75 Outdoor Christmas Lighting Ideas That Will Have the Town Talking - Page 2 of 3 - Backyard Boss
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75 Outdoor Christmas Lighting Ideas That Will Have the Town Talking

Table of Contents

Backlight Large Wooden Decorations

Wooden Christmas Tree Decoration
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When decorating with lights, most people assume that the lights themselves need to be front and center, visible to everyone in order to be appreciated. However, this outdoor light idea challenges that concept by using light and shadows in a creative way. You will need an outdoor spotlight and a wooden silhouette of some form. This could be a Christmas tree, snowman, reindeer, Santa Claus, or any other image that is associated with the holiday season.

Paint the front of your wooden decoration so that everyone can enjoy it during the day, but the real magic comes when the sun goes down. Position your spotlight to shine at the back of your cut-out, making it glow in the dark and highlighting the shape. It will also create a fun and festive shadow on the ground.

Light Up Christmas Trees Made From Pallets

Wooden Pallet Christmas Tree in the Garden
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If you are looking to tap into your creative side with a fun holiday-themed DIY, this is a lighting idea that you should try. All you need is a pallet, a saw, paint in your color of choice, and a string of Christmas lights. To start, lay the pallet on the ground so that the internal support beams are vertical, with the exterior boards stretching across horizontally. Mark the top center point of the pallet. Tip: There will be a support beam running along the middle to help you locate this spot. Draw a line from the marked point to each of the lower corners creating a triangular shape, then carefully cut along these lines. You will be left with a wooden structure that resembles a tree.

Now that you have your structure, it’s time to decorate! Start by painting your new Christmas tree to complement your outdoor decorating style. You can paint it all one color, alternate colors on each of the boards, or even paint on details like ornaments or snow sitting on the branches of the tree. After the paint has had time to dry, wrap a string of Christmas lights around the tree to give it that festive glow.

Decorate Your Porch with Mason Jar Lights

Christmas Fairy Lights in a Mason Jar
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A cute and more subtle DIY, you can transform mason jars into rustic lanterns to hang around your front porch area for some extra light. Before you get started, you will need to decide how you are going to light up your lanterns. This will largely depend on your personal style choices with the two most common options being a string of battery-operated string lights or flickering battery-operated tealights. In addition to the lighting, you will also need mason jars, acrylic paint, and, if you plan on hanging your lanterns, wire, or twine.

The first step is to decorate your mason jar, keeping in mind that anywhere you paint will block the light from shining through when your lantern is turned on in the dark. You can paint your lantern with the idea of creating festive silhouettes of with the paint, allowing the rest of the jar to glow, or paint all but the area that you want to show as a reverse silhouette.

Once the paint has dried, place your lighting option inside the jar. You can include clear cellophane with battery-operated lights to help prevent them from all gathering at the bottom. Then, place your jars on your windowsills, on a patio table, or along your front porch railings. You can also hang your new lanterns by wrapping twine or wire around the neck of the jar and creating a loop that extends up from each side.

Create Christmas Light Balls

Hand Pointing at a Light Ball
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For those with large, open yards, decorating can often feel overwhelming. Outside of using large inflatables, how else are you supposed to cover so much ground without trees or structures to break it up? One creative idea that has been gaining popularity is to craft large Christmas light balls. These festive balls of brightly colored light look like oversized ornaments sitting out in the yard, their glow adding color to the snow all around them, and they are relatively easy to make. All you need is chicken wire and LED Christmas lights.

To start, you need to take a large piece of chicken wire and cut it to your desired size. The larger the chicken wire, the larger your final light ball. When choosing the size, you want to try to maintain a length-to-width ratio of approximately 2:1. Roll the chicken wire into a cylinder shape, securing it along the side with small pieces of wire (you can use the extra chicken wire from cutting it to size to create small lengths of wire for this). Carefully bend the ends of the cylinder in creating a ball shape, securing them as you go. When you’re happy with the shape of your light ball, wrap the entire structure with LED Christmas lights, using as many strings as necessary to achieve the final look that you desire.

Add Christmas-Themed Light Covers to Your Porch Lights

Snowman with light up ornament
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An easy way to add a festive touch to your front porch or entryway, Christmas-themed light covers are plastic covers that easily slide over your existing porch lights. These can be purchased at most big-box or home renovation stores for a low price, making it a cheap and easy decorating idea. If you can’t find them ready-made to purchase somewhere, you can also make your own! Visit your local dollar store and search for large plastic containers/buckets that are shaped like your favorite festive characters. Carefully cut a line down the back of the bucket to allow you to slide it over your porch light and it will work just like the purchased covers.

Light Up Your Front Window

Christmas lights in the window.
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If all your favorite decorations are indoor decorations and you would prefer to keep them indoors and out of the elements, this is a great solution. Window decorations are a practice that many stores use to showcase their holiday spirit and one that you can enjoy as well! If you have a front picture window, you have the perfect stage for your outdoor decorating plans. Choose brightly colored and dramatic pieces to allow them to catch the eye of any passerby and, of course, don’t forget to include lights for the best nighttime effect. After all, our nights ARE longer during the winter months. Why not make the most out of it?

Decorate a Traditional Tree on Your Porch

Christmas tree and rocking chair on porch
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Many of the items on this list focus on new, unique ideas that you may not have heard of before coming to our site, but what about stripping it back to the most basic lighting ideas? What is Christmas without a traditional Christmas tree? If you have a covered porch area, you can set up a traditional Christmas tree outdoors without having to stress about the impact of the elements on your decorations. You will, however, want to avoid anything that could freeze with the outdoor temperatures! This is a great compromise for those couples who each have a tree theme that they want to embrace, allowing one to call the shots on the indoor tree while the other person claims the outdoor tree. You can even swap trees each year to change it up a bit and make everything fair. Don’t skimp on the lights – there are never TOO many lights on an outdoor tree, after all.

Create Shimmering Ice Lanterns

Ice lantern
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Ice lanterns are a cute and simple DIY option that you can enjoy with the kids this holiday season. You will need two containers, one smaller than the other to create the hollowed-out middle portion of the lantern, something to weigh down the smaller container, random festive decorations, and battery-operated tealights. To begin, add water to your larger container, placing the smaller container in the middle. You can either weigh this container down by adding something just heavy enough to push it into the water but still allow it to float with water underneath for the base of your lantern or place a board across the top that pushes it down into the water. Either way, you want the water to surround all sides and the bottom of the smaller container while leaving the top open.

While the water is still in its liquid state, it’s time to add decorations to your lantern. This is the fun part for younger children as they choose what to drop in the water and freeze. Some fun ideas include cranberries, small twigs or branches of trees in your yard, decorative grapevine balls, plastic Christmas ornaments, and, of course, glitter. What child-friendly DIY would be complete without glitter? Place your lantern in the freezer and give it time to completely freeze all the way through. When it’s finished, remove the outer and inner containers to reveal your decorating for all to see. Place your battery-operated tealights in the hollowed-out center and allow their flickering light to create a subtle ambient glow on your porch throughout the season. As long as the temperatures stay cold enough, your lantern will continue to stand proudly outdoors.

Add Fairy Lights to an Outdoor Fire Pit

Snowy Winter Background with Fairy Lights
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Do you have an outdoor fire pit visible on your property that no one is using during the colder winter season? If so, you can incorporate your fire pit into your decorating plans for the holidays. The concept is simple, using standard LED Christmas lights to create the ‘glow’ of your fake fire. First, take a few smaller pieces of wood and stack them to look like you are starting a fire in a teepee or log cabin formation. Using red or orange Christmas lights to best represent flames, wrapping them carefully around the base of the wood down inside the firepit. When you plug them in, the glow of the lights will illuminate the wood giving the appearance of a fire’s gentle glow.

Build a Christmas Tree from a Ladder and Lights

Christmas tree ladder
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Ladder trees are nothing new, this is a fad that has taken websites and crafting communities like Pinterest by storm. The concept is simple and all you need is a step ladder and a collection of holiday lights. Step ladders support themselves with their a-frame design, saving you from any structural work. However, depending on where you are setting it up, you may wish to stake your ladder down or weigh down the bottom of the ladder to keep it from blowing over. When you’re confident that your ladder is secure and not going anywhere, start wrapping lights around it to transform a basic ladder into a fun and festive decoration. You can take this all one step further if you choose, adding ornaments, decorative presents around the base, and a holiday tree topper.

Use a Fun Holiday Light Projector

.Abstract Use of Bokeh Blur Vivid Colors
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Holiday light projectors have quickly become a staple of the holiday season with many different options available in the holiday aisles of any big box store. These projectors use a lens with displays a specific picture such as Santa Claus, snowflakes or Christmas presents. When turned on, the projector shines a light through this lens, projecting the image onto the wall of your house. They often come with different settings where the images move around, adding to the fun. These are easier to set up than your traditional string lights,

making them a great choice for those who want to celebrate the holiday season without putting too much work into their display. For best results, pay careful attention to the recommended projection distance as moving your projector too far away from the wall can weaken the strength of the light to the point that it can’t be seen properly.

Create a Tree with Christmas Lights and a Center Post

Vibrant Christmas Light Tree in Christmas Light Garden
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For those that are looking for a fun decorating option that will cover more space and aren’t afraid to put a little extra work into accomplishing it, this is a fun DIY that will catch the eye of anyone passing your home. To start, you need to create a solid center support pole. If you already have a pole like a flagpole available at your house, you can use that. If not, consider securing a pole by pouring concrete into a large flowerpot and allowing it to dry with your tree pole in the middle. The weight of the concrete will keep it from blowing over.

To build out your Christmas tree, you will need to attach several strings of Christmas lights to the top of the pole. One at a time, you want to take a string of lights and stretch it out from the center pole so that it’s at approximately 45-degrees before using a tent peg or stake to secure the end of the light string to the ground. Do this all the way around your ‘tree’, evenly spacing out your lights.

Build a Lighted Christmas Sign

Merry Christmas Sign Lights
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Does your decorating vision include festive signage? Whether you display a simple Welcome sign all year long or enjoy changing the signage on your front porch to suit the season, adding Christmas lights to your sign can quickly transform it for the holidays. Depending on the design of your sign, you can temporarily add lights by wrapping Christmas lights around it or draping the lights across the top of the sign. However, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, consider drilling small holes that the lights can be fed through individually, working the lighting strategically into the sign. For example, you could add lights to lettering to give it a little extra punch or add lights as they fit into an image, such as for truck headlights, stars in the sky, or a glowing fire.

Wrap Lights Around a Frame to Create an Easy DIY Wreath

Christmas Lights Wreath in Wooden Background
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Are you looking for a quick and easy wreath option that doesn’t look identical to every other wreath on your street? While the traditional greenery is certainly a beautiful, classic look, it’s not right for everyone. All you need to make your own wreath is an old picture frame, battery-operated Christmas lights, 3 or 4 tree ornaments, and ribbon. Using the ribbon, suspend the ornaments in the middle of the frame. You can hang them all from a single ribbon or hang them at varying heights to add some dimension. Above the ornaments, at the top of the frame, create a large ribbon loop for hanging your wreath. Finally, wrap your lights around the frame all the way around. When you turn on the lights, they will give it a beautiful festive glow on your front door.

Stick to All One Color

christmas flashing lights
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The traditional decorating approach of hanging strings of Christmas lights on the house and trees in your yard is a fun one, but how do you change it up from one year to the next? If you’re getting bored of your current decorating style, why not try changing all your lights over to a single color. This includes not only the string lights that you are putting up, but also any lights on decorations on the porch, lights on your Christmas wreath, and even the bulbs that are in your outdoor porch lights. You can choose any color depending on your personal preferences, selecting a traditional Christmas shade of green or embracing your favorite color. If you get bored in a couple of years, simply change out the bulbs for a new color and it will all look brand new once again.

Add Lights to Your Child’s Playground

City playground for Christmas
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When hanging Christmas lights, you likely target your outdoor trees, the house itself, and any other buildings, but what about your child’s playground equipment? These structures are often left forgotten in the yard, unused due to the cold weather. By adding holiday lights, you can incorporate them into your outdoor decorations and give the area some life. If the weather permits, it may even encourage your children to get up and moving once again. After all, what child wouldn’t love hanging out in a fort lit up with colored lights or swinging on a swing set with lighting on the sides. Just be mindful of any moving areas or places where your lights could interfere with your child’s use so that you can hang them safely for everyone to enjoy.

Craft Colorful Star Lights

Bright Star-Shaped Light
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Another fun DIY option, your color choices for this lighting is limited only by the colors of corrugated plastic sheeting that are available at your local home improvement store. Cut your plastic sheeting into large star shapes and then, using a drill, create holes just large enough to accommodate the bulbs on your string of Christmas lights, spacing the lights out across the surface of the star. You can leave this as a one-sided decoration, hanging it on the wall or against a post, or you can add additional pieces to create a 3-D hanging light with Christmas lights featured on all sides, the option is yours!

Light Up Benches and Patio Chairs

vintage white bench outside the house
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Do you have a picnic table, bench, or other patio furniture on your front porch or in your front yard? If so, why not include them in your decorating plans? Adding a string of Christmas lights to any furniture or outdoor features will help to incorporate a larger area of your property into your decorating plans while preventing you from having to work around these items as you would when viewing them as obstacles. Get creative and have some fun with it. One of the most creative holiday displays that I have ever seen incorporated a large outdoor bench with lighting and a sign that announced it was a ‘Reindeer rest stop’. The decorations themselves were fairly simple but the concept was the talk of the neighborhood for its creativity!

Mimic Fireworks with Starburst Lights

Abstract Blurred Christmas Light Bokeh Background
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Starburst lights are a fun type of commercially available light that is designed to closely resemble a firework as it bursts in the air. They are often made from flexible and shapable materials, giving you’re the freedom to adjust the size or shape slightly as needed to suit your space. Many of these starburst lights include a remote control, making it easy to switch between different lighting modes. Not only will these lights look good as part of your Christmas decorating, but the versatile designs also make them easy to incorporate into your decorations for other holidays. They would even add a touch of holiday magic when decorating for a winter wedding!

Hang a Wreath with Twinkling Lights

Christmas Green Wreath on Cedar Background
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The image of a traditional Christmas wreath hanging from the front door is one that many look forward to when the holiday season approaches. However, you don’t have to let your love of classic decorations stop you from embracing your love for bright, flashy Christmas lights! The easiest way to incorporate some lights is to add some warm white lights to your wreath. This would allow you to maintain that traditional aesthetic while still adding a little glow. If you’re looking for something even flashier, change up the color for something brighter or more eye-catching. Choose lights that flash, fade, or twinkle for some additional fun.

Wrap Net Lights Around Shrubs and Hedges

Hedge Glow with lights
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Taking the time to wrap lights around your shrubs or hedges may be more than you are currently interested in committing to. Especially with all the additional demands on our time that come with the holiday season. The good news is that there is a solution! Net lights are traditional string lights that are connected in a grid pattern, allowing them to spread out and cover a large space with minimal effort. They are available in a wide variety of colors ranging from soft white to bright combinations including blue, green, purple, and red. Whatever your decorating theme or inspiration, you can find the right lights to compliment it beautifully.

Incorporate Elves Repelling with Lights

Christmas Elves with lights on green background
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A fun way to add some lights to your holiday decoration is to tie them into a larger scene, incorporating lights where you may not expect to see them. Last Christmas, I had the opportunity to see a perfect example of this in action. The homeowner decorated their house and front yard all with an elf-focused theme, showcasing elves making toys, packing the sleigh, and building snowmen. My favorite part, however, was the way that they used lights while decorating the front of the house. Hanging from the roof, as if they were repelling down the side of the house, were three elves with bags of toys. What were they using to repel? The lights that had once been placed along the edge of the roof!

Setting up a display like this is relatively easy. You will need several strings of Christmas lights and some elf figurines. Hang your lights along the edge of the roof, allowing the end to hang down along the side of your house. You can then take your elf figurines and secure them to the side of the house, placing the string of lights in their hands. The larger the house, the more elves that you can incorporate into your decorating plans. Can’t find a plastic elf figurine? Pick up a standard baby doll and dress it up in an elf costume.

Project Lights onto the Surface of the Porch

Wooden house porch decorated for Christmas
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While projection lights are most often used to project images on the walls of your house, that’s not the only way that these fun lights can be used! Rather than setting your light up in the yard, pointed at the house, why not try setting it up above your front porch. Be careful to secure your light somehow to the roof over your porch. You want to be sure that it’s not going to go anywhere with regular foot traffic moving beneath it. When you turn the light on, you can enjoy snowflakes, Christmas presents, or any other festive design you desire as they dance across your porch, welcoming anyone that comes to visit.

Use Curtain Lights on Your Gazebo

Christmas Gazebo
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Curtain lights are a series of light strings that hang side by side from a central cord creating a wall of light, or a curtain. These are often used for weddings and events to decorate a large space in a short period of time, however, there are other creative ways that you can use these lights in your decorating plans. One great way to incorporate curtain lights is by hanging them from the sides of your outdoor gazebo or patio space. Not only do they fill up a large space, but they can also be pulled back just like a curtain, creating an easy entryway.

If you are unable to find curtain lights in the right colors for decorating scheme, you can DIY your own set. All you need is a length of wire long enough to stretch across the desired area, light strings, zip plugs (or electrical connectors), and electrical tape. The zip plugs will allow you to attach multiple string lights along the base wire, securing one to the next so that they can all be powered. Wrap the plugs securely with electrical tape to protect them from the elements when your DIY curtain lights are hung outdoors.

Fill Porch Lanterns with Christmas Lights

Christmas Lantern
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Do you currently use decorative lanterns on your porch during the holiday season? A common holiday decorating item, we often fill lanterns with evergreen boughs, candles, or Christmas tree ornaments. However, a fun way that you can use these decorations while incorporating some extra lighting on your porch would be to take a string of lights and place them inside. You can use just the lights on their own or incorporate other holiday decorations to change it up as you see fit. You can even repurpose your decorations for other holidays by changing the color of the lights or the other decorations to suit each theme.

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