My Christmas decorating motto for the yard is: if you can see it you should decorate it. Whether it’s along the path you walk from your car or from the inside of your kitchen looking out, stick a tree, swag, garland or lights on it. It’s Christmas. There’s no such thing as going overboard.
If you have snow, you have a head start on decorating outside for Christmas. For everyone else? You’ve gotta put in some effort to make your yard look Christmasy.
I love going for walks around my neighbourhood this time of year looking at the houses with the massive inflatable snowmen they picked up at Costco while buying a 72 pound jar of olives. The houses dripping in lights, flashing nativity scenes and Santa Clauses are my favourites to look at.
But I don’t want that for my house.
For one thing I don’t have a lot of room to store outdoor Christmas decorations throughout the year and for another, I have a house built in 1840 so I like to decorate a little more old fashioned. Like the old fashioned Buddha you can see on my porch above (cough cough).
So how can you decorate outdoors for little money and without having to store a bunch of stuff all year?
Natural elements and mini lights.
Ideas for Outdoor Christmas Decorating
- Spray your windows with fake snow. Seriously. This old school technique is cheap and looks great. Spray it in the shape of a drift like you see in the first photo in the post.
- Only spray fake snow if you live in an area that actually gets snow!
- Use pinecones. Run around grab them, then add them to planters, garland and porches.
- Mini lights, mini lights, mini lights. The tiny LED lights on copper strings are my favourite lights right now. There are plugin versions as well as waterproof battery operated versions with timers. They’re great for putting on things that don’t have a plug nearby.
I’ve been buying these same copper wire lights from Amazon for years. I have 6 sets now. What makes them better than almost any other copper wire lights you can buy is the fact that they work with “C” cell batteries, NOT AA. It means the lights are brighter and they last much longer without having to change the batteries. You’ll easily go a whole Christmas season with these lights coming on and going off automatically with them.
- Add wreaths to anything outside that you look out at often. For me that’s my chicken coop when I walk in my back gate and my potting shed.
- If you’re a traditionalist swag garland over your door. If you’re more contemporary drape them down garden obelisks. Don’t happen to own garden obelisks? Turn a tomato cage upside down on a planter and use that as your form. It looks nicer than it sounds. Honestly.
- Baskets or stacks of firewood by your doorways immediately give a cozy Christmassy feeling too. It doesn’t really matter whether you have a fireplace or not. I mean, it’s the thought that counts, right?
- Burlap ribbon. The cheapest way to do burlap bows is to buy burlap that’s meant for covering up trees from a garden centre and just cutting it into wide strips. By doing this you can make the bows as big and wide as you want. Mine below had taken a bit of a pummelling after an ice storm.
- Steal, grab and chop from within your own yard. Cedar branches, twigs from fallen branches, rose hips, and branches with berries can be made into swags, wreaths, or filler for planters. Just tying them in a bundle and leaving them on a table or chair by the door looks great too.
- Decorate the areas outside that you can see from the windows of your house.
- I spend a lot of time in my kitchen so I make sure everything I see in my backyard from my kitchen window looks Christmasy. It makes me happy.
- This one’s more over the top but if you have the room fill your yard with little trees with lights. I seem to have collected a bunch from Ikea over the years and threw some battery operated copper wire lights on them.
- Go to thrift stores. I got the skiis in the back of this photo, leaning on the shed for a few dollars at my local thrift store. Skiis are easy to store because they’re so skinny. And if you don’t like the colour of them, don’t worry about it, you can just spray paint them.
People automatically assume that if you’re in Canada you have a white Christmas, but where I am in Southern Ontario, there’s actually very little chance of a white Christmas, and if there is snow, it’s usually just a dusting. Of course, it didn’t used to be this way, “When I was a kid … ” and all that.
But in 2013 there was snow. A dusting fell early in December, but that was eclipsed by a major storm that rolled into Ontario from the United States at 2:00 p.m. on December 20th. The ice storm pummelled the province from December 20th to the 22nd, with some cities getting 3 inches of ice and others getting over a foot of snow.
The storm had me seriously regret not making more of an effort to pick up my snow blower from where I store it. Instead I experimented with making a snowblower out of 3 hairdryers, a pile of rope and a remote control Tonka truck. It was an unsuccessful experiment.
I took these photos in 2013 just days before the storm arrived. That wood you see me gathering got me through the storm. Well, not that single armful, many armfuls. I’d go outside in the freezing cold, shovel, shovel, shovel … then come inside, strip my wet mitts and hat off and sit by the fire until I dried out. Then an hour later, I’d do it all over again, punctuating every other trip with a hot dog roasted on the fire. Come to think of it, it was actually the hot dogs that got me through the storm.
- Well those and the olives. Obviously.