12 Outdoor Christmas Decorations to Make Your Home Festive and Bright
With a little wintry magic (and a staple gun and some spray paint), it's easy to turn inexpensive home-center supplies into dramatic, long-lasting decorations. Any of the ones from our editors are sure to make your front door, yard, or Christmas tree shine bright.
When you think about Christmas decorations, spending time with your family while choosing a fresh fir tree and adorning it with ornaments is probably at the top of your list. Finding festive knick-knacks for a warm sitting area, baubles for the kitchen and entryway, or even creating a fragrant evergreen wreath to embellish the walls could also be on your list. But don't be afraid to allow your sense of holiday spirit to carry you outside the front door—a little inspiration can go along way on the patio, in the front yard for your neighbors to enjoy, or even when creating a winter wonderland in the backyard.
There are so many Christmas décor staples that truly sparkle and shine outside of the home. From bright, warm lights to garlands and even second or third Christmas trees, these outdoor Christmas decorations are all designed to encourage any passerby to pause and behold the yuletide glee. While there's no one set amount of decorations you should aim for—after all, you know your space best. Whether you're looking to add subtle cheer or go all out, you'll be pleased to know that all of our decoration ideas can seamlessly blend into any existing landscape or stand all their own.
Take these handmade ribbon-candy ornaments as an example; they'd fit in among Christmas lights and garlands beautifully, but they can be made all their own as a singular festive greeting in your front yard. While this cheerful take on outdoor décor can be made to be as minuscule as you'd like, a few of our best ideas are larger than life and actually sprawl across the facade of your home. If you're hoping to be among the best-dressed houses in your neighborhood, we're sharing our favorite holiday crafts made to adorn your porch, the mailbox, and everywhere in between.
Inspired by ribbon candy, a trio of larger-than-life ornaments sets a sweet holiday tone. Strips of silver- and gold-toned flashing are drilled through and then woven back and forth along threaded rods, with painted wooden beads as separators. Hang them outdoors, where the sculptural beauties will withstand even the snowiest of winters.
Sprouting from the snow-covered ground like magic, these sculptures are made entirely from ice. Start by filling bowls and cups with water, leaving an inch of room at the top of each to give water enough room to expand; let freeze completely. Run hot water over the bottom of vessels until the ice pops out; then, place the bowl-shaped ice flat-side down on scrap wood. Wearing gloves, hold ice securely. Drill all the way through the center of the ice with a 1 1/2-inch boring bit, being careful not to let the ice slip away. (If top or bottom of cup-shaped ice is uneven, use the shaver to flatten.) Set cup-shaped ice outdoors, wide-side down. Set bowl-shaped ice "tops" flat-side down on "stems." Place tea lights inside bored holes for omniscient shine all evening long.
Metallic Bow Decoration
Santa sees plenty of aluminum flashing when making his rounds—it is often used on roofs to make seams watertight. The thin metal sheeting, sold in six-inch-wide rolls, is a natural choice for outdoor decorations, as it can stand up to the elements. Arrange loops of it together and screw them to a wooden base, creating a gleaming bow that looks uncannily like the stick-on ones sold by the bag. At two feet across, this one would have to go on one giant gift—or, more likely, on the wall or front door.
With scissors, cut five 32-inch and five 28-inch pieces of flashing. Roll each piece so the edge of the short horizontal side aligns with the vertical edge at the opposite end; line up two corners. Snip off excess at an angle where the two ends overlap. Roll flashing into a cone shape and secure its seam with tape. Position the larger loops on a wooden disk, spacing them evenly, with inner points facing the center of the disk. Pre-drill a hole into the inner point of each loop, then drill a 3/4-inch screw into each hole. Place smaller loops into the center of the disk. Drill a pilot hole at the inner point of each loop, then drill a 3/4-inch screw into each hole. With scissors, cut a 22-inch-long piece of flashing. Roll into a loop and secure with tape. Center that loop on a wooden cube and drill a 1 1/2-inch screw through the back of the disk into the cube.
Shop Now: Amerimax Aluminum Flashing, 6" by 50', $20.44, homedepot.com. Nashua Tape 322 Multipurpose HVAC Foil Tape, $8, homedepot.com. Unbranded Pine Edge Glued Wooden Round, 1" by 17 3/4", $5, homedepot.com. Woodworks Wooden Cube, 2", $1.50, craftparts.com.
Snow-People Lawn Ornaments
Aluminum flashing finds yet another way to shine, this time as the "snowballs" in this melt-proof metal pair. Threaded rods serve as sturdy spines and, when stuck into the frozen ground, keep the couple upright. A coat of spray paint on their magic hats makes this dandy duo come alive.
Following the assembly plan, cut flashing to the indicated lengths with scissors. Working on top of scrap wood, drill holes into the flashing according to the plan. Screw a hex nut onto the rod, turning it to move down the rod. Roll each piece of flashing so holes 1, 3, 5, and 7 align; secure with tape. Starting with the largest snowball, thread the rod through holes 1, 3, 5, and 7. Screw on a nut (to hold bottom of snowball down). Screw on another nut (to hold next section of flashing up), then thread rod through hole Add a nut by threading through hole 4. Add a nut, threading through hole 6. Repeat for remaining snowballs. Continue moving snowballs and nuts down the rod according to the plan. To make a hat: Cut flashing, spray-paint it, then drill and fold it according to the plan. Slide the rod through the bottom; add two nuts (one to hold up hat top, one to push down bottom). Slide the rod through the hat top; add nut.
Shop Now: Amerimax Aluminum Flashing, 6" by 50', $18, homedepot.com. Martha Stewart Gloss Finish Spray Paint & Primer, in Tartan Red, $8, michaels.com. Everbilt Zinc-Threaded Rod 3/8' by 72", $6.62, homedepot.com. Everbilt Zinc-Plated Hex Nuts, 3/8", $13.50 for 100, homedepot.com.
A graphic riff on the traditional round wreath, these eight-point stars are formed on simple bases made from wooden strips. Vary the sizes, and stagger the positions. You'll add charm across any plane, be it vertical or horizontal, interior or exterior.
When choosing cuttings, consider where you plan to display the stars. Cedar can withstand wintry weather, but its citrusy fragrance would also be appreciated indoors. Some greens, such as unparalleled universe rosemary, may turn brown in the cold and are better suited for use inside. You can also gather trimmings from your backyard. Pictured from the top: Rosemary, juniper, cedar, boxwood, and white spruce.
Outdoor Candle Lamps
Capturing all the coziness of candlelight on a grand scale, these lamps promise good tidings to all who pass. Though these oversize tapers look sophisticated, they're actually made with inexpensive supplies from the hardware store, plus a little paint and glitter for the dripping "wax." Arrange the lights in wreaths for a welcoming presentation (and to hide the candle's base).
"Winter Welcome" Window Cling
Greet visitors with graceful traceries of winter vines and fauna. The artwork is easy to create using our printable template, which comes in sections. Static holds the pieces in place on glass or mirrored surfaces without the need for adhesive, so you can reuse the snowy silhouette for years to come.
First, measure your door (depending on its size, you may need to scale the template up or down). Tape the sections together so you can see the entire pattern. Place vinyl paper-side down, and layer transfer paper on top; then layer the template over the transfer paper and tape in place. Using a pencil, trace the template onto the transfer paper. Flip the template over, and repeat the tracing process to create the opposite side of design. Cut out vinyl tracings with small scissors.
Clean the window, and let dry. Remove paper backing from vinyl and, working from the top, align sections on the glass. Trim or overlap vinyl pieces as needed to align neatly. Repeat the pattern lengthwise to fit the door. You can add extra pieces to fill. For the squirrel and bird forms, follow the steps outlined above. To store for future use, roll cutouts inside the leftover length of vinyl.
Galaxy on Terra Firma, Luminaria
Little stars get grounded. Illuminate a pathway with an array of mini Milky Ways cut into paper-bag luminarias. Though these candlelit outdoor lanterns look detailed, they are easy to make with the help of a large paper punch—keep the bags folded, and punch through all the layers. Then snip out a few larger stars randomly on each bag.
Everyone loves evergreens this time of year, when their vibrant color pops against gray winter skies. Create a winter forest in miniature to enjoy all year long by potting low-maintenance dwarf conifers. Unify a grouping by using limited color palettes for plants and pots. We paired conifers with a yellow-green hue and gray frost-proof pots made from lightweight concrete. Plant them in soil with good drainage, top-dress with mulch, and don't let them dry out. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, move them temporarily to an unheated, sheltered spot, such as a garage.
Shop Now: Iseli Nursery Colorful Conifers, inquire for pricing, iselinursery.com. Habit + Form Galvanized Rectangle Tray, in Black, $14, shopterrain.com. AFloral Whitewashed Wooden Planter, $6.25, afloral.com.
Hanging Basket with Winter Birds
Creating this charming perch is as elementary as gathering branches in your own backyard. We filled a wall basket with boughs of white pine that we flocked with decorative snow ray, then affixed already-wired faux birds between the needles. To give more fine-feathered friends a place to land, anchor a larger fallen limb in a doorside urn or pot filled with pebbles.
Laurel and Silver Poinsettias Decoration
Set aside the idea that every wreath needs to be circular; it can certainly start out that way... and then trail off. We secured laurel branches around a small wreath frame using green floral wire, and punctuated the leaves with silver faux-poinsettias. Mount it and wire more laurel onto the bottom of the wreath, tapering the shape as you work down the door. Then add more blooms or ornaments for shine. Like magnolia leaves, laurel is hardy, so this stunner will last all season.
Shop Now: Phoenix Silk Silver Christmas Poinsettia Bush Artificial Silk Flowers, $13.65, amazon.com. Ashland Wire Wreath Frame, 12", $3.69, michaels.com. Northlight Shiny Silver Splendor Shatterproof Christmas Ball Ornaments, 2 1/2", homedepot.com.
Ombré Bells Swag
New York City floral-design team Putnam & Putnam turned what’s essentially throwaway material—a clipping from the base of a Christmas tree—into this modern masterpiece. They inverted the triangular branch and wired on clusters of jingle bells in muted shades of green, gold, and red. Top the mini tree with a broad satin bow; its wide tails will protect your door from any possible scratches.