By Jeanette DiCamillo
When Christmas enthusiasts plan their outdoor Christmas decorations, they are planning with the heart of a child. These hearts radiate inside when the glow of Christmas lights up ahead can be seen from within a dark car, looming with promises of personal touches and festive traditions. Each Christmas enthusiast tries to recreate this fantastical image for other kids and adults, understanding that some of the greatest joys of the holiday are the late night and early morning car rides, and the passing of a well lit Christmas home.
How do these artists of outdoor Christmas decor, these designers of lighted snowflakes, and these carpenters of holiday scenery manage to create such imaginative schemes? Do they coordinate with other neighbors to ensure even greater impact? It sometimes feels like they were born with some extra grace in life, because how do they manage to place so many lights in a front yard and keep it attractive?
Consider the homes we drive by every year, the homes we seek out. No matter which lighting scheme is chosen - elegant, playful, modern, a Winter Wonderland or the North Pole, outdoor Christmas decorations are fun.
To achieve the Elegant Christmas Award
When we think of an elegant Christmas home, white Christmas lights usually come to mind, which create a serene glow reminsiscent of the candle flames and star lights of Christmases of the past. Homes looking to capture an elegant look are accented well with topiary animals in the lawn. A vintage sleigh and reindeer evoke cherished childhood memories of Santa bringing gifts on Christmas Eve. An innocent fawn resting in the grass next to its mother reminds us of the sweetness the Christmas story tells. Topiary animals inspire playful imagination because they are so real-looking in their natural silhouettes, as if they are prancing and grazing in the yard. Chasing blue mini lights can be used to simulate flowing water like a stream the reindeer are standing near. With the right light and sound projector, lights can dance to music. To finish the elegant look, lighted wreaths and garlands can be added to trims of the home and fences.
To make the adults gasp
Outdoor Christmas decorations include some pretty unique options. Among those are hanging balls of light, also known as Starlight Spheres, which are becoming increasingly easier to find, in many shapes and sizes. Starlight spheres have a modern feel to them and can be used to make the home shine from afar. These spheres can be nestled in the bushes to give a celestial glow, hung from tree branches like snowballs or ornaments, or used on stakes to outline walkways or gardens. Kids can see them all the way down the road when coming or going on the school bus. Starlight spheres reflect multiple shimmering stars, standing apart from all the other strands of light. Some incorporate these spheres in customized light schemes, like red and white, and alternate them to make a fresh new trim.
Lighting up Trees
Walkway trees, or mini Christmas stake trees, are another way to decorate your yard or entrance to a neighborhood. Cluster walkway trees to make a mini tree farm in front of the sign of the neighborhood, or in bare areas of large lawns. Decorating trees and bushes with Christmas lights is as easy as throwing a net of lights up, although many professional decorators prefer to use individual light strands. The biggest and boldest impact? Switch to LED Christmas lights on trees, and add an occasional falling icicle or snowfall light. Falling icicles are a greater expense than traditional lighting, but they are starting to make an appearance in residential neighborhoods, and they are truly a sight to see, with multiple LED lights per tube, simulating falling snow or dripping icicles.
To create a Winter Wonderland, homes look brilliant and cheerful with unique snowflakes twinkling in all the windows. Even though some parts of the county may not see snow all year long, we can still live in a dreamy land drizzled with snowflakes. Lit snowflakes can be hung from house trim, on trees, or in the windows to have a wintry look. A lit Bethlehem Star can be hung high on a barn or garage as if guiding the Three Wise Men. Cool white LED lights are great for the winter wonderland theme, as well as a combination of blue and white lights.
A Visit to the North Pole
Multicolor enthusiasts enjoy the North Pole theme. They place Santa, snowmen, inflatables, motifs, candy canes and lights in the yard. Strands of light can be used to line the home and windows in multicolor lights or with selected color schemes, like red, white and green. There is a tendency for some North Pole decorators to enjoy going over the top, and we enjoy driving by and appreciating, as well as broadcasting on YouTube and posting on Flickr. From a single animated motif depicting elves filling a stocking with gifts, or Santa waving, to a yard over flowing with decorations, faces are bright and smiles are big when kids and adults take in the colors and animation.
Whichever magical theme you go with for your home, take a moment to calculate how much power can safely be used while getting the maximum display. When calculating power consumption, everything must be accounted for. Enthusiasts eager to display their collection of lights and decorations will need a few outdoor extension cords. Those with large yards, or who have decorations stretched to all corners of the lot, may find a power stake useful.The power stake provides that extra feet of cord and additional outlets needed to reach the garden area or the fence furthest from the home. Both the extension cords and the power stakes need to be rated safe for outdoor use.
When decorating outdoors, many wonder what to look for to ensure weather resistant decorations. A product great for indoor or outdoor use will be labeled as such, and should be used according to its intended use. A product featured for use in the outdoors has materials and coatings constructed with heavy-duty quality that will stand against harsh weather conditions. It will safely plug in with a tight water seal to protect from damage from moisture or the rain. Products made for outdoor use will function properly and maintain an attractive look over the years.
So this season, make your home the one everyone goes out of their way to see. Be sure to decorate all aspects of the home, including the barn, the fence and the mailbox to get the most impact. Use outdoor decorations as if the landscape is your personal greeting card to the world, filled with love and joy. Enthusiasts like myself can't wait to see what you do!