10 Outdoor Christmas Decorations that Won't Hike Up Your Electric Bill

All the magic and twinkle of the season—just with fewer bulbs.

November 12, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Every December, my mom will say “Come on, please!” enough times that the rest of the family would finally relent and pile in the car to gawk at the local light displays. She adores Christmas and delights in the annual car ride around our large and winding neighborhood, slowing down to get a better look at her favorites, turning around to pass by again, and then hypothesizing about how she can put her own spin on them.

And I know it’s not just my mother. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 93 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, which naturally translates into a lot of front yard odes to the holiday. By that logic, if every one of those people had a front yard to decorate, there would be 305.3 million decorated homes. But not everyone has a giant space to deck out in twinkling lights, and no one wants to foot the electric bill that comes after a month of powering them 24/7.

So, we’ve rounded up some of the best outdoor Christmas decoration ideas, and luckily, they’re limited on lights—you're welcome.

1. Sweet & Simple Berry Wreath

Sometimes the best holiday decor is the pared-back stuff and this is a perfect example. The bright red berries are the perfect contrast to an old wooden door painted in a deep, deep hunter green. Color palette inspo, anyone?

2. A Porch Full of Ornaments

My family does something similar inside the house actually because the ceiling in the family room is made of corrugated metal. We hang up lots of ornaments with fishing line and magnets and the final results look like candles in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. These Command hooks would work perfectly well on ceilings or a covered porch, too!

3. Repurpose Hanging Baskets

If your hanging baskets have made it this far, you might as well make them festive, right? These are filled with fresh pine branches, pine cones, and lots of ornaments, but you could fill them with any kind of greens and decorations you like.

4. Multi-Pointed Stars in the Trees

There’s really something to be said for holiday decor that looks just as good during the day as it does at night. So often all the lighting displays look sad during the day, but not these cute hanging stars!

5. Potato-Nosed Gnomes

Okay, my mother actually made these last year and they’re adorable. They’re also super simple to recreate. Directions straight from my mom: start by collecting greens from hardware stores or places with live trees, they’ll give you the scraps for free! Then, wire tomato cages to have a point at the top and wire on the greens. Stick a potato on for a nose, a rolled piece of felt for a hat, and tiny mittens for hands.

6. Modern Wood Trees

Just two pieces of plywood, a friendly hardware store employee, and one afternoon—that’s all you need to accomplish these adorable modern trees. Okay, there are a few more supplies involved, but you get the gist! This could easily be sized down for tabletop decor as well.

7. Preserved Magnolia Wreaths

Preserved magnolia leaves are something that can be used year round (I currently have a bunch in a vase on the kitchen table), but during the holiday season, they’re an understated addition to the rest of your decor, like these wreaths displayed on a row of porch windows.

8. Twinkling Branches

No ribbon, no nutcrackers, no trees, but somehow this front door setup is still delightfully holiday-themed. The twinkling branches that arch over the doorway add a certain kind of rustic charm, while also adding welcoming light to the entryway.

9. Big Ol’ Lawn Ornaments

Show-stealing giant ornaments are all you really need to dress up the front yard, right?

10. Paper Star Lanterns

Simple paper star lanterns are perfect to brighten up the inside of your home, but they're also a welcome addition to a covered porch.

How do you decorate your yard for the holidays? Tell us in the comments below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.