Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas | Holiday Inspiration!

Up until about a week ago it was 24°C (75°F) here in Ontario so it wouldn’t have mattered what outdoor Christmas decoration idea you threw in front of me, I wouldn’t have been biting. For a Canadian it’s hard to get excited about taking a bite out of Christmas when a mosquito is taking a bite out of you.

Cozy evening shot of English style brick cottage decorated with Christmas garland and white lights standing behind a white picket fence.my house showing off its Christmas spirit

Things have CHANGED though and there are even flurries in the forecast so now –  BRING ON THE RED VELVET BOWS, EVERGREEN TREES, TWINKLE LIGHTS, FRUSTRATION & FROSTBITE. I’m ready.  

I thought you might need a little boost getting inspired for Christmas this year and nothing boosts better than cocaine.  But I don’t have any cocaine so instead I have a bunch of pictures for you.  On the downside you won’t be quite as speedy today, on the upside you won’t have to spend all your Christmas present money on rehab.

Personally, my top 3 outdoor decorating things are copper wire lights, red velvet ribbon and sugar pine cones. I use them over and over in different spots every year and you’ll see them in a lot of these photos from other beautiful Christmas homes too.

Outdoor Christmas Decorating

It’s easy to get stuck in a decorating rut especially at Christmas when we just get used to putting up the same wreath, the same decorations on the same front door in the same neighbourhood.  So, take a quick look at these photos to see if it stirs up a little something inside of you that might lead you in a new and exciting direction (but not towards drugs, drugs are bad.)


Front Door Christmas Decorations


  • If things don’t seem impressive to you, go BIG. Get rid of the 5 small things you have by your front door and have just 2 BIG ones. It’ll have more impact and not look so cluttered.

Starting with, more is MORE. Seriously, the swags under the lanterns (which look like genuine gas lanterns by the way) are MASSIVE with huge sugar pinecones;  and that is why they look so great.


Beautiful herringbone pattern wood door with large wreath, flanked by two brass gas lanterns decorated with huge swags underneath.


I almost didn’t share this next photo of my front door from a few years ago because it features the antique wood sled that was stolen straight off of the porch. 


An antique wood sleigh sits beside a black front door on a red brick house decorate with a simple evergreen wreath with a large red bow.


  • If you’ll be sad if it’s stolen, tie it down or NAIL it to the porch. And keep your security camera batteries fresh.


Elaborate black wood doors with C'est Noël in gold lettering on them.

I’m actually not a fan of words on things other than books. But I do like this. Perfectly simple, n’est pas?


White house showing a door with two wreaths hung vertically, and garland swaged with thin red ribbon over steps surrounded by small evergreen trees.

There are so many elements here but it still ends up looking relatively simple because each element is very plain.  The garland with simple ribbon, the unadorned lanterns, and the tiny trees.  Double your impact by  using two Christmas wreathes.


A green front door is flanked by large willowy branches covered in twinkle lights in the shape of an arch at Christamas.

Just a whole whack of tall twigs with  tangle of tiny lights. If you don’t have 8′ tall willow branches handy, Amazon has these prelit 8′ willow branches.

It could be the lack of cocaine talking, but this building below makes me feel all quiet and still and calm.

A small white outbuilding with a dutch door and brick path leading up to it is decorated with live garland and white twinkle lights.


Front Porch Christmas Decorations

It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Cheap burlap normally used for covering up trees in the winter can be turned into a thousand different things, and when in doubt? Throw a blanket on it.

A mannequin wearing a skirt made out of evergreen branches and burlap shaped into a jacket sits on a snow dusted front porch at Christmas.

photo of my porch by Donna Griffith for Canadian Living magazine


Very Scandinavian, very nice.

A very nordic looking front porch on a black wood sided house shows two folding wood chairs covered in fur with a black throw pillow.


Nobody’s sitting on that bench in the middle of winter anyway.  Cover it.

A golden retriever sits in front of Ken Falk's Montana porch at Christmas with natural wood and plain green garland.

O.K., granted this next porch has a lot going for it and for Christmas it could have nothing more than a big bell on the doorknob and it would look gorgeous.

But part of what makes it so inviting (and the part you can copy) is the stack of wood beside the door. Stacks of wood ALWAYS look inviting and Christmassy. The Golden Retriever helps with that too. You can see the entire house decorated for Christmas in this Elle Decor post.

Porch Christmas Trees

I remember the first time I saw a tree on a front porch. It wasn’t even that long ago. Maybe 10 years? My neighbour had one up near the front door of their very small porch and I was immediately smitten. 

A small Christmas tree in a wicker basket set beside two black wicker chairs with sheepskin throws on a front porch.

A small tree in a wicker basket looking charming on my porch last year. You can see the full post with all the pictures of my porch from last year here.

I mean, come on, look at that.  It isn’t all crazy done up and styled it’s just a tree on a porch. And it’s beautiful.

It’s literally all here. Porch tree, stacked wood, sheepskin, cute kid in red plaid, lanterns, garland, candles, berries and more!

Outdoor Christmas Planter Ideas

Have any tomato cages or obelisks?    Put them in planters, run some greenery and lights down them and call it a day.  Simple but effective.

Two large metal, rectangular Christmas planters with obelisks and greenery and lights threaded through them.



Another year those same outdoor planters looked like this; filled with plain, old, logs of wood surrounded with cedar.

Christmas planters with evergreen branches surrounding small stacks of wood in each.

I liked this so much I did it a couple of years in a row.  

Here wood is used again in a planter with some twinkle lights to make it look like a fire’s going.

A small outdoor firepit filled with wood and wire lights to give the illusion of fire.


  • You don’t HAVE  to fill every planter with evergreen boughs, pine cones and bows. Think of other things to put in your planters.

Imagine the idea they’ve used for this small firepit, in two large planters on either side of a door.  In fact, just as I type this I’m thinking it might be what I do this year.  SEE? Even I’m getting inspiration from these photos.  This is a good time to point out that you don’t have to copy everything you see exactly, but you can take an idea and use it a different way.


Quick & Easy Outdoor Christmas Decorations

Pay attention to detail. This light tree works especially well because it’s a dark cord against a dark background.

The shape of a Christmas tree is outlined with lights on the side of a black shed.


Outline the shape of a Christmas tree with regular outdoor Christmas lights. Easy and effective.

Not many things are a better Christmas decoration that freshly fallen snow, but you can help mother nature out with fake spray snow (like in the corners of the window panes) if you have to.

A cedar shed with an evergreen wreath hanging above a large stack of snow covered wood.

photo of my backyard by Donna Griffith for Canadian Living magazine

And yes, the rest of the snow is also sprayed on. Just kidding. That’s 100% genuine Canadian snow.

Guess what? You don’t have to cover your house in sparkles and garland for it to look Chrismassy and beautiful. You don’t have to spend hours hanging lights and setting them to music. 

This is my friend Carol’s house. It COULDN’T be more beautiful and it couldn’t get any easier. A wreath on the fence door and candles in all the windows. In fact I love it so much I just bought window candles similar to these for my windows. God bless the person who invented battery operated candles on a timer.

I don’t know where I’ve been living (other than not on a rural road) but there’s such a thing as a mailbox swag.  It’s true.

A copper country Christmas mailbox with an evergreen swag with red plaid bow draped over it.



K, this next one is a pretty specific look that very few people will be able to do but if you can, DO IT.

A rustic, antique wood wheelbarrow with a Christmas tree sitting inside of it.

A Christmas tree in an antique wheelbarrow!  Please don’t try this with a plastic wheelbarrow. Please DO try it with kids wood wagon.

Always loved wreaths on windows?  Try them on the shutters.

An exterior window flanked by black wood shutters with small wreaths hanging from red ribbon on each.


Always loved words on things? Try them on your door.  I’m not a huge fan of words on things as I mentioned, but I know this would look superb on a lot of your houses.

Black door with green moss words spelling out JOY for Christmas.


Not sure why you like this next picture?  It’s because of the red behind the windows.  You can easily do the same with just red tissue paper or wrapping paper.

A silvery wood shed door flanked by two windows lined with red paper and accented by evergreen filled window boxes with red ribbon..


  • Add red paper behind your garage, shed our outhouse windows for instant Christmas. Don’t do your car windows.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my backyard from a couple of years ago. It’s what I look at out of my kitchen window and what I see when I walk in my back gate. In fact, I see this view way more often than I see my front yard.  A mixture of real and fake Christmas trees with twinkle lights just dotted through the backyard. 

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to slap a little calamine lotion onto my bug bitten ankles from last week so they don’t get agitated by my wool socks and snow boots of today.

I hope you got a few ideas, now get out there, get your stuff and decorate until you feel so Christmassy you get brain freeze.


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Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas | Holiday Inspiration!


  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing, I love the idea for the outdoor planters! Do you have any tips for decorating fences for Christmas? I had my fence replaced with a composite fence a few weeks ago and it goes all the way up my driveway, so I’m trying to think of creative ways to decorate it!

    • Cindy says:

      We took reels of warm white LED string lights and stapled them at each post, letting them drape like a swag in between. It’s been a few years since we lived there but I think we stapled the lights up halfway between posts too. It looked really bright and festive. You could also put greenery and/or a bow at each point where you stapled, or at each post, although that could get pricey depending how long your fence is. A wreath on the gate door(s) is cute too.

  2. Jan in Waterdown says:

    I have a black raised panel front door very similar to the “Joy” one. My problem is, it’s a double front door so trying to decorate it/them is tricky. If I put up a wreath on each door, I think it looks like festive boobs. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that but it’s not quite the look I’m going for…. ya know? Any ideas?

  3. Beth says:

    Wait, isn’t a “fence door” a gate? Or is that just an American thing?

  4. Jodi Blackman says:

    Lovely wintry Christmas eye candy and many ideas are adaptable for a warm-climate Christmas! Thanks. In Australia outdoor light displays are getting more popular every year. I definitely want to up my game since I usually concentrate on the inside. The fire pit and a twig tree on the porch are two ideas I am definitely stealing, and since I am hosting my family’s Christmas party on Christmas Eve I have an excuse to go nuts. We’ll have a long table dinner on our back patio under lots of lights.

  5. PegMinn says:

    Great ideas, Karen! Thank you so much! I’m inspired, but also have to try turning my front porch-side 8′ arborvitae into a gnome like another pic I saw – red topper, with a beige stocking-stuffed to look like a nose under a red “hat border” and a rag mop-head “beard” under the nose. It seems like year to add humor into the decorations. I love your back yard! How nice to look out on the twinkly wonderland! Thanks!
    Peace & joy!

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