Exciting Exteriors

Remember your home's exterior when decorating for the holidays. With these inspiring photos and tips, your doors, windows, and fences will beam with seasonal spirit.


Adding fresh fruit to a wreath base or swag of greenery imparts bright color and a feeling of welcoming abundance.

A Fresh Array

+ enlarge image Pineapples symbolize hospitality.

Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to create a "fruitful" wreath like the one shown here. Pick different colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. Use floral wire to attach the fruit to a wreath base or a swag made of simple seasonal greens. Pineapples and oranges have a long tradition as holiday gifts, as their exotic origins signified abundance (and their vitamin C content contributed to good health).

Because fresh produce can be heavy, don't overload your wreath. And be sure to use a sturdy nail or hook to support the finished project.

Natural Influences

+ enlarge image Pomegranates provide cheery red color.

A wreath like this one has natural appeal for the holidays. Here, a foam base is covered with thin sheets of birch bark, then balls of grapevine, birch, and branch shavings were attached, along with pinecones, pomegranates, and fresh greens. Gold ribbon, miniature ornaments, and a rope garland add the finishing touches.

Go Grape

+ enlarge image Flowers are a perfect match for a grapevine wreath.

A grapevine wreath lasts forever and can be decorated for any season. Add dried flowers singly or massed for a touch of color. Raffia, cord, and household twine provide attractive homespun alternatives to the customary colored ribbon. Miniature wreaths decorated with individual flower buds make pretty candleholders.

Grains like wheat and oats serve a dual purpose when used as outdoor decor, filling in bare spots and serving as food for feathered friends. Plan to replenish these decorations at least once during the holiday season.

Window Wheat

+ enlarge image Birds love milo, millet, and wheat.

Treat the birds to a winter feast and your home to an elegant touch. To decorate your empty window boxes as shown, partially fill each box with sand and insert bundles of wheat. Add more sand around the bundles to keep them standing. Finish by wrapping each box with a garland of milo, millet, and wheat stems wired together.

More Great Grains

+ enlarge image Beribboned oats grace a fencepost.

Hang sheaves of wheat and oats on doors, or tie them with wide ribbon to posts or trees, as shown. Trim the sheaves with more bird-friendly treats such as berries, popcorn and cranberry garlands, and dried orange slices.

You can also cut slices of stale bread into holiday shapes with cookie cutters, then use a bit of wire to attach the shapes to your bird-friendly decoration, or hang it from one side with an ornament hook. Or make a whole garland for the backyard by stringing together cutouts from a variety of breads, like white and pumpernickel.

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