During this holiday season homes become illuminated with lights and decorations, helping elevate the feeling of cheer and goodwill. Christmas light preferences have changed some over the years – from the multi-colored bulbs we loved in the 50s, 60s and 70s, to the one-color or two-color themes so popular since the 80s.
Of course there are some people who will never conform to trends and simply continue the lighting traditions that they enjoyed as a child. Whatever your preference, there are some key things to know about your Christmas lights to get the look you want in a way that suits your style and energy use preferences.
LED vs. Incandescent or Traditional Lights
Many of us are familiar with the traditional or incandescent lights we grew up with. The colors were varied and the bulb itself was often encased in colored glass. The overall effect was bright and warm at the same time.
One of the main differences with newer LED lights – at least when they first came out – was the pure white color of the bulb which looked very bluish and harsh in tone. Thankfully, newer LED lights are now coming in a “warmer white” tone that traditionalists tend to appreciate.
One of the biggest differences between LED and the traditional incandescent bulb is cost. LED lights cost significantly more than traditional lights (though the cost difference is shrinking as the prices of LED lights gradually decreases). Like so many things in life, sometimes you get what you pay for. In the case of LED lights you are paying more but getting much greater value as the lights last longer than incandescent lights.
The longer life of LED lights is based on the fact that LED bulbs use about one tenth the amount of energy required by incandescent bulbs. If you plan on putting up a lot of lights inside and outside of your home, then cost may become a factor and you will find that LED lights offer you a better deal.
Yet another consideration: If you are planning to string together many strands of lights on the exterior of your home, you will need more exterior outlets when using incandescent lights. Any more than two or three strands of incandescent lights on one outlet could possibly blow a fuse. With the low energy requirements of LED lights, you can string together 20 to 50 or more strands on a single outlet without much chance of blowing a fuse. Rule of thumb: If an LED string has 2.4 watts, as many as 80 strings can be connected together.
Make a Plan for Your Holiday Lights
Do you make a plan for your exterior Christmas lights or do you just hang them in the same spot each year? Have some fun with your lights by planning in advance where and how you would like lights to adorn your home. Put your ideas to paper and be creative. Perhaps you want to hang lights on clips attached to your roof line, or maybe you’d prefer to illuminate those beautiful evergreens and trees planted in your yard. Maybe you’d like to hang lights everywhere!
The point is to be creative and have fun. Remember this is all about good cheer and if your home brings a smile to your family and others, you’ve done well!