I decided that in the spirit of the holiday season, in might be fun to write a series of blog posts that focus on decorating and preparing your home for this festive season. I’m always interested in hearing new ideas so I thought maybe you would like to hear mine. In this first post, I will offer 5 simple and budget friendly steps to creating your own outdoor wonderland.
1. Clean up the yard. This is so simple yet so very important. Don’t try to decorate over piles of leaves and debris that has settled during the fall season – it’s a distraction from the beauty you’re about to design. You want your display to look its best, right? All this step costs is a little of your time. For starters, rake and burn your leaves (safely and only if your town permits doing so, otherwise discard the leaves appropriately), and dispose of any debris that has blown onto your property. You’ll be especially pleased in the spring when this task is behind you.
2. Shop online garage sale sites for deals on outdoor holiday décor. For example, I belong to a few local garage sale pages through Facebook. I find deals that are comparable to shopping summertime garage sales. Most sellers are willing to meet you at a location that is close to home (I highly recommend meeting at a neutral location for safety reasons). I recently found a huge inflatable Santa on one of these pages for only $10! These can cost as much as $100 in a big box store – or more! Just make sure you ask the seller if there are any defects and if the product is up to your quality standards. Keep in mind that, similar to a traditional garage sale, most sellers will negotiate on the price.
3. Hang a wreath or several wreaths. This is one of the most simple, cost effective, and beautiful ways to show off your holiday spirit. A wreath on the front door is welcoming and inviting. You can purchase wire wreath forms (find these in dollar stores and craft stores) and simply glue or wrap in greens that you find organically outside (other options include using the trimmings from your Christmas tree, or go to a local tree farm and ask for the trimmed “scraps” – you can usually get these at no cost). Bows of all colors can be found in your local dollar store – personalize your wreath with a color that you like. To add even more color to the wreath, infold ribbon around it, and tie in ornaments, again found in your local dollar store. Another option is to wrap holiday ribbon entirely around the wreath form (overlapping as you go so none of the form is visible) and tie some bundled greens to the side or top with ribbon and create your own one-of-a-kind wreath. If your budget allows, hanging wreaths on all the windows in front of your home is a beautiful and simple way to add a festive touch.
4. Nothing says Happy Holidays like holiday lights. But, if you’re like me and you don’t have outlets available outside the front of your home, displaying lights can be challenging. Here’s a tip – buy battery powered lights. These can be found fairly inexpensively at your local hardware store. While there, purchase a tomato cage (these too are not costly). Wrap the cage with the lights and bingo – you have a beautiful display of holiday lights for the front porch. If you want to add a little more character to this, simply attach a bow to the top, or stick greens found in your backyard in and around the cage. Another DIY option is to use a couple of flower pots (medium to large size), put a couple of large rocks in the bottom of each for weight, and randomly place cut firewood and branches (varying lengths and sizes) in the pots. Wrap your battery powered lights around the wood and branches. Place one pot on either side of your front door and you have a gorgeous entry display that you won’t feel pressured to remove immediately after the holidays. Why not leave this up all winter long?!
5. One final tip for outdoor holiday decorating that can be left in place all winter: reuse your pumpkins (those that aren’t carved, of course) and create your own Frosty. You’ll need one large and one smaller pumpkin. Spray paint them white (found in your local dollar store). Place one small pumpkin atop the larger one and secure by “gluing” them together with white caulk. Glue 3 buttons in a vertical line, spaced about 1 inch apart, to the front of the larger pumpkin (we all have a basket of extra buttons laying around, but if you don’t – these can be purchased very inexpensively at your local thrift store). To create a top hat, spray paint a coffee can the color black and glue that to a sheet of black felt/foam (cut into a circle larger than the diameter of the can). Sheets of felt/foam can be purchased at any craft store and sometimes at the dollar store. This of course sits on top of the smaller pumpkin as a top hat. To create a face, either paint on the eyes, nose (use orange to mimic the look of a carrot), and mouth; or, use pompom balls and glue the face onto the front of the smaller pumpkin. Tie a scarf around the neck and you have your very own Frosty!
I hope you enjoyed this first holiday blog post. Do you have ideas to share? We’d love to hear from you so please offer comments below. Happy holiday decorating!