Christmas Decoration Ideas for Inside & Out

Holiday time shouldn’t be stressful!

Decorating should be fun and can be done with family and friends. Here are some tips to get you going.

Indoor Christmas Decorations

  • Branching out. This free home decorating idea takes just a minute. All you need is a large leafless branch and a pitcher or hurricane lantern. Fill the pitcher with enough sand to hold the weight of the branch, then place the branch in the sand. If you’re using a clear lantern, fill with colored sand. Add more personality with a set of twinkling lights or ornaments with a theme or color. Set near the front door or stairway or make two to flank a fireplace.
  • Inside the box. Cut florist foam to fit an old wooden box (the more weathered, the better!). Add greenery — try trimmings from your Christmas tree — plus snippets of juniper, hemlock and holly branches. Tuck in pinecones, votives in glass canning jars or apples and pears for a rustic centerpiece for your mantel or table.
  • Family sentiments. The holidays are all about family, so place them front and center in your home decorating. Ask each member of your family for one word they feel sums up the holidays. Print their words on a piece of heavy-duty paper and cut each word out. Embellish the cards with a stencil, if you wish. Attach a piece of florist wire to the mantel or stair rail, then clothespin each word to the wire. Cover each end of the wire with a large velvet or burlap bow.
  • Forgo the red and green. Just because red and green are the holiday colors doesn’t mean you have to use them. If your living room is a color that clashes, play up that hue instead. For instance, a silver-sage living room becomes the backdrop for a white-and-silver color scheme. Choose white candles, silver candelabras, paper cutouts or German feather trees, spray-painted pine cones and twig wreaths, white poinsettias and white and silver pillow covers and throws.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t have to go crazy with the decorations. A grouping of same-color candles in the fireplace, a bowl of ornaments on the dining room table, an unadorned swath of greenery on the mantle all give nod to the season while staying subdued. If you have an open or glass-front china cabinet, add some pinecones or ornaments to the shelves. Have a collection of pitchers or glassware? Add a few bare branches to your favorites.

Outdoor Christmas Decorations

  • Gather the greenery. Swap out the flowers in your window boxes for an armful of cut evergreen and berry branches. Insert a florist bow and plastic gold or silver balls too. If you prefer, use potted dwarf conifers such as golden false cypress, boxwood, Old Gold juniper or even lavender.
  • Dine al fresco. Who says Christmas dinner needs to be in the dining room? Move the meal outside if you live in a warmer climate (or use outdoor heaters). Use an old plaid blanket as a tablecloth and set the table with mismatched white or old holiday china patterns. Add a runner of evergreen and twigs woven through with a colorful or burlap ribbon. Place hurricanes with candles intermittently down the center. Don’t be formal and matchy-matchy. Remember: you want rustic! Tie place cards to pinecones or natural brush ornaments.
  • Deck the outdoor halls. If you live in a warm climate, bring the holidays to the lanai or porch by incorporating the colors of the season. Typical holiday plants such as poinsettia or amaryllis will do just fine outside. And a plant on each table or a swag across the fireplace makes the season merry.
  • Festive façade. Dress your house for the holidays with a wreath on each window. The look is timeless, but you can easily make it modern with grapevine wreaths or rustic with naked evergreens and no bows. Too many windows for this to be practical? Center a battery-operated votive on each windowsill instead; flameless candles can be bought for about $15 a dozen.
  • Festival of lights. You don’t need to be Clark Griswold to light up your home— and you don’t need to use those “little twinkling lights.” Try a giant chain of snowflakes so your house twinkles in a different way, and add some to the trees, too.

Tired of the same old holiday decorations?

Mix it up this year.

A color scheme of ice white, silver and blue tones blend together for a fanciful sparkle.

And creative ideas give old items like ornaments new life.

By layering different shades and adding accents beyond the tree, you’ll create a look with an elegant touch.

Here’s how to get the look:

1. Frame Your Wreaths

Choose a mirror or frame that has a contemporary color to upgrade this decoration to a true piece of art.

Plus, it’s a perfect way to work around your existing decor.

2. Look for Basic Shapes

Let the shapes of Christmas inspire you.

Simple cylinders, circles and stars all represent the season’s silhouette, and can be embellished with lots of sparkle or bright colors for big impact.

3. Cohesive Colors

The color scheme you choose reflects your personality as much as the style of ornaments.

Pick nontraditional shapes, or mix in items that remind you of meaningful moments.

4. Get Creative with Gift Wrap

An easy way to pull double duty when gift-giving is to attach an ornament to the box.

Pair it with matching gift wrap, secure with ribbon and see how the gift of lasting memories is truly tied up with a bow!

5. Expert Wreath Lighting Tips

There are plenty of wreaths already equipped with lights, but if you want to do it yourself, keep the wreath’s size in mind.

Use a piece of string to wrap around the wreath for a rough estimate.

And make sure to keep in mind the extra length you’ll need to reach the outlet.

6. Take Ornaments Beyond the Tree

Christmas ornaments aren’t just for the tree.

Fill a decorative bowl with colorful balls to make a pretty centerpiece.

Keep the container’s color neutral so that the ornaments truly shine.

And feel free to mix it up!

Traditional single-hue ornaments get extra attention when they’re paired with others that use stripes or unusual shapes.

Paint faux branches and berries in complementary colors for an easy way to bring it all together.

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