NOV 25 2022
Tips and Tricks for Your Holiday Lights
It’s the holiday season! Soon you’ll want to light up the night with a home as “merry and bright” as your holiday cheer. That means the time to start preparing for your wow-worthy displays is now. So, grab a hot cup of cocoa and let’s make a plan.
Planning is Everything
Let’s start with a few pro tips. Tip #1 is to carefully plan and measure what you’ll need before you buy.
First, sketch out—or at least have an idea—of your overall design. Are you planning to deploy some blowup Santas or snowmen, giant candy canes and gingerbread houses with your lighting display? Spend some time thinking about what will go where on your lawn, your front porch and other areas. Maybe you’ll even have “theme” areas such as a lit-up Santa’s workshop, or a white light design over real or artificial snow.
As you plan the design, take a look at your overall space. Decide whether your shrubs and trees can be used as focal points, and decide whether lit-up walkways and borders on garden beds will be part of your look. You might also think about whether you want to focus the eyes of passersby on the main entrance of the house or another area.
Once you know the design elements and the effect you want to achieve, consider what type of lighting you’ll use to get there. To begin, there are several types of lights.
Lighting Comes in Many Forms
Bulb lights come in two main types—incandescent and LED. LEDs cost more up front but will last 2-3 times longer, so they can help you save on your holiday electric bill over a number of years. LEDs are also less likely to break than glass incandescent bulbs. On the other hand, incandescent bulbs are less expensive in the short run, and they may be more pleasing to the eye. LEDs can be very bright—almost too bright—while incandescent lights are warmer and more subtle within your overall lighting and decoration scheme. A key piece of advice for a more coherent display: once you’ve decided on a bulb type, stick to it. Don’t mix the two.
Besides the familiar strings of bulb lights, there are a few other types of lighting to consider.
You can get your creative juices flowing with colorful, versatile, flexible rope lights-- small lights linked together and encased in a PVC jacket. They’re great to use on porch columns, around doorway and window frames, or wound over outcroppings to create straight, curved and creative, intricate designs. You can pick white or clear lights, or add your favorite colors and spell out a holiday message or your family name. Keep in mind that rope lights come in different voltages and can be powered by batteries or plugged in, so consider your available power sources when planning. Also, the encased lights can be LED or incandescent—LED lights require less energy and generate less heat.
Icicle lights are another type of lighting. These string lights mimic the appearance of icicles hanging on peaks and windows. Icicle lights are perfect if you want to create a snowy winter scene. They create a “winter wonderland” when there is real snow on the ground and can evoke a nostalgic “white Christmas” feel when surrounded by palm trees.
You might also try net lights on your shrubs, hedges, bushes, or if you’re ambitious, the branches of a tree. Net lights are just that: netting with small light bulbs at the “joints” of the net. Simply throw them over the foliage—or any other object—and they’ll take on its shape and character. They come in white and colors, and you can use them to brighten up a walkway or accent your highwood® outdoor furniture.
If you have a design, logo, pattern, or other image you’d like to project, the side of your house or any flat outdoor surface can take on a holiday identity of its own. It’s as simple as projecting a cutout image in front of the light source or projector. And while you have the projector out, have everyone bundle up, bring out the hot cocoa, and show your favorite holiday movies while sitting in your weatherproof highwood® chairs!
Color Sets the Tone
This is also the time to think about color. Do you want a traditional red, green, and white array, a more monochromatic palette of white lights, or more modern colors such as blue? Think of the other decorations you want to incorporate. If you have a giant red and white Santa, for example, white lights will be a great complementary element.
Measure Once, Measure Again
Once you know what you want, take your measurements. Using a tape measure, determine the main landscape or other elements you want to highlight, and measure the number and length of light strings it will take to achieve your goal. Measure more than once to be sure you’re accurate before you buy.
More Pro Tips
Here are some other points to keep in mind:
Inspect wires and bulbs before you hang them. Some bulbs burn out over time, and wires can become brittle. This is especially important if you use the same decorations year after year.
Use plastic hooks or clips as opposed to nails. Plastic can be easier to use and is safer around electricity.
Don’t string too many sets of lights together. If you’re using the electricity from your house, you don’t want to overload your circuits, Clark!
And never forget about safety. Avoid tripping hazards on walkways by securing cords with electrical tape. And be extra careful if you’re using electricity near wet or falling snow.
With all this in mind, your house is sure to be the belle of the block. And as always, the more lights the merrier! Santa will be sure to see your house from the sky.
Happy Holidays from your friends at highwood® USA!
What is your best tip for creating a wonderful holiday display? We want to hear about it in the comments below!