Bring the festive fun outside with these trusty websites.

Back in December 1989, Warner Brothers gave us the gift that is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In this gem of a film, the hapless Clark Griswold – played by Chevy Chase – is determined to create an extra-special Christmas for his extended family. His setbacks, of course, are many.

Among the extreme lengths that Griswold goes to in his pursuit of perfection is the rigging up outside his home of 25,000 imported Italian lights and a plastic Santa Claus. With woeful inevitability, his 250 strands of lights, each with 100 bulbs per strand, forces an electrical disaster that necessitates the local power company to have to turn on the auxiliary generator.

If that hilarious scene is a lesson in how not to decorate the outside of your house at Christmas, let this article give you all the corrective confidence you need. Here, we suggest the best sites for outdoor decorations.

GARDEN TRADING


Garden Trading has long been among our favourite websites for pretty things for the house and garden. This year, its tickled us further by launching its very first Christmas collection. (We totally agree… what took them so long?) With two separate themes – the Nordic Collection and the Brass at Midnight Collection – it caters for every possible taste and is, simply, not to be missed.



Decorate outside in style by grouping together several of the Miner’s Lanterns in trees, lining paths or on windowsills. Meanwhile, the Classic Festoon Lights are the chicest strings of outdoor lights we’ve seen.

COX & COX
Based in Somerset, Cox & Cox has been bringing us covetable homewares for 20 years. Interiors stylist Fiona Cox set up her eponymous company after people kept asking her where she’d got a certain wall decoration that she’d made for a job. Her taste always was impeccable. The website does outdoor decorations so well that you’ll be tempted to do a Clark Griswold.



We cannot resist the Faux Rattan Light Up Reindeer, let alone the Neon Style Polar Bear. It’s time to showcase your festive flair.

ROBERT DYAS
In 1872, Robert Dyas opened up his first ironmongery store with a £5 inheritance. Over 140 years later, the chain – which Theo Paphitis, former Dragon’s Den investor, bought in 2012 – is still supplying all you need for your home and garden in-store and online. They say: ‘Our extensive selection of products range from some of the world’s most famous brands through to exciting new start-ups.



The common factor between them all is that their products share our ethos for being innovative, practical and designed to last.’ The store sells Christmas decorations of which Clark Griswold could only dream (bear in mind that Robert Dyas is a hardware retailer, not an elegant lifestyle brand). There are coloured candy canes that you stick along your pathway. There’s a remote-control outdoor laser projector light. And their Led Berry Lights are the prettiest way to illuminate your front hedges or trees.

NOT ON THE HIGH STREET
The home of thoughtful gifts from the UK’s best small businesses, Not On the High Street is a unique source of… well, almost anything you can think of. Jewellery, clothes, presents, artwork, ceramics – you name it, beautifully curated collections of it feature on the site. So it should come as no surprise that Not On the High Street is jolly good at Christmas, too. Don’t quote us but we think there’s a chance you could buy every single item you need to make merry (except perhaps the food for lunch) at this one-stop shop. You can certainly give your garden a magical yuletide makeover.



Treat the birds with a gorgeous Bird Food Christmas Wreath or two.



Stun the neighbours with the Personalised Neon Wreath, or take it all very gently with the Outdoor Mini Leaf Fairy Lights.

FLOWERBX
Finally, if you are frightened of a Griswold-style debacle and can only bring yourself to hang a tasteful wreath on your front door, make it a FLOWERBX wreath. Set up by Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, former communications director at Tom Ford, FLOWERBX is an online flower-delivery service that sources the freshest flowers, direct from growers, and delivers them to your door. The New York Times says: ‘Flowerbx, now four years old, has become the go-to florist in Europe for the fashion set — a consumer base that is as picky as it is needy when it comes to blooms.’



Its wreaths (and entire holiday collection, for that matter) are eye-wateringly beautiful. Our favourite is the Winter White Outdoor Wreath. Trust us, you cannot go wrong with this one.

If you liked reading this, then you might like:

Send Me A Christmas Tree
10 Top Christmas Children’s Books
Top Five Toy-Sharing and Toy Subscription Services

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2019