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. Kristen Harley says:

    I read this post on Thursday morning and didn’t get past “I now own six strands of these copper lights” – I clicked the link and they arrived yesterday – and then realized I had no C batteries – I didn’t even finish reading the post, I just needed those lights. Now I’ve taken the time to come back to finish being inspired by your post (and the light part is crossed out? Did a strand die or do you now dislike them?) Too late, I have them and now I’m on my way to Can Tire to get C batteries and pillage my forest for greenery. Thank you for the always inspiring and entertaining posts!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristen! Uch, there’s no problem with them. It’s a weird thing that happens when something I have on my site is for sale on Amazon in Canada. For some reason it thinks Amazon in Canada has invalid links. Just ignore the strikethroughs. ~ karen!

  2. Marie Anne says:

    Hi Karen,

    There are solar powered mini lights now!! That’s what I put in my planter this year and they look great! Just thought you might want to add a link for those on your post. I bought them on Amazon.ca :)

  3. Angela Thiel says:

    So disappointed I can’t snow spray my windows, loved the idea but I’m snowless in Texas! 😀 Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your creativity.

  4. Susan Mouser says:

    I’m guessing that one of the duplicate pictures is supposed to be one of you in a red coat gathering wood? Love the greenery draped everywhere! Love it!

  5. Tina says:

    My DIL got some of the copperwire with tiny white lights…battery operated…and wrapped them around all her apple trees that line her driveway, they look fabulous! The wire is a bit flimsy so she leaves it up all year, until the wire breaks and she replaces it.

  6. Kari says:

    Love your house, so beautiful!

  7. Agnes says:

    Love your jacket, is it Canada Goose? My boyfriend finally bought himself one this year after debating over it for the past 3. Now I want one!

    • Karen says:

      Yes it is. I got it about 7 years ago or so. I got the men’s version because I didn’t like how the women’s version was kind of fitted in at the waist. ~ karen!

  8. Dan says:

    I suggest that you make a couple of firewood carriers. You can carry a lot more wood each trip. With one in each hand, your arms stay the same length. See Bob’s Instructable.


    Keep up the good work.

  9. Deirdre says:

    Perfectly Ontario picturesque. I’m hoping its not too late to add Ikea items to my Christmas list. Thanks for the pictures.

  10. Bols says:

    Karen, did you make the wreaths on the chicken coop gates? If so, would you consider posting a tutorial?
    They are SO perfect!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. They’re so perfect because they’re fake! :) They’re $9.99 from Ikea and I love them. I bought 5 of them. 2 for outside and 3 for in. ~ karen!

  11. Kim from 3 peanuts says:

    It looks so gorgeous Karen! I too was drawn in by the gorgeous Ikea solar light as well as the holiday decor and snow dusting.

    I have to say my heart dropped when i saw you’d be gone til the New year. I am happy you will get some time with family and your beloved potato chips and Christmas movies and all but it couldn’t come at a worse time for me —-ya know! I have all 3 kids AND my husband home for a few weeks….I am going to need some laughs and a good reason to get on my computer.

    Merry Christmas.


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