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Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday Makeover

by | Oct 11, 2011 | Christmas Decorating

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Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverPottery Barn

I really do love the outside of my house to look all festive during the holidays. I’m not saying I want reindeer on the roof and excessive Clark Griswold-inspired holiday decorations, but there is something magical about arriving home on a cold winter night to twinkling lights and decorative reminders of the season. But don’t wait too long to get started, now is the perfect time to give your home some festive curb appeal with a pre-holiday makeover!

Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverBetter Homes & Gardens

One of the many things I’ve learned over the years is I need to start preparing early to give my home holiday curb appeal. If I wait until it is dark and cold outside and the holidays are already here, it is often easier to just forget it. And then of course, I miss out on something I love about the Christmas season.

Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverBetter Homes & Gardens

So how can we get started now with holiday curb appeal?

1. First and foremost, do a little pre-holiday clean up.

Rake out those dead leaves and winterize your plants so you have a clean foundation for holiday decor.

2. Secondly, finish up any outdoor maintenance and last minute paint touch ups so you’ll be ready to decorate!

3. Gather natural materials and plants for holiday curb appeal.

I really like the idea of holiday decorating with branches. Put them in pots and add festive lights, hanging lanterns and holiday decorations from the branches! Or, hang chunky branches from rope and add ornaments and lights! LOVELY!

4. Get creative with existing yard & garden features and decor.

Ordinary yard and garden accessories are the perfect foundation for holiday decor. Combining holiday decorations with what you already have in your yard is a great way to gain more curb appeal for your holiday buck. Before you put your summer or fall garden accessories away, look at them with fresh eyes.

Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverBetter Homes & Gardens

  • I love how the photo of the ordinary potting bench is evolving towards the Christmas holidays with the simple addition of red ball ornaments under glass. The combination of the potting accessories and the red balls gives a lot of visual interest and holiday appeal to a front porch.
  • Window boxes can be the perfect focal point for winter holiday decorations. Try using faux greenery that will last all season long!
  • Metal garden hooks for plants can be put to good use for holiday curb appeal. Replace your summer flowers with over-sized outdoor ornaments or wreaths.

Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverBetter Homes & Gardens

  • Hanging pots and baskets can be strung with twinkling lights and filled with ornaments!
  • Existing all-weather planters and bird baths can hold holiday spheres or lights.
  • Mailboxes can be decorated with greenery.
  • Outdoor benches and patio tables can be used for greenery or holiday lanterns.

Christmas Decorating Ideas Outdoors: Pre-Holiday MakeoverBetter Homes & Gardens

If you start now with a little pre-holiday makeover, your home will be bursting with curb appeal before you know it! Then you can go back inside and enjoy the season from inside where it is warm and toasty!

What are your outdoor holiday decorating plans this year?

More posts in the 31 Days series:

Day 6: Your Style: Get in the Holiday Groove

Day 7: Creative Memorable Holidays

Day 8: What Dessert to Make for Fall Parties!

Day 9: Things to Treasure List

Day 10: Tips for Mantels and Shelves

The rest of the 31 Day Participants!


  1. Jessica

    Love the post Melissa! I love christmas & I need to get busy with some fall cleanup! Good motivational post :)

  2. Heather

    One of the best things about being in a new house is decorating for the holidays. We are in full autumn mode right now but in a few weeks I’ll start transitioning into Christmas. I’m really excited to dress up the lantern post outside my front door – will I hang a wreath, wrap the post with ribbon or dress it up with a swag? I’m not sure yet. But I can’t wait to start.

  3. teresa

    So far I put two autumn wreaths at the base of two topiary’s I have on the front porch. Not sure what I’m doing for Christmas….but you have given me a few ideas.
    Happy Day

  4. Imperfect

    I’m so thrilled for the holidays now that we have our own house. I just might have to incorporate some of these ideas!

  5. Jadyn

    I love all these ideas! I never really think about any of this until about a week for Christmas and by that time I have too much to do already, so it never happens…Thanks for getting us to start thinking about it now! I am feeling hopeful I might actually get some outdoor decorations up this year.

  6. Karen

    What good ideas. I loved the garden bench and the window box. You are so right, if I don’t get started with some of the preliminary set up now, December rolls around and I skip some of the fun stuff in an effort to get through the shopping, wrapping and baking. What a fun time of the year!

  7. Vee

    What a lot of wonderful suggestions. The best part is that I can employ some of them without purchasing a thing. They are all at hand. Thanks so much, Melissa!

  8. Diane

    Planning ahead….always excellent advice…great post.
    I’m looking forward to a ‘new’ home and what that will do to inspire my creativity. My head is already spinning!

  9. Kristin

    Such fun ideas! I really like the branches and berries in the window box from BHG – so classic and festive! Thanks for sharing…

  10. Maya

    Ah, first snow pictures!! I definitely want to gather some things from the yard. Maybe I try to decorate the large ship model on the TV cabinet with lights this year.

  11. MarySue

    So inspiring and beautifully festive…I’m in Arizona and we are forcasted to be 99 or 100 degrees by Friday. I’m trying to still BLOOM WHERE I’M PLANTED.

  12. kelly

    These pictures are so lovely…I can’t wait to start decorating for the holidays!

  13. Emily

    I love this post! I live in an apartment so I don’t technically have a yard to decorate but some of these ideas I can adapt to work in front of my front door too!!! Thanks for all the great ideas :)

  14. Dana

    Oh, your post just reminded me that I haven’t hung our Harvest Corn on the front door yet! I’ll dig that out today.

    I like the ornaments under the cloche. I have a cheese dome that I use like a cloche and I can do that in our kitchen. Fun.

    Thanks for the inspirational photos!
    That PB one makes me all giddy like a kid at Christmas.

  15. Andrea at Opulent Cottage

    I love all of these ideas, and do use alot of them when I’m decorating for the season, also. Aren’t branches just the best, free decoration ever?!! Thanks for the photos and inspiration, I’m halfway through decorating my Halloween front porch!
    Cheers, Andrea

  16. Christin

    Oh these are wonderful ideas! I have honestly never decorated the front of my home {ducking now}. I know, crazy isn’t it?
    But adding some greenery and white lights, even, would nicely spruce up our otherwise “dead” garden.

    Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  17. Glenda Childers

    I love that so many of these ideas, use things I already have around my home.


  18. Debbie

    OH MY GOSH MELISSA, and I thought your mantel and shelves post was amazing I love this. I’m already decluttering, cleaning, organizing, changing sheets in guest room, planting certain flowers for the holidays…basically planning ahead and I am loving it. I actually feel like I have a head start. Love this post girl!! You got it goin’ on! Hahaha

  19. Jo

    Wonderful timing for a Christmas post! Now that Canadian Thanksgiving is over, I can move full-tilt ahead to Christmas! I’ve been thinking I want to do a little more outside than I normally do this year, but I don’t want to spend any money…I’ll have to see what I can dig out. Maybe my holly garlands would work. Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Mique

    I love these ideas Melissa- makes me excited for the holidays and to get my yard in order before!

  21. Rachel

    Great ideas! I love that they are out of the mainstream ideas I usually see and they are beautiful! I will definitely revisit soon :)

  22. christina

    Great ideas! Now that my kids are pretty big, the pressure to decorate wanes. then I start on a cold icy day, and move quickly to ok lights are up. done.

    This inspires me to get a move on now (though the leaves have yet to fall). We have a 100 yo farmhouse, so the possibilities are endless!

    Great post!

    Thanks :-)

  23. Maureen

    I love this post. You’re right about how quickly the holidays approach. I always find myself not prepared to decorate inside, let alone outside. But seeing those gorgeous pics inspires me to get moving and start cleaning out now so I can do something beautiful outside too.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  24. Pearl Maple

    Love all the ideas on how to creatively add sparkle and meaning to our household decor themes

  25. TidyMom

    ummm, Oct is half over and I still have my summer wreath and flag up on my porch! lol..thanks for all your great ideas!


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