Today is day 18 of The Christmas Pledge.  There’s only a little over a month until Christmas, so you’d better start thinking about getting out your Easter decorations. Just kidding.  Easter decorations are ugly.  Best just skip right to Halloween.

But before you get out the Halloween decorations you put away 2 days ago, you need to concentrate on Christmas because basically it’s already here.  Today on the Christmas Pledge Calendar is greenery day.  Go out and buy or cut any greenery you need for window boxes, planters, garlands … that sort of thing because this weekend you’re going to be doing your window boxes and planters.  So you’ll need to get twigs, berries, and other penile euphemisms.  I know you’re tired and you hate me and you probably already gave up on the calendar but GET BACK AT IT.  Seriously.  I have a cry day scheduled in for November 21st, and it’d suck to bow out before you had your officially appointed cry day.

I thought you might need a little boost and nothing boosts one 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.

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.

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

(wherever the source for the photo is available I’ve linked to it.  Just click on the photo)




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.


photo of my porch by Donna Griffith for Canadian Living magazine

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.



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



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




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.


photo of my backyard by Donna Griffith for Canadian Living magazine

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.




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



Let it bow, let it bow, let it bow.



Perfectly simple, n’est pas?



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.  I’d probably go with just one wreath, but this look works too.




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




Just a whole whack of tall twigs with  tangle of tiny lights.



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.





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



Really cute way to have a “fire” at your front or backdoor without the worry of having to look nice when the firefighters show up.



Very Scandinavian, very nice.



Planters filled with plain, old, logs of wood surrounded with cedar in my backyard.


I liked this so much I did it a couple of years in a row.  I don’t know WHAT I’ll do this year because my backyard is entirely different. Those planters are gone, there’s an antique workbench out there now and from the look of it, it might not snow until a day or two after the holidays.  In Alaska.

I hope you got a few ideas, now get out there, get your stuff and decorate.  Have a great weekend.



  1. Kelliblue says:

    WOW those are beautiful. Too bad I’ll never do a one of them. :( And Christmas pledges: bwahahahahahahahahaha. Ha. Hard to get in the holiday spirit when it was nearly 90 degrees just a couple days ago. Sleeveless? Sweater? Shorts? Sorrells? AUGH – it’s all so confusing. Guess I’ll just have to sip my nog, peruse your Pinterest and pretend I’m participating! :)

  2. Andrea says:

    Karen..I was so done! Outdoor Christmas decorating that is…. Thought i had it all sorted and simple and then you post this!!! Thanks alot! Now I am over inspired! My husband will refer to you as that f***ing blogger from Dundas my wife reads! Lol LOVE IT ALL!! So doing the fire on the porch..just spray painted the fire bowl in copper (only part left of the whole fire pit). Pictures are inspirational! Thank you!

  3. Mary W says:

    This post finally did it. I’m going to pull up the dried weeds in my front flower garden and shock my daughter. This will be fun. I’ll put red tissue in the windows in my craft room so she won’t have to look at the junk stored there. I’ll add greenery cut from the neighbors overhanging fir to the plastic pots filled with weeds and add a red bow. I’ll fill the bar-b-q with greenery and twinkle lights. None of this costs a cent except for muscle cream for my back when I finish the dead garden. I haven’t decorated outside since I moved here since I live in mother-in-law suite attached to back of her home and just outside my door are all the garbage cans – lovely. The neighbor dog pulled up and left a pine tree decorated blanket – it will go onto a lawn chair out by the fake fire. FUN! But I’m going to surprise her and SIL and the 3 kids – maybe even have a pot of hot chocolate waiting with cookies when they get home. Now I’m excited. You did it again – got me moving in a happy way. Thank you so much!

    • Karen says:

      That’s so exciting! O.K., keep the motivation, lol. You’re apt to lose it around the time you’re taping up the tissue paper but KEEP going. :) You’ll feel great when everyone is so surprised. ~ karen!

  4. Danell Pribis says:

    Ok well that got me going. I pruned out some weed trees/branches really, last week and hadn’t gotten around to putting ’em over the bank yet – so I stripped them of their dead leaves and put them in some planters in the front, to deck them out with the mini white lights. Plus, I have some pine trees that could use a few less branches to deck out, what we call, our balcony porch. The oldest boy and I are planning to get all the lights out this weekend and tangle with that project. I haven’t done this in the past but I am going to put a wreathe on the outside entry door.
    Thanks for the post and the challenge – it really has got me going. I hope we reap a peaceful December and plenty of time to do the reading, listening to music and watching Holiday specials I intend to, with the family.

    • Karen says:

      That’s the plan Danell! And to tell the truth (don’t tell anyone else) the whole Pledge thing is just to get your asses in gear. Even if you do still have stuff to do in December if you can even cut that amount by half by getting stuff done now, you’re way ahead of the game. :) ~ karen!

  5. Rosemary Burrows says:

    Lovely vignettes, thank you so much. I brought back home a baby sled that I had refinished for my grandson 8 years ago; have some old dairy cream cans; an old galvanized watering can; some old copper wash boilers; some old brass containers and an old large granitewear pressure cooker that I want to use in a winter vignette. The only problem here on the we(s)t coast is all our rain will dAmage some of this stuff. So I’ll have to put it under cover closer to the house in order to give it some protection. It won’t be all that visible from the street unfortunately but can’t be helped. Have to go and find some winter greens and logs. I’m kicking myself for selling my old maple tobaggan when we downsized! At least I think we still have some old ice-skates around. Your photos have inspired me and I’m excited to do this!

  6. Jane S says:

    Took a load of leaves to the dump this week and parked beside a man unloading pine branches. Yippee! I don’t have to pay for greens for my planter. This is definitely the day to do the outside.

  7. Mindy says:

    I FINALLY own my very own metal dress form. It’s decorative, like has a place in the back for a plant, but I’m all over the Fir Lady this year. I love her.

  8. Mia says:

    Great style–all so natural–but the tiny lights “fire” is the best. Post this, or a similar collection, next year too, please.

  9. Linda in Illinois says:

    Everything is so beautiful. The gigantic swags on the light poles is what I am taking my inspiration from for my mom and dads cemetery swag this year. Beautiful.

  10. Lois Baron says:

    Loved the bench filled with greenery and pine cones, etc. But those pine cones are on steroids. I’ve never seen any that size!

  11. Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for these inspiring photos! I love all the fresh greenery and the simple look of many of them. We won’t be around for much of the holidays so I’m trying to figure out just how much decorating I want to do.
    Can’t wait to see how you end up gussying up your place for the holidays!

  12. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Let’s see: mailbox swag is the winner…or maybe the birch logs with pine cones in the tray…
    But the snow spray in the windows CRACKED ME UP! (I didn’t even notice it because I was admiring the wreath so much!)
    So many great ideas!
    Can’t wait to get more on the inside too!

  13. Clara Woodburn says:

    For those that don’t have those beautiful trees to pick branches from for decorations. Our local boy scout troop sets up a Christmas tree stand every year and will trim the bottom of the trees and either throw them out or burn them. We’ve had folks come by and ask for them. We’ve given them out for free and sometimes folks have given the troup a donation for the tree branches.

  14. Rina Vespa says:

    Hello Karen You must have known I needed that boost. The pics of your home are the ones I like the best. I need to find some skis to do a similar one to yours from a few years back. The tomatoe cage is a good one too. Thanks again.

  15. mbaker says:

    We in South Dakota just got a blizzard. Feel free to come cart some of our snow off for your decorating purposes.

  16. maggie van sickle says:

    My greenery is done, cut by me, my house is started and I do wish I was as creative as u but mine is me . Good job again Karen. Have a great weekend.

  17. Sharon says:

    Collected my boughs from my garden yesterday (beautiful pine and cedar – I am so lucky). Going to 17 C today so doing the outdoor stuff before the threat of snow on Sunday (really – they don’t mean it!!)

  18. Karen says:

    Swag on my mailbox. Hmmmm. Wonder if that would deter the mailbox wackers from doing their baseball bat toting driveby on it??
    Love all the other ideas you posted as well. Well other then the giant red bows. Ya no. I can’t do the giant red bows.
    Merry Christmas Karen…..from Karen ?

  19. Monique says:


  20. Mary Michelle says:

    Your black planters are gone!!! I loved them! I will send some snow your way. It arrives in MI tomorrow.

  21. Elissa says:

    I’m thinking lit peace sign, given what’s going on here in the US!

  22. Very inspirational! I’m going into my garden today to scout around for fallen tree debris that will raise the tone of the neighbourhood once I fashion it into a photo-worthy display. Thanks! :)

  23. Paula says:

    Still gardening, haven’t even started Christmas yet, however; your photos are definitely inspiring!

  24. MrsChris SA says:

    Love love love the tealight fire!!!
    Beautiful – I so wish we could have some snow here!

  25. Cred says:

    I always love your black planters- could you do a post with the different variations over the years? I think my favourite was with the large globe light, pomegranates and some fancy cedar (I can no longer recall).
    I’ve always had a mailbox so I make a swag- on of my favourite decorations and now with a split rail fence roadside, I put a big red bow in between each section for a quaint country living look. And of course, an evergreen door swag with a red bow on the duck coop- I love it against the black coop.
    I did a Xmas variation on your Halloween feather wreath, with all white feather and red baubles and bow. This year I’m changing the baubles and bow to turquoise to accent the midcentury feel and colour in the diningroom/living room.
    But first thing in the spring, I need to paint my front door black. I love how yours looks and such a great backdrop for decorations.
    Thanks for the boot in the arse; I needed inspiration since this weather feels like xmas is far off. I just used our last zucchini and sweet & jalapeño peppers. This is crazy!

    • Karen says:

      I was just thinking about 10 minutes ago as I fed the chickens that I could wear shorts and a t-shirt today and that IS crazy. ~ karen!

  26. Nancy W says:

    Oh, and now, I want to re-do the entire front of the house. Sigh.

  27. Nancy W says:

    Well, I ordered a wreath…it gets here Sunday…I will put it on the INSIDE of my front door so we can enjoy it. My house is teeny, more of a shack really, so it will make the whole place smell nice.
    I am into driftwood, and since I live near the beach, there are always piles of sand in the corners rather than snow. You inspired me with those twigs! I might actually put some driftwood sticks out front, with little lights wrapped around somehow. But not until December the 9th, when I’m done with work for the year. Woo hoo! Thanks for the lovely post, Karen!

    • Bobbles says:

      I’d like to click “like” on this comment. I am going to buy a wreath this year. I’m just too busy to make one. I also have a small house, but not quite tiny. I like the idea of a wreath inside. And I’m from the OR coast, driftwood would be so pretty! Thanks, I love your ideas.

  28. TucsonPatty says:

    That all looks so beautiful! I have my DIY wads-o-lights to hang in the mesquite tree out front. Looks very festive. First one I made was supposed to be a tree shape, and the next two began to look sort of ball-ish. (Hmm) Anyway, thus the name – wad-o-lights. Classy, I know. Lovley decorations around your home. I will also have a fresh greenery wreath for the front door, made by someone other than me! (Benefits a good cause.)

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