Decorating the Outside for Christmas

Its never easier to get caught up in the holiday spirit than when you're decorating your home's exterior for Christmas. Otherwise sedate homes are alight with Christmas cheer. Choirboys share center stage with deer who are grazing animatedly alongside Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Trees, bushes and porch posts are all ablaze with the twinkle lights. It truly is a winter wonderland!

But is it all a bit too much? How can you give your inner Christmas elf free reign while still maintaining some degree of taste? Like cleaning bathroom tile grout, by approaching your project with prior planning and some well thought out designs, you can keep your exterior decor tasteful without diluting your Christmas Spirit.

Planning Your Decor

The initial step in plotting your decor is to begin with an idea. You're artistic side should have no problem coming up with a plan for placement of your decorations. Study the area, make a sketch, take measurements landscaping to be adorned, and front porch areas, windows, distances for electrical cords, and record all your information. Establish your plan before you proceed.

Next, take an inventory of your exterior lights and outdoor decorations. Before you make unnecessary purchases, you may find out you have nearly everything you need for your exterior Christmas masterpiece. Check for burned out lights and replace them as they can cause the strand to be a little less bright and may pose an electrical hazard. Any frayed or damaged extension cords should also be replaced as they could cause a fire.

Be sure to check your outdoor electrical outlets and timers and make sure they're working properly. Replace or repair anything that needs it before continuing on with your project. You wouldn't want to be caught off guard. It will slow down your project.

Purchasing Decorations

Now it's time to compile your shopping list. If you have light strands you want to replace or you'd like to enhance your previous year's yard display, make sure you purchase lights which are uniform in size. You might consider purchasing a multiple track extension cord for the organizational ease it presents. This relatively new extension cord offers evenly spaced electrical outlets along the length of the cord. It looks much neater and doesn't pose a tripping risk.

A timing device is a wonderful tool for the Holiday exterior decorator. It eliminates the need for remembering to turn on the lights and they are easy to program. Best of all, it will make your energy usage much more efficient.

When you go shopping for your Christmas lights and décor, remember, as sad as it is to think about, what goes up must come back down. You'll want to think about organized storing of your decorations. No one wants to begin their Christmas decorating project the following year by trying to untangle cords and remember what lights went where.

Completing the Project

Your project doesn't end with your initial flipping of the switch in early December. You should consider well thought out storage of your decorations as an equally important part of your project. Consider purchasing compartmentalized storage containers and labeling the outside of the boxes for better organization. You'll thank yourself the following year.

Every good project has a timeline. You should plan yours in order to get the most benefit for all your hard work. If you have purchases to make, start in early November when Christmas decor appears in retail outlets. Consider having your "lighting ceremony" sometime during the weekend following Thanksgiving, and plan on taking it down right after New Years Day. Don't despair, in ten months you'll be decorating the outside for Christmas again!

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