Lighting your way to a perfect Christmas

Christmas and decorative lights go hand in hand, don’t they? Who can imagine a Christmas without all the wonderful displays of lights? We certainly can’t! Every year we see households and businesses lighting up to decorate Christmas trees, rooms, workspaces, and even gardens. Plus, the annual switching on of the lights takes place to bring festive cheer to city centres across the country.

As we mentioned in our previous blog post about the different ways you can feel festive this Christmas, Christmas lights is one of these ways you can start getting into the spirit of the season. By having a go at creating your very own winter wonderland, you’ll really help to make the most of the Christmas period. Whether you like to follow a simple approach and just put up a few lights to give an understated look, or you are someone who likes to go full out and create a beacon of joy, there is no denying the glowing feeling it can give seeing all the illuminating displays. Yet with so many different designs and colours to pick from, it can be difficult choosing the right lights to create that warm and cosy ambience we all want. So, stay with us as we go through a guide to Christmas lights and help try lighting your way to a perfect Christmas…

8 tips for creating Christmas light displays

Whether you want to find ways to spruce up your seasonal indoor light display, you are new to creating an outdoor display, or it is something you do every year, here are some tips to help you create a stunning light display – because we all want our festive displays to look the best they can be, right?

1.      Balance

Maintaining a balance between the lights you pick will make all the difference in how your displays looks. Overcrowded displays can be overbearing while too little can lack impact. Cramming all your lights into one space will not look good either. Create depth by placing lights apart and at different heights. Maintaining a balance will help avoid the disappointment of a bad light display. Choosing a colour scheme for your lights also helps in maintaining a balance. Too many different colours will look terrible while all the same colours will look bleak. Think of a colour scheme for your lights first to keep a coordinated balance.

2.      Less can sometimes mean more

Never underestimate the power of the understated look, particularly if you are new to creating light displays. Even the smallest of Christmas lights can make a big difference if you choose the right lights and put them up in the best possible place. However, did you know bulbs come in different sizes? The size of your tree will determine how many bulbs you should ideally include and what type. It all sounds a bit technical, but this guide to Christmas lights gives you the full rundown.

3.      Start out small

If you are buying lights, you should check first to see where they will go and then measure up. Doing so will help you to determine how many lights you’ll need. If you are relatively new to creating Christmas light displays, you should probably begin by just putting up a few lights up. Begin by picking a main focal point, such as your Christmas tree or a tree outside, and only put up a few lights to begin with. As you get more experienced at creating light displays, you can begin to experiment with more lights, possibly fancier too!

4.      Safety first

There are a couple of safety precautions that should be considered when putting up lights, whether it be inside or out. First and foremost, check to see if the lights still work. You don’t want to go through all the effort of putting them up only to be disappointed when the big switch on goes wrong. Disconnect any lights from the power supply before putting them up, use a sturdy ladder if you are putting lights up at a height, and always tuck away or fix down any wiring on the ground using clips to avoid trip hazards. Whatever you choose to decorate, always start at the bottom, and work your way up. Most importantly, do not leave any inside lights on overnight or while everyone is asleep to avoid potential fire hazards.

5.      Check for damaged or broken bulbs

A boring but necessary part when putting up Christmas lights. Check every bulb to make sure they are not broken or missing. These can lead to shocks, nasty cuts or even fires. If you have replacements (some light sets come with a couple), replace the damaged or missing bulb if possible.

6.      Keep lights safe from Jack Frost

Always make sure when you are buying lights for outdoor use, that they are weatherproof. That also includes any wires or extension cables. These need to be safely tucked away from whatever the weather throws at them, and not just left out on the open ground.

7.      Store and save

I’m sure we’ve all been there – you’ve picked the perfect tree, and the Christmas tunes are playing in the background. The family is just about to start putting up the decorations only to find the lights are in a tangled mess and it takes forever (or what seems like it) to get them untangled. By that time, everyone has lost interest. Wrapping and storing your lights correctly can help to make all the difference in making them last longer and avoiding this nightmare before Christmas. The best way to wrap and store your lights to avoid a tangle is wrapping them into a ball.

8.      Battery vs LED lights

Of course you cannot have lights without power. With that said, there are different ways of powering your lights. Lights can either be powered by LEDs connected to the mains or battery operated.

Battery powered lights are ideal for use indoors, particular in places that are difficult to reach or where there is no plug socket available. Using battery powered lights can be a perfect addition to any Christmas tree or room decorations due to the practicality they offer. The only downside to battery operated lights is the inconvenience should the batteries run out (especially if you haven’t got spares!).

LED and fairy lights, however, substitute the flexibility and convenience to offer a wide range of designs and colours, from snowy white to brilliant green, or even Rudolph’s nose red. While these do need to be near a plug socket, the designs and colours can more than make up for this small sacrifice. LED bulbs also have the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly too compared to halogen and CFL bulbs, as they are:

  • - More cost effective,
  • - Use less power,
  • - Have a longer life span.

 

LED bulbs also give you the same crisp and bright light that halogen bulbs give.

Here’s a quick break-down of battery-operated lights and LED lights:

Battery vs LED lights

Now we’ve gone through the tips to help give you the best possible light display this Christmas; it’s time to look at the different lights you can choose.

Indoor lights

Indoor lights are great for sprucing up your Christmas tree display or adding a bit of festive cheer to a room. Indoor lights can come in a multitude of different colours, and as stated, are either battery or mains powered. String lights are the most common and either come in a straight line or in an icicle type design where the lights hang from the main wire.

White fairy lights are one colour you can go for. The versatile nature of these white sparkling beauties is that they can compliment any Christmas display you may already have. You also have coloured lights that can really add a vibrant touch to any display. The best thing about coloured lights is you are not limited to one colour either! You can get multi-coloured lights that can have multiple strands (known as cluster lights) or that change between different colours. Novelty lights, such as snowflakes or stars, can also help add that extra something to your light displays, so why not give them a try?

And of course, the best part of indoor lights is you can usually put them up anywhere: over shelving, up the banister, from the ceiling, around a mirror, you name it!

Outdoor lights

Setting up outdoor light displays tends to be more complicated than indoor lights, as you need to consider weather conditions, e.g. making sure the lights are suitable for outdoor use and how you will fix the lights up. Plus, they also come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs which makes choosing outdoor lights even more difficult.

Alongside the similar designs of fairy lights and multi-coloured bulbs you find for indoor lighting, outdoor lighting also offers ornamental and novelty designs. Ornamental outdoor Christmas lights come in all kinds of wonderful designs including reindeer, snowmen, presents, snowflakes, you name it! In fact, think of anything Christmas related and the chances are you can get an outdoor ornamental light of it.

But what about lights for around the outside of your home? You can get net lights to add some seasonal décor to your house. These come in different novelty designs, ranging from snowflakes to hanging frozen icicles, and make a great addition to the rooflines, eaves, and windows of your home.

Now we’ve covered different indoor and outdoor lights, let’s look at some creative ideas you could try out to help light your way to a perfect Christmas.

12 easy creative DIY ideas for light displays

Here are 12 easy and creative ideas for Christmas light displays that you can easily try creating yourself at home. So go on and give these a go, and try mixing up your festive light display:

  1. 1. Christmas tree cages by wrapping lights around bamboo sticks cages or tomato cages.
  2. 2. Dazzling or changing lights inside a glass jar or vase mixed in with baubles.
  3. 3. Paper Christmas tree on the wall with a light at each corner of the paper topped with a star.
  4. 4. North pole spire wrapping red and white lights around a pole topped with a ball light.
  5. 5. Light your way home with archways of lights leading up the garden path or driveway.
  6. 6. Candy lights by putting fairy lights inside large transparent candy wrappers.
  7. 7. Creating a wreath using fairy lights.
  8. 8. Snowball piles with a light inside.
  9. 9. Wrapping fairy lights around a hanging basket.
  10. 10. Frosted hanging light jars with LED lights inside.
  11. 11. Lighted mistletoe.
  12. 12. Hanging snowflake lights from the hallway ceiling.

 

We hope you found this guide to Christmas lights useful in helping you to decide what light displays to use this year. If you want to shop around for some sparkling Christmas lights, pop in to our store or check out our Facebook page to see our range of Christmas lights. We have a wide variety available including novelty and ornamental lights. Either way, we hope this guide helped in lighting your way to a perfect Christmas. Merry Christmas from everyone at Hilltop!