Christmas lights are fun, but how about a different twist this holiday season? We’ve got some fresh ideas for dressing up your front porch.

Welcoming guests and displaying your holiday spirit naturally spills onto your front porch. Lights give that sparkly wow factor throughout the neighborhood, but we’ve got some new, fun and even natural ideas for celebrating the holidays on your front porch.

Wrap columns and rails. Whether you have deck or stair rails or nice columns, wrap them. Garlands are a nice, natural looking choice. And if you still want sparkle, intermix the garland and lights. Or use a garland with bulbs, pine cones or berries to add a pop of color and bling. Spread your garland out and add ornaments or berries with green-coated twist ties before wrapping the column. Or choose your favorite wide ribbon from your local craft store and use it to accentuate your garland.

The door is your focal point. A Christmas wreath can make a bold statement, especially if you make yours a little different. Your local florist can design a special, fresh wreath for you each year, making it a special surprise designed to your liking. Combining natural materials and hints of gold, silver or white can make your wreath stand out. And try to make it contrast with your door. If you have a dark green or red door, use a wreath made of white berries, gold and silver ornaments or frosted garland.

Decorate what you have. If your porch already has a nice swing or bench, change out the pillows to reds and greens. Decorate the plants with pretty red berry garlands and the pots with burlap wrap and a special glittery bow.

Go with your climate. If your climate is mild enough to sit or dine outside during the holiday season, make the most of it. Add a few Christmas candles or lanterns to light the early evenings and maybe add some lights to your favorite potted plant or tree. If you’re decorating the front porch of your winter cabin, add a decorated bucket or painted wooden crate filled with wood for the fire indoors, pine cones and a sled propped up against a corner. Or incorporate a pair of vintage ice skates or skis into your décor. You can place garland and berries inside the skates or wrap skis with garland and bulbs or lights.

Deck an outside tree. Who says your tree has to be inside? Decorate a small tree near your front door with stunning gold balls, burlap and rustic touches. Or, since it’s cold outside, use snowflakes and contrasting red bows. You might have to consider wind when selecting tree ornaments, and also weight your tree.

Use outside materials. Rustic touches always look great on the outside of your home, so incorporate plenty of pine cones and twigs in your design. You can make a star from twigs to hang on the front of your home, or smaller stars as ornaments for a tree or plant. A ceramic pot that normally holds a plant can instead hold cut greens, pine cones, and twigs in a type of floral design. With a little metallic spray paint, you can add plenty of Christmas sparkle to twigs and pine cones. Or place pine cones and potpourri in a large bowl near your door for a fresh, holiday scent before guests even enter!

Use found objects. The rustic look also works for painting an outdoor sign for your front porch. White wash or distress the wood, and stencil or freehand a favorite holiday saying, such as Joy, Let it Snow or Noel. Then surround the sign’s base with some garlands in an old pail or wooden crate.

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