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A guide to festive lights

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Light up your garden this Christmas

Light is so precious at this time of year. As the darkness draws earlier and we need something to brighten up the long nights. Just seeing the houses on your street lit up for the holiday season is joyful and fun, but putting that all together can be a bit of a headache. Old lights can short out and some become a tangled mess. This guide will help you decide which lights will best suit your needs and budget.

LED verses traditional

First consider whether you want to use traditional incandescent or LED lights. If you’re looking to conserve energy and save your electricity bill, LED lights are your best choice. Though they are more expensive to buy, they are worth the investment. They last two to three times longer than incandescent bulbs and are less likely to break since the bulb is made of plastic. Incandescent lights are typically brighter, though more bulbs can be contained on a string of LED lights. If you just love your incandescent lights and cannot part with them, try putting them on a timer. That will allow you to have a magnificent display and not have them burn all through the night.

Size and style

Now that you’ve chosen either LED or incandescent lights, there are a variety of sizes and styles to choose from. Traditional string lights have made a comeback in recent years (these are the ones that are shaped like strawberries). These come in sizes that are called C6, C7 and C9. C6 bulbs are three-quarters of an inch in diameter and are one and one-eighth of an inch tall. C9 bulbs are the biggest coming in at one and a quarter of an inch in diameter and two and a half inches tall.

If you’re looking for something more modern, icicle lights are very popular. Simple and effective, they can be hung from gutters with clips or attached to an archway for extra appeal. If you have a dark alcove above your front door, hanging net lights above can brighten up your porch. Net lights can also be draped over shrubs to accentuate your lawn. Mini lights or rope lights can highlight any trees you may have.

Musical lights

Of course, the latest craze is setting your lights to music. If you want to go all out and make your house the best on the block, you can buy a music synchronization kit. Kits can vary with the number of songs that are pre-synced allowing for six to 16 different channels. Those range in price from $150 to $1000. Then there are some systems that allow you to program your own display from your computer with 64 channels. 

The holidays are meant for fun and laughter. So no matter how you set up your outdoor display, either with blow-up figures, a variety of lights, or just a simple set of white lights lining your walkway, you will brighten your house and life this holiday season.

By Meagan Dieroff

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