Written by Terry Smith

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Best outdoor Christmas decorations [UK] 2021: The large and unusually interesting ideas with light alternatives

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 1:29 am

Whether it’s an oversized Santa, a medium sized Rudolph, or a miniature snowman; using outdoor Christmas decorations, with and without lights, is a sure way to get everyone in your family in a festive mood this year.

Not only will your family love it, but any visitors you get over the season, and just people passing by, are sure to be enchanted by a wonderful display of Christmas fun and cheer right there in your front garden.

In this article we will take a closer look at outdoor Christmas decorations that are on the market this year. We’ll tell you about the possible issues you might face when setting them up outside your home, and how best to avoid those problems.

On top of that, we have a large section devoted to reviews of the best outdoor Christmas lights, where we share our thoughts on the products that we tested out for ourselves, warts and all.

So, without any more delay, let’s get cracking and find out everything you need to know about the best outdoor Christmas decorations.

Top picks for outdoor Christmas decorations:

  1. Lights4fun Reindeer & Sleigh Acrylic Christmas Figure Battery Operated Outdoor Use with Timer must have if you are busy – super useful!
  2. Inflatable Father Christmas Sitting Santa with LED Lights 1.5m (5ft) Outdoor and Indoor Use best inflatable outdoor Christmas decoration
  3. Joiedomi 5ft Long Wiener Dog Self-Inflatable with Suit
  4. Rocinha 4 Feet Tall Christmas Inflatables Snowman,LED Lights best alternative inflatable
  5. Lights4fun Light Up LED Christmas Penguin for Indoor Outdoor Use
  6. CHRISTOW Flashing Christmas Tree Rope Light Silhouette Outdoor Decoration
  7. HOMCOM 2.4m LED Inflatable Air Blown Christmas Santa Claus
  8. Konstsmide Outdoor Lights LED Acrylic Decoration – Cute Polar Bear

What are outdoor Christmas decorations?

Although that may seem like a very easy question to answer, and in a way, it is, if you really think about it, would you be able to pick up a Christmas decoration in a shop and know instantly if it was meant for indoor or outdoor use? Probably not.

What makes an outdoor Christmas decoration suitable for use in the garden, on the front door, on the roof, etc. is that it is built to be weatherproof and also designed not to be damaged by things like dust that may blow in.

Outdoor Christmas wreath

The easiest way to know if a product has been made to withstand the weather and all that comes with being out in the UK winter conditions, is to check if it has an IP rating. Any decent item, particularly ones with electrical components, should have an IP rating of at least 44 to be considered outdoor worthy.

An IP44 rating would be the bare minimum in my opinion, and even then, I would probably only trust it if the electrical parts were raised off the ground. If I was leaving an outdoor Christmas decoration with lights exposed all the time, I would prefer a higher number after the letters IP, with IP65 being very resistant to both dust and water.

Christmas outdoor light decorations looks super

Other things such as the kind of paint that has been used, and the quality of said paint, play a role in how durable a Christmas decoration will be when left outside. The same goes for things like what kind of metal the product is made from, as some types rust faster than others unless coated with something.

Even the type of plastic will affect the decorations’ ability to remain undamaged from long exposure to the elements. Some plastics will see their colour fade, and even their actual quality degrade under a lot of UV rays, so finding decorations that have been made with UV resistant materials is another essential thing.

Possible problems with outdoor Christmas decorations

So, as we just established, the first major problem with buying outdoor Christmas decorations is making sure that the item you are spending your hard-earned cash on has actually been made to be used outside.

An IP rating is a good measure of something being made for outdoor use, but some products that don’t have electrical components, such as artificial Christmas trees without lights, won’t necessarily have that rating. For items such as these, you’ll have to do a bit of homework and check to see if it will stand up to the winter weather or not.

As well as that, there are a few other things to be aware of too, and we will go into them in this section so that you can do your best to avoid them.

Now, most people want outdoor Christmas decorations with lights. I mean, what’s the point in having a superb Santa, a Sassy Snowman, or a perfect polar bear, when nobody can see them when it gets dark? Pre-lit Christmas trees, wreaths, and ornaments, can all look amazing but there are some things to consider.

Firstly, be aware that there are battery operated Christmas decorations, solar powered products, and ones that you have to connect to the mains. Decorations that run on batteries can be good if you are setting them up at the bottom of the garden, and far away from a mains socket, as it means you don’t need to deal with cables and leads.

However, you do have to change the batteries, keep some spares ready to go, or charge them if they are rechargeable, and you never really know when the batteries will run out, leaving your lovely Christmas display in the dark.

Solar-powered decorations can be hit and miss, and a lot of how well they function depends on how well you set the solar cells up. If you don’t situate the cells in a part of your garden that gets a lot of direct sunlight, there’s a chance that the battery will not charge enough for you to get a night’s worth of illumination out of it.

Of course, mains supplied decorations are the most reliable when it comes to keeping things lit up, but there is the issue of power cables being too short on some decorations, and the need to use extension cables or a cable reel. If you do have to use an extension lead of some kind, make sure that it is waterproof, and also that the AC adapter on the Christmas decoration is too.

Examples of using outdoor Christmas decorations

I have a fair bit of experience with pre-lit outdoor Christmas decorations, and also plenty with unlit ones too. This is mainly due to my better half being Christmas crazy and loving the decorating part more than anything else.

It’s fair to say that we go all out each year with our outdoor decorations, with pre-lit Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands brightening up the front door, and this year we will be adding some very cool Santa porch light covers that we’ve reviewed further on in this article.

We make good use of outdoor Christmas lights, particularly string lights that we wrap around our pre-existing garden features like trees and benches, and also all over the front of the house too.

The garden path is often ‘guarded’ by rows of smaller decorations such as mini-Christmas trees, sleighs or reindeer, and it isn’t unheard of for us to use various types of fake snow in certain parts of the garden, just for extra effect.

Of course, no Christmas wonderland would be complete without a good-sized Santa decoration that stands there, illuminated, and welcomes all visitors with that iconic red suit, white beard, and smile.

You could say that we might go a little overboard with the outdoor decorations, but if you can’t be a little over the top at Christmas time, when can you be? However, you don’t have to go as far as me to give your home a more festive feel, and just the addition of some outdoor lights, or even a projector to give a snowfall effect can really make a difference.

At the end of the day, any addition will be better than nothing right? And, in my opinion, you get out of Christmas what you put in. So, if you make a bit of an effort to make your home Christmassy, you’ll have a better Christmas. Surely that’s worth spending a few quid on a few decorations?

Best Outdoor Christmas Decorations reviews

To help make your decisions easier this Christmas, we have taken the time to have a closer look at some of the most popular outdoor Christmas decorations available at the moment. We’ve tried to offer up a good selection of Christmas themed outdoor decorations and think we have featured a good selection of sizes, prices, and styles, so that everyone can find something they like.

1. Lights4fun Reindeer & Sleigh Acrylic Christmas Figure Battery Operated Outdoor Use with Timer

Noting says winter wonderland like an illuminated Sleigh and reindeer combination, and this exquisite looking product is one of the best I’ve seen for the money. Before I go into too much detail they’ve put a little video together of what you can expect from their reindeer lights and after we will discuss some crucial bits too:

It truly is eye-catching when fully lit-up and would serve as an excellent focal point for the rest of your outdoor Christmas display. The shape of the reindeers and the sleigh has been done really well, and I loved the way the reindeer’s heads were turned, as it gives a more realistic feel.

The reindeers each stand 68cm tall, are 41cm long, and 35cm wide, and the sleigh has dimensions of 35 x 51 x 29cm. So, these aren’t huge decorations and could fit in most people’s gardens without feeling cramped in, but still large enough to grab attention.

240 bright white LEDs look fantastic as a contrast to the bright red scarves on the reindeer, and as this product has an IP44 rating, you don’t have to panic about a spot of rain or snow spoiling the light show.

The lights can be put on a timed mode, and then will work for 6 hours before switching off for 18. It’s a basic timer, but it works as it’s supposed to and I never had any problems with it.

This is a battery-powered outdoor Christmas decoration, so there’s no need for an outdoor socket or extension lead, and the 3 metres of clear cable that leads to the battery box is a nice feature, as it makes it easy to hide the box out of sight.

One word of advice if you buy this item, and that is to anchor it down properly. It is quite lightweight, and strong winds could blow it over if not secured well. There are some small pegs that come with the decoration, but I used a few of my own tent pegs on top of those.

Here’s the instruction manual for putting this little number together.

2. Inflatable Father Christmas Sitting Santa with LED Lights 1.5m (5ft) Outdoor and Indoor Use

We couldn’t have a best outdoor Christmas decorations list without including a large Santa Claus now, could we? And for 40 quid, this is a great deal.

At around 5ft tall, this inflatable Santa sitting on a Christmas present, accompanied by an adorable teddy bear, would make a fantastic way to welcome visitors to your front door this Christmas. And don’t worry about having to inflate it, just plug it in and the decoration does the rest within minutes.

Because of this feature though, it means that you have to keep the decoration plugged in at all times otherwise it will deflate. Still, when it only takes a minute to do so, that isn’t a big flaw, and you can safely leave this plugged in at all times if you like.

The colours of Santa’s suit, the box he’s sat on, and the bear, are all very vibrant and the decoration stands out well during the day. Come night time, and with the lights switched on, this Santa glows brightly and warmly.

Included with the decoration are some plastic ground stakes, and also some tether lines, to fix Santa down and protect him from strong winds. These stakes and tethers aren’t the highest quality I’ve ever seen, but they are up to the job and I couldn’t complain.

The only thing that might put people off, is that the fan that keeps the decoration inflated makes a bit of noise. Personally, I didn’t find it that loud, but I know things like this can annoy some people so I thought it worth mentioning. You can always just turn it off when you go to bed if you are a light sleeper.

Who doesn’t love those lovely, sausage shaped canines we call Dachshunds? And what is more adorable than a floppy eared Dachshund smiling at you? Well, a Dachshund in a Santa suit of course.

Priced around 80 pounds at the time of writing this article, this product isn’t the cheapest inflatable Christmas decoration for your garden, but it is definitely one of the best, and the overall quality is superior to many of the other similar items we tested.

Just like the Santa we just reviewed above, this sausage dog Santa self inflates once plugged into the mains and is fully inflated in around a minute. I thought that the fan on this product was a little quieter than the Santa on the box decoration.

At first, I thought that I’d got my hands on a dud, as it wouldn’t inflate, but after begrudgingly listening to the wife and reading the instructions, I figured out the problem, zipped up the required area, and it worked perfectly.

There are two lights inside the dog, one to light up the neck and face area, and another around the middle of the dog’s body. These are fairly bright, and they light up the body and head parts of the decoration, but as the back legs are dark brown, and the light doesn’t quite illuminate them that well, they can be hard to see at night.

At 5ft long and 3.6ft tall, this certainly isn’t a small or understated decoration and will stand out in any garden. At the same time, it isn’t enormous and doesn’t take over the whole garden.

The ground stakes that come with the decoration are large, and good quality, as are the two ground ropes, and with the fixed sand bag they do a good job of keeping this cute Dachshund on his feet and standing stable.

If you ask me, at its current price it is a little expensive, but in these covid times it is to be expected with imported products. I will say it does look great, both illuminated and not, and the quality is better than most.

We don’t always get a white Christmas here in the UK. In fact, it is often more of a wet and windy one with a few days of hail. Whatever the weather brings, you can still have your very own smiling snowman in your garden with this product from Rocinha.

Fully inflated, the snowman stands 4 feet tall if you measure from the top of his hat, and rounded body gives him a substantial and chunky appearance. The snowman’s arms are posed raised up and out, with one hand holding a blue and white striped candy cane.

There are a lot of nice little details like the candy cane. From the red band and holly leaves on the Snowman’s hat, to the golden bells on his red and green scarf. There are even ‘coal’ buttons on his body, giving him a traditional look.

Like many similar products, the fan used to self-inflate the decoration is housed inside, and this keeps the mechanical parts safe from the weather. The LEDs are also inside, giving the decoration a nice bright glow when switched on.

The usual ground stakes and tether ropes are included in the price, and they are decent quality. There are built in sandbags that help to keep the snowman stable, and they work well, especially when combined with the ground stakes.

Inflation only takes a minute or two, and you can quickly deflate the decoration by simply unzipping the base. There weren’t any leaks around the zip from what I could tell, and everything seemed to be put together well.

All in all, this is a decent inflatable, outdoor, Christmas decoration with lights that won’t cost you a fortune, and looks amazing when lit up. The attention to detail on the hat, scarf, and face, really does make a difference too.

5. Lights4fun Light Up LED Christmas Penguin for Indoor Outdoor Use

Also available as a set of three decorations, with a Santa and snowman, this super-cute and adorable little penguin is something that your kids will just love.

Now, this isn’t a large decoration like most of the products we have reviewed on this page, and on its own, it won’t be mind blowing, but it will make a fantastic addition to any Christmas set up, both in and outdoors.

The 34cm penguin is made of good-quality acrylic, and has a blue and white translucent body. The Santa hat and the red scarf around its neck are both well done, and the overall look is very attractive.

Contained within the penguin’s body are 40 LED lights that give off a cool white glow and really accentuate the colours of the decoration when lit up. The small black eyes and orange beak really stand out against the brightness of the lights too, and it works incredibly well.

The LEDs that have been used in this product have been picked because they are very energy efficient, and not only does this save you worrying about the electricity bill, it also keeps the decoration cool to the touch and this is good for people with young children who like to grab things.

These cooler LEDs have another advantage, and that is that there is less chance of them getting overheated and then becoming damaged. This should increase the durability of the product, which is always a good thing.

Waterproof, solidly built, and with a clear 5 metre power cable that could easily reach indoors to a power outlet, there is a lot to like with this product, and the only thing that might put people off is that, at nearly 40 pounds, it is a little pricey for a smaller decoration.

Whether fixed onto your outside wall, or left standing on your lawn, the Christow Christmas tree rope light decoration is sure to brighten up your home this upcoming festive season.

Made from milk-coloured rope light, shaped into the form of a Christmas tree, it is pretty unimpressive before you switch it on. However, just plug it into either the mains or a waterproof extension lead, and watch it come to life.

The tree glows an incredibly bright green and can be seen clearly from quite a distance. There is also an equally bright red star on top, and the crispness of the light has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. The product photos used in advertisements don’t really do it justice.

As well as the red star on top of the tree, there are four different colored baubles. These baubles, and the star, have multiple white LEDs in them that flash and add to the already fantastic overall effect.

From top to bottom, this decoration measures 114cm, and is 70cm wide. It comes with its own base, and can be fixed into the ground using the large metal pegs that come with the product. Alternatively, you could fix it to the wall in a manner of your choosing. Either way, it will definitely stand out.

The 5-metre-long power cable comes in handy for people who don’t have an outdoor socket, and the wire is very thin and easy to fit through the window. In fact, the wire is so thin that it does make me wonder about its ability to last more than one season unless you’re very careful with it, but I could be wrong.

Other than my worries over the thickness of the power cable, I really can’t fault this outdoor Christmas decoration. Yes, it only looks good once switched on, but that’s kind of the point with this kind of product, and it does look extremely good once it is.

Another excellent option for those of you who are looking for a large Santa to stand guard at their front door, is this Homcom product that you can buy for under 40 pounds.

When I say large Santa, I mean it. Standing 2.4 metres tall, it towers over even the tallest people and will definitely grab a lot of attention from anyone who sees it. Despite its enormous size, it self inflates in very little time thanks to the integrated fan.

Not only is it quite a size, but also surprisingly robust for the price. The 190D polyester material that has been used is very hard wearing, and even after being blown around in some very strong winds over the space of two days, there were no signs of damage.

There are 8 LEDs inside this gargantuan Santa, and while they don’t exactly light up the entirety of the decoration, they do illuminate a large portion of it, and brighten up the most important features.

Some large, plastic, ground stakes are included in the box, as well as some ropes for tying the Santa down, but I would have liked to have seen an option for securing the decoration somewhere up top too, due to the size of it.

Having said that, the sandbag, tether ropes, and anchors, do a decent job of stopping any large motion that could cause problems, and if the winds get really bad, you can always quickly deflate it until the conditions get better.

Appearance-wise, this is a jolly looking Santa and I really like how the beard, moustache, and the trim of the hat are three dimensional and not just drawn on, like some other products. The candy cane held in Santas hand is another nice little touch, and just adds to the overall aesthetic.

Really, for under forty quid, you would have to search far and wide to find an extra-large Santa of this quality. It really is a good deal that I would recommend you take advantage of.

From an over-sized Santa Clause to a miniature polar bear now, with these charming little outdoor Christmas decorations from Konstsmide.

There are four different variations of this product to choose from: a sitting baby bear, a standing baby bear, a medium sized standing bear, and a mum and baby bear duo. The prices of these decorations vary from product to product, with the cheapest costing around 27 pounds and the most expensive having a price tag of just over 47 pounds.

Now, that may seem a bit steep for something that won’t exactly fill your garden, but I have to say that the quality of these products is top-notch, and I have no doubts that you will get years of use out of them.

With an IP44 rating, they are safe for use outside and the acrylic construction is very hardy and robust. The power cable is a very practical five metres long and should make it easy to connect to the nearest outlet, and as the cable is quite thin, it doesn’t stand out too much.

The version I ended up using outside the house was the medium sized standing bear, and it measured 30cm high, and 41cm lengthways, from head to tail. Despite its compact design, I was impressed that there are 64 white diodes contained within.

When switched on, these snow-white LEDs create a wonderful effect and the polar bears simply glow and almost sparkle. It’s really eye-catching, and you can’t help but stare and admire it.

Just like with the acrylic penguin we reviewed earlier, the LEDs in this polar bear don’t get overly hot, and the decoration is safe to touch. This makes it just as good an option indoors as it does for the garden, and you can place the polar bear on a piece of cloth or other material without worry.

Other than the slightly higher than you would expect price tag, there really isn’t anything to dislike about these wonderful little polar bears. They are incredibly well made, look fantastic, and have a certain charm to them that is hard to put a finger on.

Ok guys, that’s all for today but I’m sure you would have found something amongst these fabulous products to pique your interest. We also have articles on outdoor artificial Christmas trees, outdoor lights, wreaths, and garlands, and more, so why not take a look?

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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