Outdoor holiday decorations

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

1. Fresh Holiday Décor
Welcome your friends and family to your home this holiday season with festive décor that anyone can create. Event planner Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event shares tips and photos from a family Christmas Eve party she planned for a client in the Chicago area. "It is so much fun to decorate this time of year because you can start in November and continue adding special touches for more than month," she says. "Little extra touches help make the holidays a special experience, and guests notice and enjoy the extra touches too," she says. 
Key lime wreath

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

2. Create a Key Lime Wreath
Fresh fruit is a great decorating resource during the winter months, Lilly says. "Especially with the cool weather we have in the Midwest, fruit can last outside for at least four weeks," she says. To create this key lime wreath, use straight pins to secure key limes to a Styrofoam ring, Lilly says. Then, secure a few cranberries around the wreath with straight pins topped with small pearls. "You don't have to hide the pearl pins—they become part of the design," Lilly says.
Key lime wreath

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

3. Artistic Apple Designs
Apples are another hearty fruit that make an impression when used as outdoor holiday décor. Lilly used a hot glue gun to adhere Lady and Gala apples on a cone-shaped Styrofoam form that can be purchased at a craft store. Depending on your color scheme, Lilly says you could also use Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples."The trick is not to use really big apples," Lilly says. "Try to use smaller apples that are around the same size." This idea can also be used indoors for a table center piece, Lilly says.

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

4. Illuminate with Cranberries
Cranberries are another one of Lilly's favorite fruits to use outdoors. Here, she puts a sophisticated spin on a holiday luminaries. "Instead of using a paper bag and sand and a small candle, we used these large, glass cylinder vases, placed a pillar candle inside and filled the bottom with cranberries," she says. "Make sure the container you use is tall enough to block the wind so that your candle won't blow out."

Also, Lilly says it is important to use fresh cranberries versus frozen. "Frozen cranberries can get mushy and bleed and won't be very pretty. Fresh cranberries keep their color and shape up for weeks," she says.
Front door

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

5. Adorn Your Front Door
Don't be afraid to pull out garland, pinecones and silky ribbons to decorate your front door. "A lot of people think they can't use [silk ribbons] outdoors and think they need to use the stiff plastic, ribbon, but that isn't so. We love to use the thick, wide, silky ribbon, and it holds up beautifully outdoors," Lilly says.
Fireplace mantle decorated for the holidays

Photo: LaStoriaFoto.net

6. A Special Mantle Scene
Continue using fresh fruit and flowers to decorate indoors, and if you have a fireplace, deck it out for the holidays! Here, Lilly created a winter white scene over a mantle by pinning white carnations to a floral oasis foam ring. "You just submerge the ring in water and it soaks up the water, then you cut your carnations with about a half an inch of a stem and poke them into the wreath," Lilly says. You then secure the carnations to the wreath with pearl-topped straight pins. "The floral oasis foam gives the carnations a water source, and if a few of the carnations begin to turn brown, just pop them out of the wreath and replace them with fresh carnations," she says.

Use garland, pinecones and more fresh fruit designs to top off your holidays mantle, and don't forget to add some candles too. "We always decorate with candles; they just create such a warm and inviting mood and are perfect indoors or out," Lilly says.

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