Produced by Lucy Fitzgerald
Decking out your home for the holidays involves more than just mantels! The real magic of the season happens outdoors, where strings of twinkling lights illuminate the fresh snow, and sprigs of evergreen can add holiday cheer almost anywhere. Family and friends alike will appreciate a festive welcome with these inspirational outdoor decorating ideas.
Above, an outdoor courtyard offers a cheerful snow-dusted vignette. A vintage mirror hangs above a wire urn filled with greens and branches for a picture-perfect winter scene.
Talk about an inviting first impression! Lush evergreen boughs are wrapped around the handrails and columns on this cozy cabin’s porch. Red details—like silk bows and felt angels woven into the wreath—shine even brighter against the home’s green cedar-shingle siding.
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Lighting the Way
A fire burning brightly outside a front door has long been a symbol of hospitality and good will. This home embraces tradition with a pair of quaint wooden lanterns that light the way up to the front porch. A red silk bow and silver wintery details amp up the Christmas cheer.
Red and green don’t have to be the rule when it comes to holiday palettes. Sprigs of evergreen mingle with cinnamon sticks and purple blooms to add a little color to the stoic wooden reindeer on the home’s porch.
Symmetrical and Sophisticated
A symmetrical entrance gives an air of sophistication in this Chicago home. Steps lead up from the front gate to double doors illuminated by twin custom brass-and-black steel sconces. Galvanized metal containers hold merry assemblies of pine branches, luminescent glass balls, winter flowers, and painted pinecones. A twinkling wreath centered between the doors grounds the display.
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Elegant Outdoor Entertainment
French doors lead from the family room out to a covered patio, which serves as an outdoor living room and entertainment area. The family gathers on two wicker all-weather sofas before a cozy fireplace; on the broad stone mantel hangs an elegant wreath wound with green and yellow ribbon. Lanterns from Fourteenth Colony Lighting cast a pleasing light after dark.
Traditional Farmhouse Window Display
A wreath in every window creates a welcoming display on this Virginia fieldstone farmhouse. Although today they are mostly associated with the holiday season, wreaths have a long history. In ancient Greece, they were hung on farmers’ doors year-round as part of a ritual intended to protect against crop failure and plagues. While this homestead no longer sits on a farm, the wreaths still represent a lasting tradition.
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A classic evergreen wreath graces the front door of the Pennsylvania-style fieldstone farmhouse. Its multiple-paned glass windows flanking the door add to the home’s 1930s-vintage charm. A thick silver ribbon hints at the elegant simplicity of the home’s interior, designed by Frank Babb Randolph.
A home can still be outfitted for the holidays sans snow. In Newport, strings of icicle lights wrap this home like a glittering Christmas package. A fixed horizontal shutter shading the front porch provides a second ledge for more lighting. Even the palm trees got into the spirit, their densely illuminated trunks framing the front yard.
A white oak front door is nestled in a stone niche to create an intimate entryway to this French-inspired home. Classic red and gold accents punctuate the lush greenery around the entrance; a thick crimson wreath is festooned with sparkling ribbons, dried water lily pods, and red berries.
Details on the following slides.
The entrance gate is bedecked in holiday greenery that takes on a festive glow when the sun goes down.
Pinecones and red berries lend colorful texture to the family’s mailbox. The bright greenery pops against a light coating of fresh snow.
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A Texas home exudes traditional Southern flavor with a deep porch and plenty of comfy seating. Casual wicker armchairs and matching ottomans are upholstered in beige all-weather fabric. A rocking horse dons a fluffy holiday wreath; urns are filled with evergreen and festive poinsettias for charming Christmas touches.
An Urban Twist
Decor goes vertical in this urban setting. A loft in downtown Aspen utilizes slender young trees outside to hold strings of glittering lights. Potted trees also twinkle softly underneath the second-floor deck.
Family-Friendly Christmas Customs
A pine tree strung with cranberries and popcorn is a classic Christmas staple that still tickles young and old alike. Seasonal sentiments of good will towards man (and beast) are put on display with this simple tradition. Children will appreciate the decorating process, while adults can savor the results. Best of all, the mess stays outside! Pinecones covered in birdseed provide wildlife with a little holiday treat.
Vibrant Entrance Display
Pomegranates and persimmon mingle with magnolia leaves, evergreen, and winter branches to form a cheerful and colorful display at the entrance of this home. Complemented by the front door’s silvery cobalt paint, these warm hues make a striking impression.
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Potted Red Branches
Festive red dogwood branches add depth and elegance to the entry’s holiday display. Potting urns are filled with sprigs of evergreen and pinecones for wintery touches.
Nature brings casual beauty to this end of the front porch. A blanched wooden table boasts organic curved legs, boughs of greenery, and scattered pinecones for a natural look. Corroded metal lanterns lend rustic beauty; the burning candles inside add to the classic Christmas feel.
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A beautiful home in Pacific Palisades, California, features a pediment-crowned entry framed with delicate branches of red berries and greens. A simple wreath of evergreen and pinecones adorns the front door, which opens into a courtyard.
A variation on the Charleston Single House style, this home is ready for the holidays with wreaths hanging in every window and other charming Christmas details. The red brick exterior sets off the vibrant greenery near the front of the house, where a loggia opens up to a “real” front door and access to the courtyard.
See more from this enchanting holiday home on the following slides.
Cheerful red glass vases nestled among holly and evergreen lend a delightful touch to the front entry.
More candlelight and Christmas lights illuminate the home from the outside. The backyard courtyard features a steeple-shaped structure filled with twinkling lights, which glows merrily after the sun goes down.
Muted stone fixtures on the patio allow for the homeowners to switch up their style based on the changing Charlotte seasons. During the holidays, they utilize candlelight, silvery details, and greenery to extend the holiday décor into the courtyard.
Tied with festive red bows, cherubs flanking the main entrance herald friends and visitors. Magnolia and holly are signature holiday greens of the South.
See more from this North Carolina holiday home. 
Décor and Architecture
A traditional holiday display reflects this home’s classic hallmarks of the Georgian Revival architectural style. Around the front entrance, pops of crimson punctuate the surrounding evergreen, which is historically a symbol of strength and renewal because of its resistance to cold weather.
Inspired and Personal Ornaments
Rather than using a conventional wreath on the front door, this homeowner opted for less traditional but far more personal decor. An oversized recipe card displays Grandma’s nut bread recipe, one of the family’s favorite holiday treats. Wooden spoons and colorful ornaments add a little sparkle and shine.
Stylish Outdoor Lighting
White orbs glow from the branches of an enormous tree in this festive front yard. A contemporary alternative to strings of lights that typically illuminate homes during the holidays, these elegant hanging lights complement the home’s traditional Tudor-style façade.
Grand Entry with Topiaries
Trimmed topiaries add flair to this home’s grand front entrance. Embellished with bright red bowties, they add texture and color to the porch. The stately trees stand in pots topped with red and silver glass balls, which are both inexpensive and weather-resistant. Behind, a wreath is decorated simply with a cheerful stocking.
Colorful Garden Details
A glass gazing ball is nestled in a bed of twinkling lights, pinecones, and greenery. Vibrant shots of cheerful red make a strong statement around the yard, especially after a fresh snowfall. Simple white lights help to illuminate the glass, casting a whimsical glow after dark.
Simply Alluring Door Decor
Simple design and plenty of color outside this Boston Federal-style townhome introduce the holiday décor inside the home. Fresh green and vibrant crimson establish a classic Christmas palette on the glossy front door; a peek inside shows the homeowners’ sophisticated, no-frills approach to interior holiday decorating.