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Deck the Outdoors

Megan Mostyn-Brown
Deck the Outdoors
Home owners, start your decorating engines: the holidays are here, and it’s time for decking the halls inside and out. And while getting into the festive spirit is a do, having a house that the neighbors dub “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a major don’t. Make sure your house gets voted “best dressed” by keeping these “Dos and Don’ts” in mind. 
  • Do: Decorate. No one wants to be thought of as the neighborhood Grinch. If twinkle lights and nativity scenes aren’t your speed, keep it simple with a holiday wreath.


  • Don’t: Overdo the lights. Everyone loves a house decked out in holiday lights. What they don’t like is a lighting scheme that’s going to induce a seizure. Trim modestly and keep the twinkle to a minimum (your electric bill will thank you).


  • Do: Have a concept. You don’t need to have an all-out theme, but your outdoor décor should be cohesive. No mash-ups need apply (we mean you barnyard Christmas/ glitzy holiday). Stick to two or three colors max, and use an editing eye when adding decorations.


  • Don’t: Light up past 11 p.m. The quickest way to make an enemy out of your next-door neighbor is to keep him up with a “Happy Holidays” sign that blinks well into the wee hours of the morning. Pull the plug around 10 or 11pm at the latest.


  • Do: Go Green(ery). Winter is already a white wonderland. Give your yard some color by adding garlands, wreaths and even little potted fir-trees.


  • Don’t: Blast tunes. You may think you holiday mix hits the spot. The rest of the neighborhood probably has a different opinion. Keep the tunes indoors.


  • Do: Follow the neighbors’ lead. New to the ‘hood? Don’t end up being the odd man out. Check out how the rest of the families on the block deck the halls and then follow their lead.


  • Don’t: Be a copycat. Yes, stay within the aesthetic of the rest of the hood, but make sure to show off a little of your own personal style.


  • Don’t: Feel married to red and green. Mix it up this year: winter white, blue, silver and even gold feel just as in the holiday spirit as traditional Christmas colors.


  • Do: Remember bigger isn’t better. A giant bow for the front door? A life-sized nativity scene? They can make small houses look lost. Decorate on a scale that fits the build of your home.


  • Do: Be creative. Unexpected touches like a sleigh filled with faux Christmas gifts and a driveway lined in luminaries can make your house a stand out.


  • Don’t: Forget the holiday welcome mat. It’s a tiny touch that’s easily overlooked, but we bet guests will appreciate the gesture.

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