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What are the Different Types of Outdoor Christmas Decorations?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

There are many different types of outdoor Christmas decorations, which can range from fairly small decorations to very large and somewhat expensive decorations. These types of decorations typically take advantage of the benefits of use outdoors, so they are often much larger than indoor decorations. They are often designed to accent certain outdoor features, such as trees, light posts, bushes and hedges, and exterior features on houses and buildings. Many types of outdoor Christmas decor also feature lights, animation, and audio media that would be impractical to use indoors.

Outdoor Christmas decorations are any type of decoration designed to embody the Christmas holiday and designed for use outdoors. One of the most common outdoor Christmas decoration is lights. These can include anything from strings of large light bulbs, often in strands of white or multiple colors, to mesh sculptures that use fiber optics for lighting. Some lighted sculptures, often in the shapes of reindeer or Santa Claus, are even designed with motors that allow parts of the form to be animated while lit.

A Christmas light display in a yard.
A Christmas light display in a yard.

Other forms of exterior Christmas decorations can also use lighting, or provide lighting in other forms, to create outdoor decoration. Many people replace standard outdoor nighttime lighting, such as a porch light, with a colored light bulb, usually red or green. There are also lights that can be set up in a yard or landscape area, typically solar lights that charge during the day, which provide nocturnal illumination and are designed in Christmas shapes such as candy canes or Christmas trees. Some outdoor sculptures are also made of semi-translucent materials to create a form like a snowman or Santa Claus that is readily visible, but glows with internal illumination at night.

A house decorated for Christmas.
A house decorated for Christmas.

There are also outdoor Christmas decorations that use fans and a power source to inflate a large piece of canvas into a particular shape. These decorations have become increasingly popular for a number of different holidays, including Halloween and Thanksgiving. Inflatable decorations often take the shape of Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, stars, gift packages, and angels.

A tangled string of Christmas lights.
A tangled string of Christmas lights.

Outdoor Christmas decorations can also take advantage of other outdoor features to provide greater opportunities for Christmas decorating. There are strings of lights, for example, that are arranged like a net, rather than as individual strands. These light nets can be wrapped around trees or placed over bushes and hedges to add lighting to different types of plants. Some outdoor Christmas decorations also include speakers and audio media, so holiday music or sound effects are randomly played by the decorations.

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Discussion Comments


My husband and I had a few of those big inflatable Christmas sculptures that we set up in our front yard. One night last year some kids came buy and slashed all of them up so that they could not be used anymore. I was so angry about it. It's not like they were all that expensive, I just didn't want to know that there were a bunch of Grinch's in my neighborhood. Who would ruin another person's decorations?


Which do you guys prefer, colored Christmas lights or white Christmas lights? Personally, I prefer white lights. I think when they are all lit up it is like the winter night is glowing. The effect is so beautiful and magical.

I know some people who swear by the colored lights though. They seem to think that white lights are boring and not festive. They are entitled to their opinion but I always thought that colored lights were kind of tacky.


I have a neighbor that is absolutely insane about outdoor Christmas decor. Every year he puts out more and more of it. Endless strings of lights, inflatable Santa and Rudolph, model north pole trains and on and on. He spends about a week setting it all up and it has to double his electric bill.

As crazy as I think it is I cannot deny that it looks pretty cool and it really does put you in the Christmas spirit. I wouldn't want to do it myself but I'm glad that someone has that instinct.

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    • A Christmas light display in a yard.
      A Christmas light display in a yard.
    • A house decorated for Christmas.
      By: dred2010
      A house decorated for Christmas.
    • A tangled string of Christmas lights.
      By: Artistic Endeavor
      A tangled string of Christmas lights.
    • Decorating the front door area is a popular Christmas custom.
      By: onepony
      Decorating the front door area is a popular Christmas custom.