Okay, so you are ready to deck the halls, or in this case, the front outside porch and yard, with boughs of holly. But have you really, really thought this through, as you try to contain your excitement about another Christmas Season coming?
The following are some practical tips for decking out your front porch and yard to make it everything you want it to be:
One, start with You. This is not about your neighbors, it is hopefully not about keeping up with the Jones’, and wonder of wonders, it may not even be about your distant relatives who are coming to visit this year for the first time in you can’t remember when. No, this is about you and what Christmas décor you want out on the front of your property. Like it or not, what décor you have there, ultimately makes a statement about who you are and what is important to you. That is why this suggestion is the first one on the list.
Two, look at your pocket book. Try to pre-determine how much your budget can allow, and go with that as much as possible. A little advance budgeting and planning can save you and your wallet a lot of headaches in the long term. We have all heard the horror stories about interior decorating that developed a life of its own, and put the owners behind the eight ball financially. Make your plan, and plan your Christmas Décor!
Three, consider the weather conditions you live in before putting out your exterior décor. If you live in wet, wintry conditions, consider items that are synthetic and resistant to moisture damage. Secure your décor if you live in windy conditions. Certain décor will become brittle and break in extreme weather conditions. Remember too, the impact of pets on your décor. Do you want your neighbor’s Kitty using your décor as a potential litter box? And what about Fido creating a yellow color icicle on your favorite wire reindeer?
Four, consider the amount of vandalism possible in your neighborhood. Choose décor that is robust and not easily removable, and/or is easily replaced.
Five, your Christmas décor does not have to be perfect in every way. Perfection is a state of mind. Create an ambience that makes you happy, and don’t be stressed about things that are not worth stressing about. A compelling Christmas porch is not just about mind symmetry but about emotion and passion. Live large and don’t worry about the odd imperfection in your décor. Is nature perfect? Does everything have to always be in its place? Shake things up with a bit of Christmas chaos.
Six, consider vintage shopping. After all, there is enough new stuff in the world. Consider upcycling from your favorite bargain store. Better yet, check your basement or attic for old items that bring back warm memories and nostalgia. Do you ever wonder what to do with Uncle Harry’s old taxidermy antlers or his old set of skis? Festoon them with pretty lights and tinsel, and everything old is Christmassy again.
Seven, one rule of thumb is to ensure that your outside porch décor has some alignment or flow with your inside décor. For those of you not into such alignment, a completely different outside theme may just be the ticket.
Eight, don’t let your outside Christmas décor be so excessive that it makes the outside of your property look like a Christmas store. The goal is not extravagance, as it is about creating a statement of beauty as befitting the season.
Nine, consider an out of the box décor experience by not only appealing to the visual but also to the sense of smell. Use fresh pine or cedar garlands and pots, to create an aroma of memory that is the great outdoors.
Ten, be environmentally sustainable. Consider décor that is not just plastic, dead, or stuffed. Choose living trees with root balls so that they can be planted in the subsequent spring. After all, in the place of conspicuous Christmas consumption, why not give back a little to the planet?
Eleven, be safe and practise electrical smarts when decorating your outside porch. Use electrical products that are designed for outside usage and are safety certified with either CSA or UL descriptions.
Twelve, use ground based spot lights as an alternative to stringing lights on a ladder. Your doctor and your back, and your insurance company will thank you for going with this safer installation approach.
Thirteen, should you have the space and inclination, strategize and create Christmas décor zones with your exterior ambience.
Fourteen, be kind to your letter carrier and others that come to your door. Creating an obstacle course and/or tripping hazard are not the purpose of outside Christmas décor. Better yet, stick a Christmas present in your mailbox for some true Christmas Cheer!
Fifteen, turn your window boxes into a multi-seasonal visual landscape. By winter, cover and fill your boxes with greenery and holly berries, or perhaps fill them with Christmas balls and lights instead.
Sixteen, consider whether you are artistically inclined or not. If you believe you do not have an artistic bone in your body, have a friend or loved one give you décor ideas. Remember, advice is free. If you have the budget, consider a professional exterior Christmas décor specialist who can truly enhance your outside space.
Seventeen, if you want to be the complete opposite of Scrooge, go exterior Christmas décor extreme and fill your yard and porch with extensive lighting and a myriad of décor items. Create a North Pole sensory experience and collect perishable food items for the local Food Bank, as admission for entering your winter wonderland. Hydro companies also offer rebates for such electrical usage.
Lastly, have fun and enjoy your Christmas décor. Let your personality shine through in whatever you decide to do. Be it ever so humble, or be it so extravagant, there is no place like Home.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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