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Holiday Lights

Nothing announces the advent of the holidays quite like a home exterior bedecked in glimmering, colorful holiday lights. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or another cheery day of celebration, these bright pops of color bring a sense of joy and illumination to your décor. With Christmas lights being a popular choice for all, it’s easy to get tangled up in all the different types: LED, icicles and more. That’s why we put together these handy tips to, well, light the way:

What’s the deal with all these different Christmas light bulb sizes?

While the popular mini bulbs are a great go-to choice, you may find you enjoy the brilliance and style of some other shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick rundown of the more common styles:

  • Mini: The most common style, you’ll find these miniature, candle-like bulbs in many a store. They tend to be approximately 5/8 of an inch tall and 1/4 inch in diameter.

  • C6: These resemble a small strawberry in shape and were traditionally the light of choice for decorating the tree. They run about 1 1/8 inches tall and 3/4 of an inch in diameter.

  • C7: The C7 style is slightly larger and rounder than the C6 and is about 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 inch in diameter.

  • C9: A great choice for outdoor lighting, the C9 runs approximately 2 1/2 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

  • G series: These unique bulbs resemble round globes. To determine the size, divide the number that comes after the “G” by 8 and round your result to the nearest whole number.

What’s the difference between incandescent and LED holiday lights?

If you’re debating between purchasing incandescent or LED Christmas lights, you should know right up front that LED is a much better choice in every regard except price. While incandescent bulbs are cheaper, LED bulbs are much more energy efficient with many meeting Energy Star guidelines, last up to three times longer, and feature more bulbs per string to provide ultimate brightness.

How do I create a winter wonderland with outdoor Christmas lights or Halloween lights?

No matter how simple or elaborate your lighting scheme is, it’s always best to map it out and measure it up before you begin hanging your decorations. Before you start, you should also take these other tips in mind:

  • Although Christmas light strings are intended to be plugged into one another, never plug more than three strings together and only plug together light strings of the same lengths. Different lengths are rated for different amperages, so it’s best not to mix and match.

  • Only use bulbs and light strings that are approved for outdoor use. They’re specially designed to hold up to that harsh weather!

  • Begin decorating in the evening so you can clearly see your work and adjust if needed. Don’t forget to view your work from the street to see how it will look to passersby.

  • Evergreen bushes, trees and mailbox and light posts are great places to add to your lighting scheme. Lighted nets work great for bushes and you can wrap trees and posts in a candy cane spiral. Larger bulbs look amazing on evergreen trees.

  • It’s recommended that you string larger C7 and C9 bulbs about 12 inches apart. This will provide the best effect when viewers stroll past or drive by on the street.

How can I add to my interior décor with indoor Christmas lights?

With a little creativity you can add a touch of whimsy and radiance to your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started on creating a magical holiday theme indoors:

  • Light-up lanterns: If you have a few of those gorgeous Moroccan lanterns with the colorful glass panels, imagine what a few white Christmas lights would look like inside. The effect is still splendid in lanterns with clear panels or even birdhouses and glass bottles or vases.

  • Framing art: Do you have a lovely piece of Christmas art or maybe even a mirror you like to display for the holidays? Try wrapping some string lights around the frame for some exceptional ambiance.

  • Branch out: If you love the idea of a rustic or country Christmas, try bringing in some dry, clean branches for a centerpiece, mantel décor or even wall art. Add the finishing touch by wrapping lighted cords around the branches, then watch them light up!

  • Garland accessories: If you’re already planning to drape a few garlands across the mantel, over some shelves and around the banister, try infusing them with some twinkle lights for a fun or even elegant effect.

  • Mix old and new: If you have some larger C7 or C9 bulbs that have burnt out, don’t toss them! Instead, use them in a bowl or on a plate and place a candle or other accessory in the middle to create a unique, festive decoration.
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Featured Reviews of Holiday Lights

Plastic Luminaria Lanterns, Snowflake, Set of 12
Holiday Lights
November 22, 2015
Sturdy, reusable luminaria are a great buy!: If you live in an area that's not terribly well-lit by street lamps, luminaria are a brilliant way to light the path to your door on special occasions. But if you've tried the paper-bag variety, you know they're a bit hard to manage: you have to fold down a "collar" around the top to make them stay open, and if the weather is rainy, they're toast. These plastic luminaria lanterns are vastly superior because they stay open on their own and you can use them again and again. I put a bit of kitty litter in mine to weight them down and prevent tipping if it gets windy. The luminaria stay open so they're easy to fill. Then to provide the light, I use some inexpensive votive candles in equally inexpensive glass holders. A butane lighter borrowed from the gas grill sets them alight, and they shine warmly through the luminaria, and they look so festive! Guests always comment on them. When the evening is done, emptying out the litter is a breeze; I just pour it back into the catbox! A definite five star item.
70.75" Lighted Musical Snowman Vertical Snowing Christmas Street Lamp
Holiday Lights
December 5, 2017
This is awesome: Stop contemplating it and just buy this item. I am an attorney and I was looking for decorations for our law firm. I purchased this "lantern" and placed it in our waiting room. I get compliments on it constantly. It was delivered on time, was easy to put together and is high quality. I am going to order another one for my home.
Battery Operated LED Wire Starry Starry String Lights, Warm White, 20'
Holiday Lights
October 28, 2017
This is so great!: I LOVE to produce the "UNEXPECTED" subtle effect. I also love that these lights have different effects! They will have a great impact on my guests at an affordable price Thank you!
50Lt BO WA LED Warm White /GW Timer Sensor 5"
Holiday Lights
December 23, 2017
Pretty good: So far so good (like the 4-6 hr. option). Missing star is due to how cheaply it's made...I've purchased similair product several years ago so notice the plastic covering is even more "light weight" now.
Liteup225 Solar String Lights 225 Count For Holiday Or Party Outdoor Lights, Whi
Holiday Lights
December 26, 2017
Easy money saver: This product was so easy to set a child could do it I gave it a four because the bulbs could have been bigger. With the solar system it a money and can be use any where out doors
Sylvania V42987-88 Christmas Edison Drop 20-Light Set Withblack Wire, Red/Green
Holiday Lights
December 12, 2018
Nothing Broken!: I am normally jinxed when it comes to ordering anything 'fragile' online as inevitably it arrives in shards. However, these lights arrived in perfect condition and the supplier (AG Industrial) even included a couple of spare bulbs just in case. Now, that's fantastic! Timely delivery, product is exactly as described and they work and are beautiful. No curse words were uttered as I hung up these stellar lights. How victorious is that?
Prime Wire and Cable Holiday Laser Landscape Stake Light
Holiday Lights
January 13, 2018
Great Laser with limited life: This laser is definitely one of the better ones with bright, crisp light patterns. Comes on automatically at dusk and goes off automatically 5 hours later. The only problem is the little motor that drives the two kaleidoscope type lenses has a limited life span. Mine lasted 3 seasons and my son in laws only lasted 2. Nevertheless, I like it well enough that I am purchasing another one to replace the first.
Lighted Mercury Glass Ball Sphere, Red, Large
Holiday Lights
December 2, 2018
Interesting decoration: If I had seen this in a store I probably would not have purchased it, however, it is an interesting piece to have though it doesn't look in real life quite what it looks like in pictures.

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