Magical Outdoor Christmas Lights

Light up the outside of your home this Christmas season with ideas that are as simple as they are magical.

  • view all thumbnails
Starry, Starry Nights
Starry Nights Basket

    Make hanging baskets sparkle all winter long by lighting them from within. Use coiled vine baskets without liners, and push a 100-bulb string of small pearl lights from inside to out around each basket. Place clear plastic ornaments in the basket as filler. On top, pile a 50-bulb string of small white lights and a string of prelit metal stars to shine above.

Luminous Lanterns

    Old-fashioned lantern posts are classic, but this holiday season wrap them in lush garland and glowing globes for an ethereal holiday look.

Earthy Entrance

    Build tall floral arrangements by tightly wrapping white and red lights around pillars along your entryway. Top the pillars with twig and evergreen wreaths. Then add green mesh material and red curly twigs found at crafts stores for a fun, earthy entrance.

Dreamy Door

    Dress up a boring doorway with a red and green color scheme. A door outlined with garland, glowing lights, and red bows complements the hanging wreath. A grouping of poinsettia plants adds the perfect punch of holiday cheer.

Glowing Garland

    Embellish a porch or balcony with loops of garland intertwined with glowing lights. Big red bows are a welcome sight to any holiday visitor.

Hanging Icicles

    These icicles, made with window screen and plastic wrap adorned with white lights and baubles, are as perfectly imperfect as the real thing.

White Christmas Lighting Display

    If wrapping endless strings of lights around tree branches leaves you tangled up in knots, try something simpler. Wire trees that come with prestrung lights are ready to be "planted" indoors or out. They're available in several heights and colors, so you can vary the look from natural to whimsical. Hardware stores often carry the widest selection.

Star-Bright Lights

    A loose stringing of lights on a sparse tree gives the look of stars twinkling in the night sky. A spotlight on an elegant wreath will light the way for weary travelers.

A Warm, Lit Welcome

    Clustered on a pine table, a mix of new and antique lanterns greets holiday guests. Be sure to include a range of styles and sizes. Elevate some lanterns on pedestals to vary heights. As a final touch, sprinkle in natural elements, such as moss-covered twigs and evergreen sprigs. Be sure to never leave an open flame unattended.

White Magic

    Give new dimension and beauty to an exterior building, such as a garden shed or detached garage, by illuminating it with winter white lights. Line the walkway with votives, too, such as these large metal votives specifically designed for outdoor use.

Let It Glow

    Turn paper bags into dramatic luminarias by cutting out your own designs with a crafts knife, hole punches, and scissors.

Oh, Christmas Tree

    Reminiscent of a circle of carolers, candle-filled buckets ring an evergreen tree for a luminous display. Fill the buckets with snow (or sand) and insert cylinder-shape glass globes to keep the wind from blowing out the candles. A variety of bucket, candle, and globe sizes gives the grouping a quirky quality. If you don't have enough buckets of the same color, spray-paint them.

Cherub's Bouquet

    Make the most of garden statuary when planning your outdoor decor. This garden angel's gleaming bouquet creates a dramatic interplay of light and shadow on the sculpted stone.

Winter Topiary

    Make a topiary of light and air by wrapping tiny white bulbs around a wire form. Perch the lit orb in a garden urn.

Window Wattage

    Windows outlined in white lights stand out in the darkness, illuminating a home full of welcome and cheer.

Lantern Pendants

    Hang multiple lanternlike, outdoor lights from a sturdy tree branch to create a welcoming glow on a cold winter's night.

Window Box Chic

    Fill a window box with greenery studded with lights to glitter in the icy air all season long.

Swags of Light

    When creating an outdoor light display, work with the layout of your home, fence, or gate. Light swags work perfectly on the fence shown here, accented by a slender twig tree that sits in front of the tall brick pillar.

Arbor of Light

    Here's a great look for those living in warmer climates. Icicle lights have been draped over a vine-covered arbor, creating an archway of holiday magic.


    This mound of shimmering spheres looks like snowballs just waiting to be thrown. Arranged in an urn beside the front door, the spheres are plugged into a power strip hidden inside, then stacked and accented with boxwood greenery. A single strand of fishing line wrapped around the spheres keeps the stack secure.

Wrapped in Light

    Coils of white lights loop over the rails of a garland-draped fence. Choose strings with large frosted bulbs for a nostalgic feel. While making the coils (use one string of lights per coil), twist the cord and adjust the loop lengths so the bulbs face outward, spaced unevenly. Secure the coils with plastic cable ties. Simply toss them over fence posts where the garland swoops upward. This effect can also work on a porch rail or stair banister.

For the Birds

    To illuminate hard-to-reach places, stuff strings of battery-operated mini lights into the glass cylinder of a galvanized bird feeder. No need to worry about extension cords, though you will need to replace the batteries fairly often.

Hanging Lanterns

    Hung from the roofline of a shed or garage, lanterns herald the holiday season. Hooks for hanging baskets keep the lanterns a safe distance from the structure.

More Outdoor Decorating Ideas
Popular Slideshows
Want to give your home a mini-makeover in a weeken...

Stitch up one of these soft, charming pillows and ...

If you don't have any young goblins at your house,...

FULL YEAR just $5.99
Click Here!

Related Links
Want to give your home a mini-makeover in a weeken...

Stitch up one of these soft, charming pillows and ...

If you don't have any young goblins at your house,...

Create a perfect outdoor spot by incorporating sha...

Share Your Thoughts