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How to Find the Perfect Christmas Lights for Your Home's Holiday Glow

Nov 9th 2023

Winter days can be bleak and dreary; winter nights are long and dark. Outdoor Christmas decorations are a wonderful way to celebrate the season while adding color and light. 

Of all Christmas decorations, Christmas lights are by far the most popular. You can make a big impact in a jiffy with just a few inexpensive string lights. Plus, nothing brightens a winter night like outdoor Christmas lights. 

Lights on houses, trees and fences. Lights on bushes, fences and pillars. Lights framing doorways, windows and eaves. It seems any non-moving surface is fair game for a string of lights.

The beauty of Christmas lights inspires many to decorate their own homes. However, there are so many types of Christmas lights that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

tree branches encrusted with colored lights at night

Look at All the Lights!

If this is your first time decorating with holiday lights, the extensive selection you’ll find stacked on store shelves can be confusing. 

You can clear up some initial questions by checking out our Christmas Central Lighting Resource Center, which offers a comprehensive guide to Christmas light styles.

Knowing all your options is a great way to start planning your Christmas light display. Practically speaking however, your choice of lights will be guided by a couple of decisions.

southern home decorated for Christmas

What Kind of Lights Do You Like?

Christmas lights are available in multiple colors and styles. You’ll find white lights, multicolor lights, color-changing LED lights and just about every color combination in between. Light types include mini lights, globe lights, retro style lights and myriad variations. Take a closer look and decide what kind of holiday lighting fits your home and personal decorating style.

For instance, if your choice of Christmas decor is big and bold, multicolor C9 Christmas lights might be perfect for you. Prefer serene and understated? Mini white Christmas lights could be more your style.

Pick your favorites, but don’t head to the checkout line or cart just yet.

close up of colorful mini Christmas lights

Consider Christmas Light Safety

Outdoor Christmas lights may be exposed to rain, ice and snow, however these are not normally safe conditions for electrical equipment. 

Before hanging outdoor lights, check the package or product description to make sure your lights are rated for outdoor use. 

Wattage is another consideration many people overlook. Our Lighting Resource Center offers technical lighting information that can help explain how to calculate the wattage of your Christmas lights. You never want to string more lights together than your outlets can safely handle. 

Many Christmas lights have a plug end that allows you to “chain” similar light strings. In general, you can connect more LED lights than incandescent lights. When in doubt, however, use power strips and several outlets to plug in multiple Christmas light sets.

house with blue Christmas lights around front door, window and stair rails

Plan Your Light Display

When deciding where to hang your Christmas lights, ask yourself this question: How much time and effort do you want to spend decorating?

Don’t try to create the most elaborate Christmas light display in the neighborhood if you know your patience and enthusiasm will melt as quickly as the first snowflake. You can always start small and add a little more each year.

For a quick and easy holiday lighting project, loop rope lights around your stair rail, spread net lights over your shrubs or hang icicle lights from the gutters. Even a simple frame of Christmas lights or prelit garland around a doorway adds a festive look in flash!

large lighted moravian star and mini warm white lights hanging in a tree

How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

When you’re planning your holiday lights, consider the overall effect. For instance, will your house look unbalanced if you border the windows in colored lights and outline the garage door with white lights? Or if you frame the windows on the first floor but not the second? Will your mini lights still twinkle as brightly on a house set far back from the road?

Rather than limiting your lights to the entry, try to spread your Christmas light installation from one end of the house to the other. Light areas close to the house, but also set out lighted decorations on the lawn for depth. Don’t neglect architectural elements like pillars, stair rails and fences, as well as your landscaping. And if you’re not afraid of ladders, shed light on your house from the gutters to ground level.

snowy house at night with many lights and lighted lawn decorations

Bright and Cheerful

Winter days can be bleak and dreary; winter nights are long and dark. Using Christmas lights to add color and light is a wonderful way to spread a bit of Christmas warmth and cheer.
clear white  mini Christmas lights
Multicolor wide angle LED Christmas lights
warm white LED wide angle icicle Christmas lights
green LED faceted C9 style Christmas lights
How to Find the Perfect Christmas Lights for Your Home's Holiday Glow

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