A monochromatic lighting display
Van Chaplin

Light Up the Night

Create a monochromatic display using simple white lights wherever you can place them. String lights along the fence (woven into fresh garland) and down the eaves. Dress a welcoming table with white pillar candles in hurricane vases.

Tip: When hanging garland along a fence, use string instead of wire, which can scratch the paint.

White house with greenery
Tria Giovan

Get Some Swag

The best-dressed home this season is wearing a great garland -- in this case, the greenery is doubled up at the bottom of each swag. We love the drama it creates when set against the simplicity of this all-white Jeffersonian cottage.

Decorative gift wrapped boxes as displays

Greet With Gifts

For a gift-giving display, put a brick (or other heavy object) in each bottom box to anchor the decorations. Then wrap the cardboard boxes, stack them, and tie them with a big bow.

Tip: Remember to place the boxes under a covered entry.

Garland and wreaths
Tria Giovan

Green Garland

Dressed with classic wreaths on every window and door, this cozy shingled home welcomes guests and carolers with a profusion of holiday cheer.

With a thick strand of garland and white twinkling lights, even the picket fence and front shrubs can't escape the merriment.

Unexpected decorations on wreaths
Kimberly Burch

Unique Wreath Shapes

Trees, squares, ovals, and stars offer unexpected takes on the traditional round wreath. Make your own using wire wreath frames and fresh garland, or check your local garden center and florist for creative selections.

Side Entrance with luminarias
Wendell Weber

Brown Bag It

Illuminate your walkway with luminarias made from simple brown paper sacks filled with sand and battery-operated votives for a warm, glowing welcome.

This is a look that can transition from Thanksgiving straight through to the New Year.

Large, floral decorations
Jean Allsopp, Laurey Glenn

Floral Festivities

Go all out with an over-the-top display that will be the envy of the neighborhood. As with any grand design, start with chicken wire as the base. Add greenery, fruit, and flowers to cover the base entirely.

Tip: Keep nature's gifts fresh by using florist picks and florist foam.

torches line the entry
Roger Foley

Bear a Torch

Your neighbor's 20-foot inflatable snowman can't compete with a façade awash in the gleam of firelight.

This cottage shines with two tall torches flanking the entry and a path edged with virtually windproof candles set in black iron stands.

A walk way with luminarias
Tim Street-Porter

Inviting Entrance

To welcome guests (and keep them safe), line your walkway with luminarias for evening get-togethers. And create a cozy holiday room by purchasing an extra tree for the patio. Just make sure to use lights and electrical cords that are approved for outdoor use.

traditional entryway
Tria Giovan

Colonial Cottage

Let the style of your home dictate your holiday decor as it does in this cozy Colonial Williamsburg house.

Tip: Traditional decorating doesn't mean it has to be boring. These homeowners took a fun departure from the expected with colorful lights in the shrubbery.

Double doors with ribbons and wreaths
Laurey W. Glenn

Monogram Magic

If your doors are too narrow for wreaths, hang your initials (available at crafts stores) on each door.

Tip: When you're finishing the look with holiday ribbon, the taller the door, the wider the ribbon should be.

toy soldiers stand on a porch
Keith Scott Morton

Toy Soldier Salute

These oversized soldiers stand at attention over the wide front porch to greet visitors through the season.

Tip: Pick a decorating theme and repeat it throughout your home to make an impact.

An evergreen door wreath with citrus fruit accents

Casual Cottage

With large front entries, don't be afraid to use oversized pieces as focal points, and then accent with smaller details. Here, the potted evergreens and door decor are adorned with citrus fruit and intertwined with kudzu vine.

Farmhouse front entry
Wyatt Counts

Greetings From the Farm

Borrow the holiday look of this Maryland horse farm. Welcome your party guests with sparkling white lights strewn through trained boxwoods and potted evergreens for a definitively American feel.

A bundle of branches as a decorative accent
Cottage Living, Tim McWilliam

Inexpensive Evergreens

Turn a $10 bundle of pinecones into a noteworthy display. When the season ends, place the garland branches atop perennial beds to insulate the dormant plants.

vintage lights on the front gate
Wendell Weber

Charm Your Way

These retro-chic Charlie Brown lights are whimsical and welcoming when woven casually through a front gate or picket fence.

Tip: Be sure to choose the large multicolored bulbs for that authentic, vintage look.

Tamale wrappers are an inexpensive door decoration.
Ralph Anderson

Southwestern Salutation

Set the tone for a gathering with a couple of thematic decorations. Instead of traditional evergreen garland, hang inexpensive tamale wrappers around the door. And cover a rustic bench with a bold quilt, topping it with lit tree forms.

buried lights in snow
Roger Foley

Dig In

Cool and contemporary, this pathway of lights is made simply by punching holes in the snow and slipping in small glasses holding votives.

Have fun with the idea by outlining your flower beds or even listing your house numbers in the snow. (Remember to remove the glasses from the snow before shoveling or blowing snow!)

Tip: Be sure to outline your path with plenty of room for guests to walk so that they won't be stepping directly on the lights.

Kale lights a front entry
Robbie Caponetto

Decorative and Edible

Put a surprising twist on your holiday lights by weaving white lights through globes of ornamental kale. The look is perfectly festive and will have everyone's heads turning.

A garland and wire luminarias.

Successful Steps

Skip decorating the door and take it down a notch. Place wire luminarias on each step, and, for a quick-and-easy backdrop, line the bottom of your railing with leftover garland and pinecones from the yard.

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