When I think about exterior holiday decor, my tastes lean less towards Griswold and more towards McCallister. Unfortunately for me, I neither live in a McCallister-like mansion, nor do I have a McCallister-like budget for exterior Christmas decor. So how do we achieve a McCallister inspired look with tons of holiday spirit? Nearly all of the decorative elements are reusable and we add a few “fresh” seasonal touches to make it look more expensive than it actually is. Most importantly, you’ll achieve a simple and classic Christmas feel without expensive electronics or inflatables. I hate inflatables. There, I said it. 

Areas of your home to add exterior Christmas decor

The primary rule for classic Christmas decorations is keep it extremely simple and consistent. Choose your theme and stick with it throughout. This consistent look will ensure your outdoor decor is cohesive across the entirety of your property. To achieve our classic Christmas look, we focused on a few specific locations to bring out that characteristic holiday charm: 

  • Fencing
  • Windows
  • Porch/stoop
  • Doors
  • Lamp post

Christmas Decor For Your Fence


Our fencing spans half the length of our property and is pretty jarring in terms of the amount of space it takes up. We live on a corner property so it’s very visible from the street and we also get a good amount of foot and vehicle traffic passing our home on a normal day. So it’s even more important to us to try to decorate the entire length of our property and not just leave the fence completely bare. To achieve our desired look, we invested in faux garland, faux wreaths, simple red ribbons, and white lights. 

  1. Drape the garland post to post to the desired height
  2. Wrap the garland with white LED or incandescent string lights so everything stays together neatly on the fence
  3. On every other fence post, install nails (if wood) and place a faux wreath with a bright red bow

In total, this setup cost us roughly 103 dollars, and here is the breakdown by item:

It’s important to keep in mind that while this setup did cost over $100, all of these products have lasted us multiple years. We are on year 3 using these same products and everything still looks great. So if you take the initial investment of $103, our fence decorations have only cost us $31/per year. The cost will be reduced more with additional years of use. 

Christmas Decorating Ideas For Your Windows

Simple interior Christmas decor can transform your exterior as well. We’re talking battery powered candles! These simple decorations add a warm glow and ambiance to your windows during the holidays. Most importantly, they’re battery powered and time controlled. Simply set them out and forget about it – no ongoing maintenance required except for changing batteries (which likely won’t happen in a single year). Our candles click on at the same time every night, and after 5 hours, they automatically turn off.

In total, this setup cost us around $50 (from Home Depot). Similar to the fence decorations, these have lasted us years and continue to work great. The only ongoing cost is batteries, but we change them once per holiday season. Note: don’t forget to remove batteries before storing these until next year! Your batteries may still have life in them so store them in a zip lock bag for use next year.  

Christmas Door Decorations


Remember how I mentioned miscellaneous “fresh” natural elements to incorporate into your faux decor? This is the section of our home I’m talking about! The doors of our home are obviously the primary entry point for guests coming and going. So we like to put something nicer on the doors since guests will see them up close. They also give off the lovely aroma of fresh cut pine tree trimmings. On our home we have two doors: the front door and our side door off the porch. For our primary door decorations, we get a simple fresh Christmas wreath. On our side door, we get a smaller, more decorative arrangement from a local nursery. The investment is roughly $30 depending on the complexity of your wreath arrangement.

Christmas Decor For Your Lamp Posts


Lamp posts are an easy way to add a dose of festive flair to your yard decorations. Simple LED lights and faux garland do a candy cane style swirl around our lamp post. This year I decided to invest in a flickering fire light for our lamp post during Halloween. It add a nice spooky touch to our outdoor decorations. I figured I might as well carry this through to Christmas, since it works equally as well for the holiday season. The lamp post is completed with another simple red bow. 

In total, this setup cost us roughly $12 dollars and it adds such nice curb appeal. Here is the breakdown by item:

Christmas Decor For Your Porch or Stoop

Our stoop is the final area of the outdoors that we decorate for Christmas. Again, we keep this fairly simple with a few fresh elements that are also reusable (as long as you keep them alive during the other seasons). Again we carry over some of our Halloween decorations that still give off those Christmas vibes. Specifically, two metal lanterns with battery power waterproof candles and two ornamental cabbage planters which have oddly survived some harsh winter conditions thus far. I’m not going to complain because they still look great and might as well incorporate them if they go with the theme. Last we’ve incorporated two small evergreen trees we picked up at the local nursey. We adorned each with a simple red bow and added white painted birch branches as a final touch. 

Our entire set up is made super easy to turn on and off with remote controlled outlet switches. A simple click and the entire yard illuminates. These simple yet festive outdoor decorations have neighbors stopping to complement us on our festive decor. We hope we’ve shown you how easy, and affordable, it can be to decorate your home’s exterior for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

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