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What are the 5 styles of outdoor Christmas decor?


by Alison Colby-Campbell

In my 5+ decades of ogling Christmas decorations, I have learned there are only 5 different styles of Christmas home décor. All else are modifications or blends of these. See for yourself.


This style I named #champagnebubbles or #champagnebuble is ever tasteful. Tiny white lights blinking or still. Seen often among homes of similarly decorated style. This is the household most likely to play Michael Buble’s Christmas album (inside only of course)

Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell


Full of Hot Air (FHA) collector. While the FHA did not exist when I was a child, his or her spirit definitely did, and always will. This style is about displaying bigger and more inflatables. In my earliest days, it was blow mold plastic figures. Having one was like being in possession of a newly opened bag of potato chips; you just needed more, and more, and bigger, and more. And newer, and more. The collector’s friends and family start enabling the addiction with birthdays becoming a mad search for anything requiring a pump.

Gemmy Industries is the company that introduced Airblown® Inflatables in 2001. They also created Gemmy’s Big Mouth Billy Bass The Singing Sensation. They really hit on something with the inflatables. And the designs know no limit. 2022 introduced Santa at the Sushi Bar (available at Home Depot for a reduced price of $79 marked down from $129 according to Imagine if you will, a very intricate 5′ design. Santa bellies up to the sushi bar, chopsticks in hand prepared to eat maki (sushi roll). On another stool is a penguin and behind the bar the sushi chef is also a penguin but bigger than the guest with multiple types of sushi on the bar top. And, get this on the bar it printed: Maki the Season Bright.” Rate this under things that make you ask ‘what?”

Text and photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

The name I’ve given Group #3 of holiday design is “If it was good enough for the colonists, it’s good enough for me”. These homeowners never shake up their design aesthetic. And outside of switching from flame to gas to incandescent to LED over the centuries, they haven’t had to change a thing.
The decorations are simple and classical and now that the candles are no longer real fire or gas, they are much less likely to burn down your house. The key feature is a single candle in each window and that has history far beyond the American shores. HINT: If you use this decorating style don’t be surprised if a priest shows up at your door.
History repeats itself even when the original meaning is lost or forgotten.
Here in the United States, the tradition of lighting candles in the windows of homes during the Christmas holidays was brought by the Irish.
From the mid-17th through the late 18th century, the British government created oppressive laws in an attempt to restrict the practice of Catholicism in Ireland. During this time of religious suppression, there were no churches allowed. Catholic Priests were forced to hide out in the wilderness in caves.
The priests would sneak back into town during the night to have mass with fellow believers in their homes. During Christmastime, Catholic families would leave their doors unlocked and a candle burning in the window to let the priest know he was welcome in their home.

Text and photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

PT 4 of 5 ‘RAINBOW SPRINKLES UNICORN’ I’m calling #4 ‘Rainbow Sprinkles Unicorn’ These decorators move away from the traditional and expected red and green, white and gold. Instead they opt to share their or their child’s vision of the most beautiful and magical color combination. It’s all pinks and purples, sparkles with teal and stars. A design sense shared by Barbie Dreamtopia Magical Lights Unicorn with Rainbow Mane, Lights & Sounds, Barbie Princess Doll with Pink Hair. (BTW that Barbie set retails over $100)
But while people with happy associations of pink say it instills joy, euphoria even, creativity, and love. A study of color psychology reported on by talked about the colors limited calming effect
“Pink is thought to have a calming effect.1 One shade known as “drunk-tank pink” is sometimes used in prisons to calm inmates.
While pink’s calming effect has been demonstrated, researchers of color psychology have found that this effect only occurs during the initial exposure to the color.1 When used in prisons, inmates often become even more agitated once they become accustomed to the color.”

Maybe that’s why some prefer the unicorn rainbow blend of pink with other vibrant pastel hues.
In the Know: Rainbow sprinkles are made of 6 ingredients: food color, shortening, water, powdered sugar, confectioners glaze, canuba wax. Depending on the maker they may include different colors. In some instances there are two kinds of multicolored sprinkle: rainbow and carnival with rainbow being the heartier primary and secondary colors and carnival including more of the pastels. Here is a video link from Food Insider that explains how they are made
Text and Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell


#5 is Inspirational décor. Words and symbols for peace, joy, love and hope are shared to soothe the battered human psyche.

And then there is the inspiration from the Christmas story itself, the birth of a child to bring all of those sentiments to man. Yup there is still Christ in Christmas and these decorations like this multi media magic telling of a double millennia old tale of hope. This display brings that message home with a simple yet lovely creche, a brilliant star and Linus from the Peanuts animation. Tuning into the station while in the yard initiated a recording of Linus from a Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus recites Luke 2: 8-14.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Fun facts: Charlie Brown Christmas was the first ever animation using the characters. It was aired in 1965 and cost a total of $96000 to produce. The voices were uncredited but Charlie Brown was portrayed by Peter Robbins and Linus was voiced by Christopher Shea.

So share your best effort but imperfect cookies with neighbors, decorate the twigs with treats for wildlife, take a few extra moments to chat with the elderly, praise God and bring goodwill toward men, women, and animals.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Text and Photo (c) Alison Colby-Campbell

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