Presents for Your Porch

Don't stop decorating at your doorstep. Give your entrance some colorful holiday pizzazz.
Katie Snowden

Just when you thought a wreath and red ribbon were the only things fit for your front entrance, along comes this creative twist. Go ahead. If you have a covered porch, capitalize on it because this area can serve as an extension of your decorated abode. But get ready: Passersby may feel inclined to stop and stay awhile!

A Window Welcome
When Dane and Catherine Waters built their Blount Springs, Alabama, home, large windows--and lots of them--were a must. "We designed it so people coming to visit could see inside," Dane says. A key feature of their home is the 8-foot-tall entrance. More window than wood, their doorway looks as inviting as a cup of cocoa on a cold day. The couple searched long and hard to find a bench that would work perfectly on their porch. Just the right fit between the two windows, the bench makes an easy-to-adorn decorating nook.

Covered Porch Joys
Gift giving and receiving shouldn't be confined beneath the tree. Display these colorful items on your porch too. The Waterses placed presents on their bench for guests to grab on their way in. Faux gifts work just as well. They're reusable and inexpensive. Wrap something heavy inside, such as a brick, to keep them in place. Embellish boxes with extra-large bows. To heighten the St. Nick anticipation, place antique toys among the gifts. Try a red wagon or teddy bears found at your favorite flea market.

The Right Touch
The Waterses replaced an everyday mat with a candy-striped one, and then they mixed in potted poinsettias and small cedar trees. Display shrubs or flowers in tin pails or festive planters. Hang ornaments on your porch plants or tie ribbons to the light fixtures.

Go inside out this Christmas--and if you really want to, hang that classic wreath on your door as well. The more decorations, the merrier.

"Presents for Your Porch" is from the December 2007 issue of Southern Living.