Sep 14

Setting Up an Outdoor Christmas Scene

Lighted reindeerDecorating the lawn with a Christmas-themed scene is a tradition of the season. Some will choose a Nativity display. Others will prefer a snowman or Santa and his reindeer. Still others will want something modern, but that still evokes the spirit of the holiday, such as a tableaux of the Grinch and citizens of Whoville. But whatever your tastes in outdoor lawn decoration, there are some basics you’ll want to follow.

Safety is the first and most obvious consideration.

If you use displays containing glass, ensure they’re well protected from kids with bicycles, dogs and other rompers who can break something. Even plastic parts that chip off can easily cut a bare foot. If your display contains lights, ensure that you use extension cords that have enough capacity. An overheated wire, the result of using too narrow a gauge, is a fire hazard. Make sure they’re placed and secured so that tripping is unlikely.

Accidental damage is even more likely, though.

Ensuring that your display lasts through many seasons is easy with just common sense precautions. Wind is common in most climates during the Christmas season. Supporting your scene doesn’t take much more than a little thought and effort. Look around your display from all angles. Give it a nudge in every direction. Using a series of stakes and ropes, short and thin boards or rods, and other props you can make a sturdy, wind-resistant display.

Rain is another obvious potential problem. Most plastic displays present no problem. But scenes containing straw, cardboard or even wood can rot quickly. Mildew builds up fast on wet wood. Cardboard will become mush in a good downpour. Straw will create a home for insects even more rapidly if it gets moist.

You have several ways to solve that problem inexpensively. You can house your display in a tent designed to look like part of the scene. Or you can build it under an awning or roof overhang. Or you can just select materials that will weather well.

Give a little thought to how to erect and protect your outdoor Christmas decoration. Your efforts will be rewarded many times over. It will last through several seasons, decreasing the cost and effort of creating that scene that delights you and your neighbors.

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