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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Creating a Winter Wonderland With Outdoor Christmas Decorations

You don’t need to hire a professional designer to have a magically festive home that’s the envy of the neighborhood. Here’s how to create a rapturous display with outdoor Christmas decorations.

Time for a Decoration Makeover?

If you’ve been using the same tired outdoor Christmas decorations for years, break out a new look this year. Replace old incandescent lights with bright, crisp LED (Light Emitting Diode) light strings. They look great, rarely burn out and use minuscule amounts of electricity. Retire your old Santa or Frosty and use fresh and different display pieces.

Start Planning Early

Magical-looking outdoor Christmas decorations require planning. Start early, preferably before Thanksgiving. Before you put away those Halloween decorations, sketch out your home and landscape on paper, then pencil in the lights, wreaths, garland and display pieces. You can then begin to make your purchases unhurriedly and according to plan.

Select a Centerpiece

Consider a theme for the whole outdoor look built around a centerpiece decoration, such as Santa and his elves, Dickens-era carolers, or a manger scene that will draw the eyes of passersby. Let the rest of the outdoor Christmas decorations play supporting roles.

Choose the Right Lights

LED lights are a better choice than old-style incandescents for outdoor Christmas decorations. LEDs cost more to purchase, but they last 30 times longer and use about a tenth of the electricity. And you can plug a length of several strings of LED lights into a single outlet without tripping a breaker. Inexpensive plastic clips that easily attach to gutters or roof edges will keep your lights neatly placed and spaced. Be careful on tall ladders. It’s a good idea to hire a professional to hang lights or install outdoor Christmas decorations on second-story roofs.

Consider adding laser projection lights to your outdoor display. They can bathe a house in hundreds of points of lights, depict holiday scenes or give the look of falling snowflakes.

Use Greenery in your Outdoor Christmas Decorations

An evergreen wreath on the front door and boughs of garland draped over the doorway and along porch railings and fences give a warm and traditional look. You’ll need 18 inches of garland for every linear foot of fence or railing you want to adorn. To top a doorway, measure the width of the door frame and add at least four feet so the garland can hang down each side. To determine how much garland you need to wrap a post or railing, wrap a string from its top to bottom, then measure the string.

Wreaths on the front door should be just wide enough to leave four inches of door showing on each side. The bow on the wreath should be half the size of the wreath, both horizontally and vertically.

A bright red bow on an evergreen wreath, the top of wrapped posts or at the peaks of draped garland will give a classic look to your outdoor Christmas decorations, but choose a coordinating color if the traditional red will clash.

A cache of poinsettias or mini rosemary bushes on each side of your front door will greet your visitors with a warm festive look.

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