Christmas: Let There Be Lights

  • November 28, 2017
  • Jenna Maxwell

It's crazy how it happens. One day we're busily taking down the Halloween decor, then, just as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are packed away, it's time to start decorating for Christmas. It happens so fast! In days gone by, Christmas decorating was left until the last minute, mainly for practical reasons. Historically Christmas decorations were often fresh evergreens, subsequently lit with (gasp) real candles. Only the freshest trees would (hopefully) not burn the house down and even then, holiday decorating became an event that quite literally played with fire! Thankfully, we've come a long way in the realm of holiday decor since those somewhat treacherous days of yesteryear. Today's Christmas decorations are not only much safer, but they are also incredibly beautiful. Most folks are anxious to get their decorations up as soon as possible just because they want to be able to enjoy them for the entire Christmas season. Here's your guide to getting the holiday lights that are best suited for your holiday decorating needs!

Nothing gets you and your whole neighborhood into the Christmas spirit like a brightly lit home festively decorated with a variety of holiday lights. The lights that we decorate with today have changed a lot during the past several years. Here are some important distinctions that you need to know!

You may have some older Christmas lights that you have used for years and years. C7 and C9 Christmas lights have been around for decades and represent some of the most popular and traditional Christmas lights ever made. C7 and C9 reference the size of the light bulbs, C7 bulbs being about 2" long and C9 bulbs about 3" inches long. These bulbs are known for their brightness, but they do have some distinct disadvantages. These old-fashioned bulbs are made of glass and filament, and because of the growing popularity of new more energy efficient bulbs, old school C7 and C9 replacement bulbs are getting harder and harder to find, and the bulbs inevitably do burn out. For this reason and a few others, many folks are ditching their old strings of C7 and C9 bulbs and are upgrading to a similarly designed set of brand new LED holiday lights.

Mini lights have also been around for a very long time. Mini lights, or incandescent lights as they are sometimes called, are comprised of very long strings of lights, sometimes hundreds of them in one strand. Mini lights come in strands of colored or white lights and can be used indoors or outdoors, making them extremely versatile and popular for holiday decorating. There are downsides to mini lights, however, and some of them can be downright annoying. For example, in some cases, if one mini light in a strand is flawed or broken, sometimes the entire strand of lights will go dark. Finding and replacing the offending light can be time-consuming and taxing. Incandescent bulbs also tend to be much dimmer than their counterparts. Because of their small size and dim light, decorating with mini lights may not give you the dazzle you desire, particularly if you are using them on the outside of your home. Remember Clark Griswold in the holiday classic, Christmas Vacation?  Yeah, he used a whole lot of incandescent lights to get his legendary, well lit home. There might be easier ways to get the job done.

LED lights have taken the holiday lighting genre by storm, and there are many advantages to using these energy efficient, brilliant gems. First of all, LED lights use less energy, far less than C7 and C9 bulbs and still substantially less than incandescent bulbs. LED lights do not get hot like C7, C9 and mini lights do. Thus the cooler attributes of LED lights make them much safer to use, particularly on drying evergreens. LED lights are also not fragile like C7, and C9 bulbs are, and if they are dropped, they will not break. Although LED lights may cost a bit more, their durability is likely to ensure that a string of LED lights will last for a very long time. Between energy savings and quality of the light strings themselves, many folks are opting to invest in LED lights for their holiday decorating, feeling that the cost savings will pay for the bulbs over time.

Nowadays, a huge variety of holiday lighting choices are readily available in retail stores and online. Create a basic game plan for your decorations and lights to ensure that you have enough strings of lights to get the job done. With so many exciting colors, patterns and styles of lights available, consumers can easily customize their holiday decor to their own tastes, creating anything from a traditional holiday look to something far more modern and truly unique.