Outdoor Christmas Decoration Ideas.

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.
ShedIf 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?

                Back Door

              • 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.
              •  Chickens
              • 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.
Outdoor Christmas Decoration Ideas.


  1. Erika says:

    Is there an easy explanation of how to keep your chickens when there is a lot of snow? I’m in Massachusetts and we have a LOT of snow on the ground (at this point, probably a foot at least). I want to get chickens, but I have no idea what I’d do to take care of them if there is a storm! Do you keep them in the coop and then when the snow stops shovel out their run? This is probably one of the largest factors that is holding me back right now so I’d love to learn the solution!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erika – If you’ve seen the post on my coop you know that my coop includes their upstairs sleeping quarters and nesting box, while the entire first floor is a run for them that’s screened in with chicken wire. When there’s too much snow outside the chickens just stay in their run all day. They don’t mind the cold, or a bit of snow even, but when the snow is deep they don’t like it. They’re fine running around inside. Just be sure to give them the odd head of lettuce or cauliflower or anything else to peck at and keep them occupied. ~ karen!

  2. viveka says:

    You have really Christmas in your heart – love your place .. so welcoming.

  3. Barbie says:

    …The picture where your carrying the wood in your red coat….I see a wreath on the shed….did you make it? It’s really nice…love the way it looks on there! All your shots are really inviting. Good job Karen.

  4. Ella says:

    Ooops, I meant “enchanted”!

  5. Ella says:


  6. Jeannie B says:

    Karen, your home is charming. Have a lovely Christmas.

  7. Debbie says:

    Even with no kitchen you still made a wonderful Christmas in your home anyway. Good for you. Happy Holidays

  8. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Gosh Honey..why don’t you load up one of those truck dolly thingys to haul more wood to the house at one time?? Of course you are so tiny that you probably wouldn’t be able to push or pull it then..of course I shouldn’t say that maybe you couldn’t do something cause then you will be determined to do it….lol..never mind..We got 8″ in that storm and then another 2″ on top of that..and below freezing temperatures..Thank goodness for buying online because I don’t want to leave the house lately..Well the outside is as beautiful as the inside as I suspected it would be..That first picture is magazine worthy..I would love to have your porch and I love wicker..Stay warm girlfriend!

  9. Leslie says:

    It is so lovely. I can’t imagine ever having the resources to decorate for a holiday … I cannot manage to decorate for every day. What you’ve done for “just” Christmas is unfathomable.

  10. Kathy Hartzell says:


    Nearly spit my daily 2Tbsp of flax fiber cerel all over the iPad reading that comment from Ms ” poops under branches” gal! First I wondered if you really moderate these, then I found my fingers tapping this note. Go figure. Cat litter, sweetheart, cat litter!! If you can deal with the remains of your digestion under the trees after the thaw, you can deal with deposits of cat litter that you store there til after the thaw. Not the clumping kind but the cheap, sanitizes the trash can type. I teach disaster preparedness here in balmy Califrna and it is a closely guarded secret…that and sawdust/shavings in the pee bucket, saves on the splash and well, just makes the daylight bucket hauling easier!!!

  11. NikiDee says:

    Beautiful! Again, I am inspired for my next year decor. However….out of all those photos – which one do I focus all my attention on? Which shot makes the hair on my arms bristle (I’d say hair on my back but: TMI)…the last shot that includes that DIVINE lampshade. How? Where? When? Did I miss the post? True love.

  12. Jennifer says:

    So lovely! Great pics! Hey, Karen I made this fabulous fire wood stacking thingy! Not a screw/nail used to make it! Plus it holds tons of wood! Thought I’d pass the idea along to you. http://www.instructables.com/id/No-tools-firewood-rack/ I used T posts for the sides since I have so many. Stay warm! Shall I whip your girls up some nice warm fleece chicken jackets?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer! I’ve actually taken to a traditional way of stacking where you stack boxes of wood on the side of your pile basically. I was going to do a post on it. But I *will* take a look at your instructable. ~ karen!

  13. Erica O says:

    Based on your failed snowblower experiment, I see the potential for another sort of column: Experiment Fails.
    There will need to be pictures, of course.

    But, for serious, that little beginning snow looks beautiful on the shed windows.

    I hope the chickens are staying warm! Did you have to tie a rope from your back door to the chicken coop (to follow through the blizzard) so you could go out every few hours to break the ice on their water? Or do they have heated water? Were they in there playing poker and smoking cigars (not a good idea around hay), laughing at you as you freeze your butt off gathering wood to roast hot dogs? Chickens are sometimes very mocking.

  14. Elaine says:

    Your home is beautiful and so inviting.

  15. Amy Watson says:

    Karen, I have not followed you for very long, and have NEVER been a ” blog” person, but I just love your blog, your sense of humor is very much like mine, and l love….love…..love your house and chickens and chicken coop, being a South Georgia gal transplanted here in Fl. for a few years, I have met a few Canadians, and l think you are really a Southerner underneath, l mean with the chickens and bacon and cussing like a sailor, you would fit right in, just sayin’. :)

  16. Lynn says:

    Unbelievably gorgeous… (quite like you). Please tell me you “painted” the snow on the windows of the coop. If not, Jack Frost has a crush on you.

  17. Anna Starner says:

    I love your outdoor decor. How about a little info on the trellis with the greens and lights? I would also take a visit next November and you could show me how in person. I guess out figured out I love the trellis with the lights and garland (is that what you used?) and will be copying them here in Central PA next year.

    • Karen says:

      Those are obelisques from the summertime. I just put them in my planters and ran fresh garland down each of the tines. Then I ran tiny lights over them. Voila! Done. ~ karen!

  18. Sherri Hanigan says:

    Here in eastern Nebraska we’re scheduled for some freezing rain tonight, which is my least favorite form of winter weather. Give me 6-12″ of snow instead with gale force winds instead and I would be a happy woman. Icy rain collects on the power lines and when they grow heavy we have power outages. We live in a rural area and have our own well. No electricity means no running water and no forced air heat. That means I have to pee in a bucket holding layers of clothing out of the way and poop under a low-hanging branch on one of our trees. I don’t like pooping outside so I tend to avoid it as long as possible, which means I have a tendency to get “backed up” until the power goes back on. We’ve been without power for as long as three days. That’s a long time with no pooping. The aftermath is not pleasant and, at my age, it takes days to get the old plumbing moving freely (I’m still talking about pooping, folks). So…take this icy weather and shove it! Not you, Karen. I don’t want you to shove anything. In fact, forget I used that phrase at all. I’ve read your blog long enough to know that once an idea is planted in your head, you will eventually bring it to fruition. No shoving anything, please. I don’t want you to get hurt. If you get hurt, you might have to skip writing your blog posts for a while and I couldn’t take that. Not with this impending freezing rain. Really.

    • Karen says:

      Hmmm … shove it … that’s got me to thinking … Yup! It seems dangerous but I’M GONNA TRY IT! Thanks Sherri! Wish me luck! ~ karen

  19. Sally A. says:

    I am in Green Bay, Wisconsin…supposed to be flying to Texas on Monday…right in the middle of the storm you’re probably talking about! Yippee.

    Your home is GEORGEOUS! I love it!!

  20. Feral Turtle says:

    I love your yard. When I get my own chickens, I am going to decorate their pen too. I just get tired of all the skunks that seem to go hand in hand with chickens here…..which makes me rethink my decision of getting chickens again :( Anyways glad you fared your storm okay. We had another burst yesterday here in southern Alberta. I love winter but come on!!

  21. Ev says:

    Nice that you gave the girls their own wreath! Maybe hung lower and made out of field corn on the cob would be nice for Christmas morn. Don’t forget to be with them at midnight on Christmas eve-that’s when animals talk, you know. ‘Course, your girls prob talk with you a lot already! Nice pics, thanks.

  22. Deb J says:

    I was surprised to see your wood pile all willy-nilly. Waaaay back when I first discovered you I made my first ever comment on ANY blog to your post about stacking wood. You had just bought some plastic forms that hold 2×4’s. Where did they go? Or did the kitchen reno overtake the wood stacking? Certainly would in my house! Love the decorations by the way. I’m pretty good inside but get lazy outside. Front door/step, some lights – and here in Ottawa – often feet and feet of snow!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Deb J – The wood had only been delivered a day earlier. I got it moved from the road to the backyard and the next step was stacking it. It’s almost stacked now, and more is arriving on the weekend. :) ~ karen!

  23. Kelly says:

    we live in London On, where we had a 73 cm dump on the last Sunday in November followed by another 20 or so the following Wed. What was fun about that one was hearing from coworkers who live 20 minutes to the south or west that they got NOTHING. After that, the regular 25 cm seems like, well, chicken feed even if you can’t see the chickens. And I suspect Victoria thinking the snow is beautiful means she LIVES in Victoria and doesn’t have to shove.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah. London is in a bit of a funny location isn’t it. It’s at the centre of all systems. They call this general area the snow belt, so I guess London would be the snow belt buckle. ~ karen

  24. Rose says:

    Your place looks so beautiful. Lovely vignettes all over the place! That’s gotta be fake snow on the window panes of the shed. Should be in a magazine.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Rose! And yup. That’s fake snow. I put it on the panes for fun and I actually really like it. I’m not sure if you’re kidding about the magazine spread or not, lol. You see, I did a post on Monday announcing that Canadian Living magazine was coming to shoot the inside and outside of my house for their December 2014 Christmas issue. ~ karen!

  25. korrine says:

    Love it. Love you. Love it all!

  26. Maggie V says:

    Your place looks lovely Karen. Great job. We have tons of snow here on Buckhorn Lake. Heading to Fundas for Christmas sure hope your snow lasts. I love a white Christmas.

  27. what’s that black shade like thing hanging from a tree in the last pic?

    • Karen says:

      It’s a solar light. When it’s turned on it creates a big glowing circle on the snow. In the summertime it’s over the centre of my big outdoor table. ~ karen!

  28. KimC says:

    You have a beautiful outdoor oasis there. From your photos it really looks like a country Christmas scene not an urban neighbouhood! I need you to come out to our little acre in the woods and make it as peacefully festive. Just gorgeous. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas Karen.

  29. Ruth says:


  30. Reg says:

    Beautiful. I love the elegant simplicity of the displays.

    About that last snow fall. After the driveway is cleared, sometime in the middle of the night the snow plough comes by and leaves an enormous pile worthy of being dubbed a glacier. A pickaxe comes in handy.

  31. Jody says:

    Everything looks so festive. I love when people/you decorate the public areas of a home and the private areas that only the home owners get to enjoy. (that kinda sounds weird, but I’m sure you know what I mean)
    What do you do with your pond and fish over the winter? From the photo it looks like the water is still water and not ice.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jody – I keep a pump running in the pond so the constant swirling water keeps it from freezing, so the fish just go into their weird little fish hibernation thing at the bottom of the pond and they’re fine. ~ karen!

  32. Rondina says:

    This is the great snowstorm of 2013? I’m in North Texas and got 2.5 inches of ICE. Not snow—ICE. I stocked up on food while the storm began and we were trapped inside for five days. As far as my memory recollects, we have never experienced such a thing. And no pictures of the house. It was a skating rink out there. On day four I took a flat-edged shovel and broke a foot-wide path to the garage and the car. It think it odd that you are in Canada and your normal winter looks very much like mine most of the time.

    The front porch is beautiful, especially the chair. I’ve decided that I need to plant holly. Down here pine wreaths, cedar branches, and holly for decorating are wildly expensive. Two branches of birch wood for $20? No way. Did you make the pillars to hold up the pine garland yourself? Those can be very expensive also.

    It was good to see our friends, the chickens. That gate is still one of my favorite ideas that you have had. Good luck during the shoot.

    • Karen says:

      Rondina – Oh no … these pictures were taken well before the storm hit. :) There’s currently a foot of snow outside and another few inches coming, just ahead of ANOTHER storm which apparently is going to bring 2 days of freezing rain. So don’t worry, lol. I heard about YOUR storm on the news by the way. It was terrible! ~ karen

  33. mia pratt says:

    Beautiful home, Karen. Stay warm and merry on this Christmas, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Rest up good honey, because spring is just around the corner and the local men have just been biding the appropriate period of civility before they start dropping courtship gifts off on your front porch…bird houses, bottles of homemade wine, photos of himself without a shirt on…a shawl mommy made for his new intended…er, you may need to install some electronic devices, nothing too extreme, perhaps a video cam just for a little help differentiating the hunky well intended from the borderline nuts. Cuz you’re a beautiful woman and an exceptional human being…Cheers!

  34. Laura Bee says:

    Lovely, your front porch is always my favourite. From the trees down to your floor mat!
    I have the weekend off and all my shopping done – hunkering down & crocheting a few last gifts and building a fort with my kid. Did you stock up on potato chips yet?

  35. Carol says:

    I want to live at your house :) but only for Christmas. It’s so beautiful, with and without Christmas magic. After that, I’d have to come back to Florida because my thin blood can’t take the cold. Can’t wait for the magazine spread.

  36. Bre says:

    Beautiful, inside and out. You and your Christmas house! Our fireplace has been on bust for the last week with the weather we’ve been having. Snow and then rain. It’s like shovelling porridge or cement, depending on how long you wait to go out and shovel.

  37. molly says:

    I love the earthiness of your decor, so welcoming and warm. Even the front porch looks inviting to stop & sit a spell, except that I know it’s bloody cold. From what sort of establishment do you acquire your burlap? Surely not an expensive crafty spot targeting interior designers. Farm or garden supply? Thanks. Merry Christmas, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Molly – The burlap is from my local garden store. 50 cents a foot or something like that … and it’s really wide. Good deal. ~ karen!

      • sera says:

        Oooh. I wonder if I can get burlap at MY garden store…

        I love your front porch, Karen! And I too was thinking, who’s going to sit out there in the cold? Funny thing is, I put a wreath on my door and lights up to the front porch, but lately I’ve been going in through the basement door (shorter route to the kitchen). I guess I’m going to have to take some pictures to appreciate my work. I think I still have a broken light string and 10,000 pine needles on my porch too, so I’ll have to clean up before taking those pictures.

        I guess that’s why I have dinner parties – to clean up. Maybe if I was dedicated to posting pictures of my lovely house, I’d have to make my house lovely more often. Hmm… I’ll have to think about that.

  38. I used to believe that snow, like paint, could cover a multitude of sins. Now I’ve reached the venerable age when I start to shudder at mere photos of the white stuff. Thank goodness for neighbours (and the fact that our region of the Maritimes was spared the worst of the last three storms :) Merry Everything to you and all your readers, Karen, from northeastern New Brunswick!

  39. SK Farm Girl says:

    Living in the geographical center of Saskatchewan (which to many delusional folks is the far, far north where the Polar bears roam, Igloos are our digs and the preferred mode of transportation is dog-sled – NOT) I try my best to sympathize with you and your ON snow storm. There is a little, tiny bit of me that feels sorry for you and your snowy dilemma . . . Itsy, teeny, weeny, tiny bit – not a lick more! You see it’s been a bitch of a winter for SK thus far – temperatures plummeting in the minus 30 range, with a wind that blows up your skirt that equals anywhere from minus 40 to minus 50 and snowstorms dumping inches upon inches of snow – clearly not a good winter to go panty-less in my apron and Little-House-on-the-Prairie-style dress! I am so over winter – blech, blech, blech!!! S0 to console you and me – did I mention I was narcissistic – I have the ultimate solution! I will move to ON to be your roomy! I will haul the wood in the blustery snowstorm. I will shovel your driveway. I will dutifully “unsnow” the chickens after the storms. I would gladly do all that just to endure ON winter vs. SK winter! Yes! All that if you just let me sit on your front porch, swill wine with your Ma and occasionally let me roast hot dogs on the fire with you! Oh, and I promise to wear panties under my skirt! Cheers!

  40. shuckclod says:

    The yard looks great. I can not have anything on the porch. The wind will take it away or the deer will eat it. Yes, they do walk on my porch.

  41. Jane says:

    Love all your natural decorations…beautiful!! It just looks so inviting! And that was just the right amount of snow in the pictures…..but a foot??? Not so much! Merry Christmas Karen !

  42. Stephbo says:

    Your place is gorgeous! I have to admit though I was very worried about the chickens. Are they okay in the snow? Feel free to send all of your extra snow to me here in Decatur, Georgia. We never get any

  43. Mike says:

    My outdoor Christmas decorations are a single gourd that got moved from dining table to stoop when I decided fall was over. I’m amazing.

  44. Bernard Bryant says:

    Where are the pictures of the great Tonka Truck experiment?

    Or will that be the subject for tonight/tomorrow morning ???

    • Karen says:

      LOL. It has been retired only to be resurrected under the most dire of circumstances. ~ karen

      • Bernard Bryant says:

        Would 2 feet of fresh snowfall and record low temperatures be considered “dire” enough for said resurrection? I’m just looking for a glimmer of hope to see the big-yellow-truck- contraption-thing-a-ma-bob You devised.

        Perhapos I should just get a hobby.

  45. victoria says:

    It’s all beautiful!! What kind of tree is that in the last picture (with you pictured) ?

  46. Grammy says:

    I’m not good with snow. Don’t like to be in it. But the amount of snow in your pictures is exactly the correct amount of snow everyone should get at Christmastime. Beautiful. Perfect. Your outdoor decorations are scrumptious. Instead of being jealous, I’ve decided to be magnanimous and wish you a Merry Christmas. Under all that new snow I don’t have to see or shovel. Ho ho ho!

  47. Jean Thomson says:

    Are you terrific or what! Love you! We store our wood in the garage…it’s a pain!…but we also have some in the cellar…for those nights when we just can’t face going out in the snow/wind/cold. Love from Maine!

  48. Jebberjay says:

    Gorgeous decorations. You have mighty fine taste, Karen B. :-)

  49. Marti says:

    God bless that neighbor! Where are the mitts? I was about to ask if you had tan coloured (<—Ca spelling) gloves, but then you said "mitts" and I thought "Oh no! KB is shivering in the cold and probably got her fingers stuck on her Tonka truck."

    Thank heaven for that neighbor…

  50. Lesley Williamson says:

    Your place looks beautiful! If you need some snow over Christmas let me know – be glad to ship some down from Midland. I have already run out of places to put it. Seriously. Just ask.

    • Karen says:

      Hah! No. NO. I’m currently looking at about a foot of snow. And I too have nowhere to put it. Plus this weekend there are 2 storms coming in. Which will either be rain, snow, sleet or freezing rain. The weathermen won’t know until it has actually been falling for around 7 hours. ~ karen!

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