Lovely Outdoor Holiday Decor

White Weathered Bench Decorated With Pinecones and Pine Garland
13 tips and tricks for creating festive outdoor holiday displays.

Simple Elegance

Decorating rule of thumb: You can't go wrong with simple, symmetrical touches. Add white lights to plants or pillars that frame your front door for a polished, elegant look. The rustic, classic wreath helps to break up the rectangular lines of the door.

When You Wish Upon a Star...

All you need for this whimsical display is a branch of evergreen and an inexpensive tin star from an art store or craft shop. Simply hang the evergreen branch at an angle behind the star and -- viola! -- a stellar little decoration. Perfect as a wreath alternative for your front door or to spruce up a blank wall.

We Three Wreaths

If one wreath is nice, three must be, um, thrice as nice. Stack small, simple wreaths in a column and don't worry about adding extra embellishments -- multiple wreaths means you don't have to add any extra decoration like ribbons or lights.

Use What You Have

You don't have to lug out a Santa cut-out or nativity scene to decorate your yard for the holidays -- just add embellishments to the items that already adorn your yard. Here, ribbons and hats turn garden ornaments into Christmas geese.

Light the Way

Find decorating inspiration in your recycling bin! Illuminate the path to your door for dinners or a holiday party with these rustic candleholders by giving plain soup cans a makeover.

To make: Carefully punch designs in the sides of clean and dry aluminum cans using a can opener (the old school kind with the pointed tip, not the twist around the lid variety). Create the triangle shapes by pressing the can opener into the can as far as it will go. Place a pillar candle inside, light and enjoy. Caution: You should tackle actually making these because of the sharp edges -- the kids can help with the design and deciding where to place the finished candleholders.

Illuminate with Lanterns

Skip strings of lights this year and instead beckon guests in from the cold by hanging a few lanterns from strong tree branches. A mix of different styles of lanterns adds a cozy, eclectic feel.

Night and Day

You might have a light display to compete with the Griswolds' by night, but what about by day? Touches of red and green are a great way to add some decorations that look great in daylight (especially against a white house). And because the garland will be illuminated by the porch light on the porch, this house looks pretty at night too.

Think Out of the Box -- Literally

Since we're always pressed for time, we love holiday shortcuts! One that doesn't sacrifice spirit is using wire trees that come prestrung with lights. All you have to do is pull them out of the box, arrange the branches and they're ready to be "planted" indoors or out.

Find trees at your local Home Depot or Target.

Splashes of Color

Live in a warm climate? You might not feel much chill in the air, but you can still creative a holiday wonderland. Wrap strands of red lights around tree trunks to make larger-than-life candy canes and frame your door with a classic strand of multicolored lights.

A Time to Reflect

Create a light-catching door decoration by using staples or heavy glue to attach a few different-sized mirrors to a satin or velvet holiday ribbon. Hang this on your front door to welcome guests or on a wall near your tree for some reflected twinkling.

Framed & Festive

The standard practice of hanging lights around the edge of your roof may not always be a safe (or doable) option. You can, however still add plenty of sparkle to your home by framing windows, balconies, or even garage doors in lights.

Work the Window Box

Think small: For a great outdoor decoration that'll also be visible inside, fill a window box with greenery and lace with lights. By day, you'll have a touch of green out your window, and by night another source of holiday cheer.

Pretty Porch

Now that winter's here, you really won't be using your porch furniture much -- so why not spruce it up for the holidays? Go on a pinecone hunt with your kids and gather a few evergreen branches. Arrange the cones and branches on the bench and add some sparkly touches with ornaments of different sizes or pretty ribbons.

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