9 Stunning Outdoor Christmas Light Ideas

Illuminate your home with twinkling lights or colorful yard displays this season.

Declare the start of the holiday season with your own Christmas light unveiling, a la Clark Griswold. From string lights meticulously spaced on your roof to a herd of twinkling reindeer grazing in your front yard, decking your home with lights is guaranteed to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to the neighborhood.

christmas lights on white house

John Granen

Transform your home into a winter wonderland this season with the flick of a switch—or an automatic timer if you’re the techy type. The front yard is an extension of your home, so it deserves just as much attention as the interior. Outdoor lighting elevates a home’s aesthetic, highlighting charming architectural or horticultural features and adding a nostalgic holiday feel to your home.

To help you get started, we've rounded up the best Christmas light options at a variety of price points and gathered our favorite outdoor light ideas for Christmas.

outdoor Christmas lights

Greg Scheidemann

1. Modern Bulb Lights

Keep your holiday look simple with a strand of evenly-spaced bulb lights. These large once-retro lights are back in style, and will give your home's exterior a clean and tidy look. Be forewarned that these lights take longer to put up, because each one needs to be attached to the roofline individually to keep all the lights evenly spaced and pointing the same direction.

lights and garland front door

Adam Albright

2. Frame the Front Door with String Lights

String lights add magic to any outdoor space year-round, making them a worthy and affordable investment. More than a decorative feature, string lights offer a way to create outdoor zones, like a dining or seating area, or to highlight a focal point, such as a front door or walkway. Experiment with different styles of bulbs, like classic globes, teardrops, and squirrel cages. You can also customize the color of your LEDs to a series of red, green, and white bulbs for a fun, festive party look.

3. Light the Way with Candy Cane Lights

Turn your pathway into a candy cane lane for the holiday season with candy cane stake lights. The sweet Christmas staple adds a fun, whimsical glow to your home and alludes to the gingerbread house tradition. Play up the sugar-coated theme by outlining the key features of your home, like the eaves, doorway, and windows, with string lights, the same way you would ice the spiced cookie equivalent.

christmas lights on white house

John Granen

4. Use String Lights like the McCallisters

Recreate the Christmas Hollywood favorite with a Home Alone-inspired Christmas light display. (And no, we don’t mean hiding life-size cutouts of Marv and Harry in the bushes.) Instead, we’re talking about the classy arrangement of string lights that elegantly framed their roof line. Stick to evenly-spaced warm white lights for a classic look, and continue the theme by hanging pre-lit garlands or a twinkling Christmas wreath on the front door.

outdoor reindeer christmas light decor

Citysqwirl / Getty Images

5. Create a Christmas Scene with Festive Figures

Bring the magic of Christmas to life with head-turning twinkling outdoor Christmas figures. Stand a majestic stag by your front walkway to welcome guests, or give your home a Santa’s grotto feel with reindeer and sleigh parked on your front porch. If your front garden space is limited, create a Christmas narrative on your roof instead. Whatever free-standing festive figures you choose, they’re guaranteed to make a charming, show-stopping centerpiece.

6. Brighten Your Home with a Christmas Light Projector 

Shower your home with Christmas spirit with an LED light projector. Choose from a range of displays, from snowflakes and snowmen to Santa Claus or twinkling lights and falling snow effects. Outdoor Christmas light projectors will undoubtedly bring festive cheer to your neighborhood. However, the best thing about this type of Christmas lighting is that they remove the hassle of de-tangling light strands, stringing extension cords, and climbing up ladders. When buying a projector, the key things to look for are display modes, brightness, and the surface area covered. You'll also want to make sure it's water-resistant and outdoor-friendly.

Christmas lights on house exterior at dusk
Werner Straube

7. Wrap the Trees in Sparkling String Lights 

Wrap the bare trees in your garden with twinkling Christmas lights. Select a tree or two with an attractive form and even distribution of branches that will create a striking focal point. String lights are best for this as they can be wrapped easily, evenly, and neatly around the tree trunk and onto the branches. Pay attention to the color of the lights, as this will determine the overall look. Bright white or blue string lights create an icy look, whereas warm white light offers a more classic and cozy vibe. Opt for multi-colored lights for a fun, colorful feature.

white christmas lights on house

ArtBoyMB / Getty Images

8. Guarantee a White Christmas with Icicle Lights 

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Adorn your house with icicle lights to turn it into a frosty grotto. These string lights are designed to look like real icicle drops and are typically hung from the eaves with staggered strings of LEDs dangling down. They also look pretty hung just above a window, allowing them to be enjoyed both indoors and out. Look for icicle lights with various brightness, colors, and lighting modes, so you can alter them throughout the holiday season to match the desired mood.

star light outdoor Christmas decor
Kim Cornelison

9. Add Some Sparkle with Starburst Lights 

Add bursts of Christmas spirit to your outdoor space with hanging starburst lights. Otherwise known as outdoor firework lights, they have a subtle yet sophisticated look, lending a gentle glow and a touch of sparkle to an outdoor space. Hang a series of them in a tree or from a pergola, or if you don’t have much hanging space, line your driveway with starburst steak lights instead. 

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles