Christmas decorating fanatic that I am, my holiday decorations extend to the outside. Shrubs, trees, windows and doors, the gutter-line of the roof, and the picket fence may be decked with lights each Christmas holiday season. I say “may be” because I prefer outdoor Christmas decorations add subtle elegance instead of a crowded display or a bright bedazzlement. For instance, if I put wreaths on the windows or doors instead of framing the window or door with lights, I’ll shine spot lights on the wreaths. If I decorate the door or window frames with lights, I skip the spot lights. Though my decorating plan changes from year to year, the must-have Christmas decorated item every year is lights and bows or wreaths on the picket fence. I’ve changed how and what I put on the fence, mostly because I think each year my new idea is better than the previous year’s idea. Turns out, all the ideas were good!
The beauty of picket fences
Picket fences can be tall or short, be made of wood, vinyl or metal, and offer security or charm to the landscape. The pickets of the fence provide the outdoor holiday decorator with easy locations from which to hang or wrap Christmas lights, garlands, wreaths and bows.
Before there were twinkle lights, homeowners could decorate inside or outside with strings of large, C-7 bulbs. The C-7 bulbs are spaced further apart on the wire string than twinkle lights, but don’t let that space fool you-C-7 bulbs strings are bright. Pictured above is a winter scene at our house the year I used C-7 Christmas light strings on our picket fence. The bulbs heated through the fallen snow to provide a picturesque display. I wove the string in front of one picket, behind the next picket, in front of the next picket and so on. For even more brightness, another string of lights could be woven over the first string, but reverse the start order and go behind the first picket, in front of the next picket, and so on.
Christmas twinkle lights in a solid color, like all blue bulbs or all clear bulbs, or with multi-color bulbs can also be woven through the pickets to rest on the top rail of the fence. To extend the distance the light strings can cover, wrap the string only around the upright posts instead of around each picket. Keep the string snug. The light strings may droop. If you prefer a straight line of lights rather than having the droop between posts, use twine to tie the string to the fence. Tie the twine in a bow to make it easier to remove and reuse.
Read the instructions with the lights for guidance on how many strings of lights can be safely connected end-to-end. Connect the light strings to a timer for added convenience.
Artificial Christmas garland is reusable year after year. As with light strings, the garland can be woven between the pickets or wrapped around posts and purposely allowed to droop between posts. One drawback of allowing the Christmas garland to droop is that on windy days, the garland may flip up and become entangled on the pickets. To resolve that potential problem, use twine to loosely tie the lowest portion of the garland scallop to one picket. For an added touch, add Christmas light strings to the garland.
Wreaths and Bows
Secure a Christmas wreath or bow to the center of a gate. The wreath may be round or may be horizontal greenery secured in the center with a red, gold or plaid ribbon tied in a large bow. Place a wreath on both the inside and outside of the gate.
Bows can also be used alone or in conjunction with garland or lights. Place a bow on each post, every other post, or just the end posts of the fence. When garland is included, the bow could be placed on the post or the center picket between posts at the top rail level so the ribbons hang down toward the scalloped garland.
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