Lawn & Garden

10 Ways to Keep Thieves From Stealing Your Holiday Yard Decorations

Are you tired of all that hard work going up in smoke when some grinch comes along and steals your inflatable candy canes? This guide will help.
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The holidays are about family, love, and warmth—or at least they should be. But every so often some coldhearted scrooges rain on everyone’s parade by helping themselves to holiday decorations. While such reprobates will eventually earn themselves a coal-filled stocking, this guide will help you prevent those greedy grinches from stealing your holiday decorations in the first place.

Keep in mind that none of the following tips are foolproof, but they should slow a potential thief down. Thieves like easy targets they can swipe quickly, like plastic candy canes, plug-in inflatables, and the like, so anything that hampers the heist will probably help keep your holiday decor safe. Best of all, most of these robber-foiling strategies are free.

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1. Use Heavy Decor


One of the keys to keeping holiday decor securely planted in the yard is to invest in heavy decorations. The heavier and bulkier the item, the harder it will be for a thief to grab as he walks by, or stuff into the trunk of a compact car. While it may not be practical to buy a new collection of heavier decorations, give heft some thought when replacing items moving forward.

2. Secure With Landscaping Staples

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Illuminated decorations and strands of holiday lights tend to catch the eyes of holiday troublemakers. But you may be able to thwart their attempts at making off with Rudolph by securing him with landscaping staples. Several staples placed over the wires and then driven into the ground could create enough resistance to stop a thief who’s trying to grab a quick armful. Use staples, like these galvanized landscaping staples at Amazon, that are at least 6 inches long.

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3. Keep Motion Lights Functional

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Some people remove light bulbs from outdoor fixtures when it’s time to install holiday light strands, but it’s a good idea to keep motion-sensing lights functional. If people enter the yard looking for a twinkling star of David or candy cane, these sensors may detect them and activate, flooding the area with light and blowing their cover. Motion-sensing lights can even help prevent package theft when homeowners forget to grab those boxes off the porch.

4. Use Zip Ties or Duct Tape

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Folks who’d prefer to keep their light-wrapped trees, shrubs, and handrails shining brightly rather than lose a set of lights to a yuletide thief should consider zip ties or duct tape. Use these items to secure the strands to handrails and trunks or branches of trees, and use plenty of them! No thief is going to spend 30 minutes cutting zip ties loose at night to steal a strand of holiday lights.

RELATED: 10 Inventive Outdoor Lighting Projects to DIY for the Holidays

5. Anchor With Rebar

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Tired of having inflatables float away, whether at the hands of thieves or gusts from Jack Frost? Consider anchoring them in place with rebar. Use a band saw, reciprocating saw, or hacksaw to cut several 2-foot-long pieces of rebar, and drive them into the ground behind the decoration. (Be sure to wrap the ends with duct tape to prevent holes.) Then, tether the blower to the rebar with steel cable, rope, chain, or even zip ties. You’ll have to get creative with the tether, but this method can stop thieves in their tracks as they try to make a break for it with your inflatable gingerbread man in tow.

6. Chain Items to Trees

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If you have trees in the yard, consider using them as anchors. Install light-duty chains around a tree and then attach the chains to the decorations. This may require drilling a hole in the decoration, attaching a hasp, or any number of other modifications. However, if anchored properly, Blitzen is sure to slip out from under a thief’s arm when the chain goes taut.

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7. Keep Decorations Away From the Street

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Consider rearranging your holiday tableau to keep the decorations a bit closer to the house this year. Decorations that are too close to the street are easier to steal, and this is a huge holiday mistake. Instead, place them up against the house or in spots where they’re easily visible from the windows. With your decorations a safe distance from the street, thieves will be less comfortable with Christmas capers, and Frosty might stick around for another year.

8. Shut It Down Overnight

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It may seem counterintuitive to shut off holiday lights at bedtime, but is anyone really appreciating all that sparkle when they’re fast asleep, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their head? Shutting off the lights overnight and even toting a few items into the garage may prevent some thieves from even noticing the house is decorated. Make it easier on yourself by putting holiday lights and other illuminated decorations on a timer or an outdoor smart plug so they’ll shut off late at night and switch on the next evening.

RELATED: Christmas Decorations Gone Wild!

9. Use Your Cameras and Security System

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Make sure your cameras and security system signs are on full display. Thieves who see your surveillance setup may be less likely to go full grinch on your seasonal decor. While security cameras may not stop the swiping, would-be scenery stealers will know there’s a chance they’ll get caught and may choose to move on to your neighbor’s North Pole display instead.

If you don’t have a home security system, now’s the time to get one. The best home security companies (like Vivint and SimpliSafe) can help protect your home year-round.

10. Request Additional Patrols From the Local Police


It never hurts to call the local police department and request some extra patrols down your street. Thieves casing holiday displays may take note of the increased police presence and think twice about performing their party-pooping pilfering in your neighborhood. Just make sure to wave at the local officers to show them your thanks and support.

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