The end-of-year holiday season starts with Thanksgiving, as we gather to feast and celebrate the blessings we have enjoyed in the past year. But it doesn’t stop there. We savor the season in a variety of ways, from Thanksgiving right through the end of the year and into the beginning of the next. Lake Country Publications is celebrating, too, with a series of stories designed to feed the holiday spirit in us all.

Decorating your yard for the holidays is a favorite pastime for many people. But if you’ve put up the same decorations year after year, you may be looking for some new ideas. We checked in with a few local stores to see what’s popular in outdoor holiday adornments this year.

According to Pete Biebel, manager at Biebel’s True Value in Hartland, outdoor solar lights are quite popular this year. A newer item, they come in a variety of configurations, but they’re seeing many people drawn to the netting style. The solar features allow lights to be placed where there is limited electricity access. They charge during the day, light up at night, and turn off on their own once the sun comes back up. Battery-powered lights are appealing to folks this year as well.

Many people are interested in statues, including nutcracker style ones.

Standard for many people’s holiday decorations are flood lights, which are easily installed using a stake in the ground, and allow people to light up their decorations in a variety of holiday colors.

Though they don’t carry much for outdoor decorations, La Belle Legacy owner Jean Niebler said that birch and natural elements are quite popular for outdoor decorating. Fresh greens, birch limbs, pine cones and berries are great ways to add seasonal touches to outdoor pots near the entrance of one’s home. Pine boughs in window boxes and wrapped around lamp posts are another idea. Finally, a simple decoration idea Niebler gives is to place nonbreakable ornaments, candles, or pine cones in large lanterns, adorned with fresh greens, to welcome holiday guests.

Katie Guindon, owner of designXchange in Hartland, agrees that white birch is one of the hot trends right now. Branches can be placed standing up with fresh trimmed evergreen.

She also suggested bringing new life to that old sled or skis by wrapping them with a classic red bow.

“Everyone likes classic snow toys dressed up,” she said.

More importantly than the beautiful decoration, “it opens up the dialog for the generations to talk about days gone by,” she said.

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