Exterior Christmas Decoration Ideas

Of course the smartest thing to do when I'm overwhelmed is to start more projects. That makes sense right? Well, in truth it sort of does because art projects are always a sort of meditation for me, and that's what this intends to be: a winter of evening art projects.

If you don't know already, Christmas is very big on our street. As in nearly every single of the 60+ houses has lights, various things decorating the front yard, we have a tree lighting ceremony (for our giant tree on the island the city lights up) and Santa even comes to visit the neighborhood kids. Yup: awesome. (You can read about Christmas on our street here, herehere, and here).

But Chris and I have never really taken advantage of how awesome decorating for Christmas is on our street and our house normally just looks like this

I've always wanted the front of our house to be decorated more, but I really don't want to buy a bunch of plastic shit from HD or Lowe's that I'm sure will break in about 2 weeks. Instead, I think I want to make a bunch of stuff. I've been pinning things, and this is what I've liked for decorations for outside

Would be pretty with Christmas colors
found here

found here

Easy front door Christmas decorations
found here

found here

There actually isn't a ton on Pinterest in terms of good exterior Christmas decorations, which I find a little odd. Do you wonderful readers have any ideas or great decorations you've made?

I'm not super into decorating the inside of the house. For some reason that's just never been my thing. I do REALLY want to get a tree this year though because after 8 1/2 years together Chris and I have never gotten a Christmas tree and our first Christmas with Zoe seems like the perfect opportunity. I think I may make stockings for us too

found here

DIY Mario Brothers Stocking
found here
And when Zoe is older I'd love to have an advent calendar

Canadian Tire Advent Calendar
found here

Telluride Advent Calendar - Customizable
found here

And how obnoxious am I being talking about Christmas on the 13th of November? Pretty annoying I must admit. I usually find it absurd to talk about Christmas before Thanksgiving. But at least I'm not completely insane and talking about it before Halloween (I seriously can't believe stores are setting out their decorations before trick-or-treaters, it's ridiculous). But if I want to make these decorations at night when I have time after Zoe falls asleep, I gotta get on it sooner rather than later or else our house will just have lonely twinkly lights again. 

So, fantabulous readers, any great exterior decorating ideas to suggest? I'm ready!


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the Christmas lights on your house are pitiful. Definitely need to do better for a Picardy house.

meryl rose said...

Give suggestions then!

Cheryl said...

I think little wreaths in the windows of the tower as well as larger wreaths in the two large picture windows would look nice. I've seen short strands of lights that are battery operated if you want to light up the wreaths.

And I love the ornaments on ribbon streamers - I'd put very large ornaments on rather wide ribbon to the sides of the two picture windows.

RT_Boyce said...

Okay, you asked! Here are my suggestions:

Put up your lights and decorations on the Thanksgiving long weekend. That’s the ONLY way I ever found time when my kids were young - after that, it’s a madhouse rush of holiday obligations and I could never get it together if I missed the Thanksgiving deadline.

Put lights in the windows on the inside of the house. It gives a lovely, warm, homey glow. I have done a few different things over the years - “candlestick” lights, colored string lights all around the window, white icicle lights at the top. Your house has great windows, and any of those light approaches would emphasize them. Or even those cool ribbon-with-ornament ideas could work in the windows WITH some lights to show them off at night. And having inside lights makes it easy to set up timers.

Look at architectural features you can make work for you. My current house has porch pillars, which each get a big red bow. The front door gets a wreath with a smaller but matching red bow. Our Christmas tree goes to one side of the central picture window, with lights on. In your case, you have little planters by the porch gate, the wonderful roofline which you’ve already been showing off with icicle lights, and maybe you could do something with the low porch wall - a row of poinsettias? luminarias?

How big are your front yard plants and trees? I have been having fun the past couple years hanging gold and silver plastic ornaments in a small elm tree. And I love when people put shiny round ornaments on the tips of their agaves.

As you can see from some of these suggestions, I do enjoy decorating the house for Christmas, but I really only do it to have fun - it never looks like Martha Stewart has come by, and it would never end up on Pinterest. But it’s a bit different every year, and the house looks cheery and welcoming.

The advent calendar: to avoid the whole toddlers+candy craziness, you may want to buy or make an advent calendar like the one my mom gave us, which is a fabric panel with an appliqued tree shape on the top and numbered pockets holding 25 stuffed-fabric Christmas tree ornaments at the bottom. Little brass grommets allow the small ornaments to be hung up each day.

Sarah @ St. Paul Haus said...

I LOVE everything you pointed out...very classy. I hate all that cheap plastic crap and blow-up santa shit. I'm sure the kids like it but w/e. I would rather be the classy house with the tasteful decorations. Some of the completely crazy houses (extravagant light shows and displays) around here ask for donations to help pay their electric bills. I'm sure it can get expensive right quick. I haven't thought about what we are going to do this yr. Last yr was the first yr we did anything and it was only a few lights and a wreath. Now you have me thinking.

Anonymous said...

Yes you have great windows in the tower. Lights, lights, lights, but put them on timers. To cut down on the PG&E bill I usually have my lights on only Friday through Sunday.
That front door is pale. Decorate it. An easy peasy way is to cover it with shiny foiled wrapping paper and then put large width ribbon on it like you have wrapped a package. The lights on the house will bounce off it .
And start no later than the day after Thanksgiving. I like to decorate my tree in front of the house with green lights on the trunk and hang multicolored from the lowest branches (unless you can get someone to climb the tree?) You have a great house for Christmas decorations...have fun!

Jessica said...

I really like the wreaths, and I like the other suggestions of decorating exterior trees. Last year we saw a house that had this Santa...I guess it was a video? It had to have been a screen sized to fit their front window, it looked like Santa would come by the window and wave, then I think he did some other stuff, moving his bag of toys or something, etc etc. That house also had a light show set to music on a certain radio station; there was a sign in their yard telling you which station to turn to. That was pretty awesome, but I can't even imagine the cost involved in that. We're definitely going back this year, though.

We don't decorate outside at Christmas--there are no exterior outlets at the front of the house, our front door doesn't face the street, and the only windows that do face the street are bedroom windows. We're kind of SOL all around as far as outside decor goes.

meryl rose said...

Thanks for all the suggestions you wonderful folks! When I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night last night I thought of all the ideas and what I was going to do. Excellent middle of the night brainstorming :) I'm so excited! :)

Deb said...

Last year - for the planters on either side of the door, I wrapped a bunch of different size boxes with different papers (some silver, some red, etc.) wrapped them in a stack with a big ribbon and then got those long sparkly doodads to stick in the dirt in the planter behind them and called it a day. I got a ton of compliments and it cost me nada. It was pretty cute. I don't think I have any really good pictures though :(

Alex - Old Town Home said...

We're always doing the whole "classic and classy" type of decorations, like fresh greens, fruit, ribbons, etc. But every year that I see those awesome whole house bouncing with lights set to music and computer controlled crazy houses I want so badly to do something like that. Sadly, it will never happen. :-)

meryl rose said...

Those music and lights houses are insane. I don't know of one that's near us, but they sure are fun to park your car outside of and listen and watch.