It’s that time of year again. Frosty the Snowman and Feliz Navidad on repeat in every single shop, nativity play invites aplenty, choccie calendars (yum!), carols and my personal favourite: the planning of the great BBQ and seafood platter extravaganza.
Yes, it’s Christmas Season, Aussie Style.
In my book, the best time of the year, and I get stuck in with the Christmas decorations early (yes, I’m that neighbour!). If you’re confused about how to go about decorating your home this holiday season, these tips will turn your home into the envy of the street.
Outside Decoration Ideas
Let’s start with the outside of the home first. This is where you’ll need to really plan in advance, think what fits your home, and what’s within your budget. These have been considered with various budgets in mind, so consider it an ideas pick and mix!
Decorating the Entrance
The entrance of your home is the place where you should start with your decorations. These are a few ideas:
- Christmas wreath. The absolute standard of any Christmas door. I usually go with a custom-made one every year using native foliage (yes, it’s possible!), but you can also go for a mix and match option. I like including native plants as it gives it a proper Aussie spin. There are plenty of YouTube videos that can guide you on making these.
- Nutcrackers. My grandma on my father’s side was German, so I love having a pair of nutcrackers standing tall and proud on either side of the entrance. It’s cool to include a little something from your heritage, Aussie and/or otherwise.
- Guiding lights. I always have lights that guide visitors to the front of the house, creating a focal point (more on this later!).
- Christmas planters. If nutcrackers aren’t really your thing, go for planters instead. I think of them as mini Christmas trees, and I always add a few baubles and lights.
Staging a Christmas Porch
If you have the space, think about creating a welcoming ‘Christmas Porch’. For example, get a bench, put a few cozy pillows on it, a blanket (if the evening starts getting a little chilly), a wee lantern and a decorative wreath. It’s the perfect place to enjoy visiting carollers, too.
Let There Be Light!
When it comes to Christmas decorations, lighting is essential. Imagine Christmas Day without fairy lights on your tree. It just doesn’t work. Here are a few tips for lighting your outdoor space. And hey, who knows, if you’re a Brisbane resident, maybe you’ll end up winning next year’s 4KQ Christmas Lights Contest!
- Find Your Focus. Lighting shouldn’t be placed willy-nilly. You want to pick a focal point to bring a sense of design to your lighting, rather than a seemingly scattergun approach.
- Consider safety. Don’t be careless when putting up your lighting. Use UL-approved extension cords, as they’re specifically designed for safe outdoor use. Always read the small print and ensure you’re not overextending your plugs by connecting too many strands. Look for any damaged or frayed cords, replace where necessary.
- Even colours. The main colour you’ll be using is probably going to be white. But ‘white’ can mean several things when it comes to Christmas lights. Look at the specific colour number; if you get lights that are slightly different from each other, they’ll look a little off.
- Light sensor timers. This is one of my top tips. Instead of basic timers, you can get ones that have sensors in them, which means they automatically switch on at dusk. The result = beautiful lighting every single day.
- ‘Switch on’ event. I always like to get the family round and switch the lights on together, drinks and snacks at the ready. Let the kids do it (if you have any little rascals!), they’ll love the tradition.
The Pièce De Résistance
What I usually do is have a single centrepiece item to be the focus of my Christmas front garden. It’s best to just have one (or two, at the most), or it’ll just be a bit too much in my humble opinion. These are some I’ve had over the years:
- XL Santa. Cheesy, but fun!
- Reindeer. Christmas classic, always with lights.
- Christmas tree. Again, go large. Lit up and with decorations. You also don’t have to buy a tree, you can even use what you already have in your garden. I have wrapped lights around existing trees and added decorations, it works really well.
Inside Decoration Ideas
The inside of the home is where you can really let your personality shine through. There are no hard and fast rules, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. These are just a few ideas to get you started.
Native Christmas Tree
Don’t think you need to copy what you see in the usual American or British holiday films. Australia has plenty of native trees that can act as great alternatives to the classic pine:
- Woolly Bush. Native to the south coast of Western Australia, this is one of my personal favourites. It has a grey-green colour, which gives it that ‘light snow sprinkle’ look, perfect for that Christmas look!
- Geebung. The Geebung is known as the ‘Australian Christmas Tree’, so you can’t really go wrong. The leaves are quite pine-like, and the yellow flowers always bloom around Christmas.
- Norfolk Island Pine. For many Australians, this is the go-to Christmas tree option. It looks quite similar to the traditional tree, and it’s a perfect houseplant for the rest of the year!
I absolutely love having Christmas stocking hanging on the mantel, and it’s a non-negotiable for me. I recommend making your own, instead of buying one from the shops. It gives each one personality, meaning, and you can always add trinkets over time.
We have a wooden ladder in the house that doubles as a Christmas decoration during the holiday season. We usually adorn it with lights and Christmas cards from friends and family. It’s great seeing it fill up as December continues, and it ensures good wishes from those dear to us are on display.
I’ve also seen others hang advent calendar goodies on their ladders as well, which is a really cute idea. Get little craft bags, label them accordingly, and fill each with goodies. It’s a little more work than your standard shop-bought calendar, but it’s much more fulfilling.
Okay, okay, this side of the equator we’re not going to get a legitimate White Christmas anytime soon (unless, well, climate change). But fake snow is always a good second option to the real thing.
One thing I should emphasise: try and buy eco-friendly snow. Yes, it exists. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s more than worth it as it keeps the conscience clean! Ideally, look for biodegradable snow.
Final Tip: Build It Up!
Confession: I’ve been decorating my house for Christmas for years. So I have plenty of decorations that I’ve built up over time, and the method in the madness has been well and truly fine-tuned.
But don’t think your house needs to look like a Christmas film right from the start. You can start small, spending hundreds of dollars isn’t a requirement. Remember, it’s all about the spirit of Christmas, the rest is just details. Have fun with it!