for a layered look.

6. Add Classic Christmas Decor To Your Porch

Classic Christmas decor on brick house with prominent front door

Of course, there’s no theme that beats the original, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a timeless Christmas display. This type of holiday decor is simple, elegant and steeped in tradition.

If you want your house to look like it came right off a Christmas card, stick with the classics: small, potted Christmas trees, white lights, red bows and wreaths and garland made of pine or balsam fir. Stick to the traditional colors, too, using a scheme of pine green, heart red and snow white.

7. Add A Rustic Seasonal Setting To The Area

rustic styled Christmas decorations including two Christmas trees

Rustic is a popular overall home decor style and its popularity has overflowed into the holidays. The rustic style incorporates raw elements like wood and stone and balances it with warm, cozy fabrics like flannel. The design has an earthy feel to it and will use more natural tones of tan and green, along with woven textiles.

Perfect the look with decorations made from natural woods and pinecones paired with burlap and flannel. Finish it off with presents wrapped in butcher paper. Since some of these decorations are not made to withstand harsh winter conditions, you may want to use them for decorating your porch and bring them inside on bad-weather days.

8. Visit To The North Pole

sign to visit north pole surrounded by snow and Christmas decorations

The North Pole and all of its inhabitants are often the things that make Christmas so magical. Bring the magic to your own front yard with outdoor holiday decor that makes it feel like you’re in Santa’s workshop. To transport your home to the northernmost point on Earth, deck your lawn with figurines of Santa, elves, reindeer, candy canes, snowmen, polar bears, penguins and signs welcoming visitors to the North Pole.

4 Decorating Ideas For Fences And Walkways

Decorating fences and walkways in your yard is a great way to highlight the beautiful features of your space and to add light and color throughout your outdoor space.

1. Hang Garland On Fences

Christmas garland with red bows hanging on white picket fence

Fences are an often-overlooked place to decorate. Consider hanging swags of garland in big loops along your fence posts. Or, wrap lights around the top beam of your fence to light up your property line. If you have a lot of fencing, this can really add a big impact to your yard – especially after dark!

2. Place Starlight Stakes Along The Walkway

starlight stakes along snowy pathway to house

Placing starlight stakes along the walkway will definitely draw attention to your house. There are lots of different festive stakes to choose from including oversized light bulbs or even miniature candy canes! Having lit walkways that feed right into lit up stair and porch railings really does make your home look lit up and beautiful for the holidays!

3. Add Walkway Christmas Trees Along The Sidewalk

Colorful Christmas trees along walkway to house

Another great idea is to line your walkways with miniature Christmas trees. These can be either small spiral trees made of lights, or miniature faux or real greenery trees. Lining your sidewalk or driveway with trees will instantly make your yard feel like an enchanted winter forest. Don’t forget the twinkle lights so the display looks great at night as well as during the day.

4. Include Glamour And Glitter Along The Walkway

front porch of house strewn with warm white Christmas lights and evergreen garlands with wreath on door

Some may argue that the December holidays are some of the most beautiful of all. With glistening snow, twinkling lights and a color scheme that includes silvers, golds, blues and dazzling whites, it can be hard to disagree.

Emphasize the glitz of Christmas with outdoor holiday decor that embraces glamour. Dress traditional Christmas decorations in the aforementioned color scheme, adding touches of glitter and shine. Soften the look without skipping the luxury by adding faux fur, white feather accents, plush teddy bears or fake snow.

6 Seasonal Outdoor Lighting Ideas

There are many different Christmas light ideas for decorating outdoors. From net lights to rope lights, the possibilities are endless!

1. Hang Christmas Lights Across The Roof And Down The Driveway

Christmas lights around roof and corners of house

For a dramatic but classic look, you can hang Christmas lights across your roof and down the driveway. Always use safety precautions when hanging lights on the roof. Houses with lights across the roofline are stunningly beautiful, so if you can safely do so, it is very dramatic.

2. Drape Icicle Lights Over The Fence

icicle lights hanging on fence when bicycle is leaning on fence

Icicle lights are strands of lights with short dangling strips that make the lights look like hanging icicles. These lights are usually used along the roofline. However, they also look very beautiful on fences! If you don’t want to brave walking on the roof, consider lighting up your fence for a similarly dramatic look.

3. Outline The Walkway With Lights

walkway to house outlines in lights

You can also outline your walkway or driveway with lights. Rope lights are perfect for this. If you prefer lights for bulbs, look for kits that include a stake for each bulb and stick with the lights with extra-large bulbs. White lights are a classic look, but jumbo colorful lights along the walkways are a great way to give your home gingerbread house vibes.

4. Wrap Trees In Lights

existing trees in yard wrapped with Christmas lights around branches and trunk

Another great way to add light to your yard is by wrapping trees in lights. If you have trees with unique branches, consider wrapping them with icicle style lights to really draw attention to their interesting shape. You can also shine spotlights up into trees to help to light them up with much less effort compared to wrapping each branch in string lights.

5. Place Lights On Bushes And Shrubs

Lights on bushes and shrubs in front of house

Another great place to add lights is in bushes or shrubs. Net-style lights make this an easy process. Once you have the net in place, take the time to adjust the placement of the strands within the branches so it doesn’t look quite so grid-like. Tuck the corners and edges into the bush to soften the square lines.

6. Wrap Porch Railings In String Lights

porch on cabin in the woods wrapped with Christmas string lights

Don’t forget to wrap your porch railings or columns in fairy lights! This will highlight your beautiful porch and light up the front of your home, drawing attention to any Christmas decorations you have on or around it.

Safety Tips For Christmas Decorating Outside

To prevent injury, fire or damage to your equipment or home, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions when installing your outdoor decorations. Here are a few tips:

  • Use fake candles instead of real ones.
  • Use unbreakable ornaments.
  • If decorations have poisonous plants, like poinsettias, consider replacing them with fake flowers or hang them out of reach of animals or children.
  • Turn everything off before you go to bed or leave for an extended period of time.
  • Use a firm, level ladder for hanging decorations on the roof and in the trees.
  • Plug outdoor decorations into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet.
  • Wear weather appropriate gear and take breaks inside if you’re decorating in freezing temps.
  • Follow all Christmas light safety tips, such as inspecting bulbs for damage and replacing old lights.

Helpful Pointers For Outdoor Decorating

Once you know how you’ll decorate the outside of your home, you’ll have to get to work to bring your ideas to life. And if professional installation isn’t in your budget, you’ll have to channel your inner Griswold and figure it out on your own. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help, including our outdoor decoration tips below.

1. Examine The House’s Exterior And Create A Plan

Before you waste time, money and your sanity, create a plan for your outdoor decorations. Choose a focal point and then use it to map out where you want each item to go. Measure wherever you’ll be hanging lights to make sure you have the right amount and length of strands.

Take inventory of what you already have and create a list of what you need (with measurements), so you can be fully equipped and prepared on decorating day. That way, you won’t have to pause right in the middle of it to run out and get more decorations. Nor will you waste money buying things you don’t end up using.

2. Budget For Your Shopping Supplies And Choose Your Decor

Christmas decorations aren’t cheap – especially in November. Shop early when possible to have the best selection. Consider reusing what you have in order to save money. It’s always good to check Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, and your local Buy Nothing group to see if others are unloading any of their old decor. You can help keep things out of the landfill and keep your Christmas decoration budget low by shopping secondhand!

3. Test Everything Before You Start Decorating

Inspect lights for damage and plug them in to make sure they work before you hang them. If you have a mix of different brands or types of bulb, turn all of your lights on together to see if the colors match up. You’d be surprised how many types of white lights there are: soft white, warm white, pure white and cool white, to name a few. And yes, you can tell the difference.

Along with that, incandescent bulbs are not as bright or clear (or energy-efficient) as LEDs, so the two will look different even if they’re the same color. Along with color, you’ll also want to make sure the movement of your lights matches, so check to see that you don’t have some lights that twinkle or flash and some that are stagnant.

Along with testing your lights, test your other decorations, too. Make sure your blow-up decorations actually inflate and any animated items are moving properly. Inspect everything for damage, missing pieces or anything else that may be a risk of fire or injury.

4. Prepare For Winter Weather

Almost every year, winter weather ends up on Santa’s naughty list, so always prepare for the worst. In addition to the usual winter preparations for the outside of your home, take down all decorations, especially blow-ups, so they don’t get taken away by strong gusts of wind. Use waterproof decorations or ones that have been approved for outdoor use. If you want to include non-weatherproof decorations, keep them in a sheltered space, like a covered porch, and bring them inside at night or whenever there’s snow, sleet or rain.

The Bottom Line

There are several outdoor Christmas decor styles to choose from, and they can all help to draw attention to your yard and enjoy a festive holiday season. Keep reading to discover more Christmas decoration ideas.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.