Part of our Christmas traditions is the use of Christmas lights. Some people still use small wax candles on their trees, the tradition dating back to the 18th century. Since the use of electrically lit lights we have seen their use evolve. The technology behind Christmas lights is very diverse. Both indoor and outdoor lights have many options from which to choose. These include LED, battery powered, colored bulbs, white or clear bulbs, fairy lights, snowflakes, icicles, nets, garlands, ropes, twinkling lights, and bubble lights.
We are encouraged to use LED lights and this technology has come along way form its beginnings. In the beginning when they were used on the outside of our homes they looked a bit like Charlie Brown lights compared to our neighbors who were still using the old lights. The new ones now shine brightly.
Inside our homes we can create a warm glow by wrapping strings of lights around doorframes, window frames, pictures, or mirrors. Combined with Christmas greenery or fabrics they can be wrapped around banisters, placed on mantles, or placed in window wells. Glowing lights can be strung along the cabinets of the kitchen and bathroom.
As well as using Christmas lights on the traditional tree they can be placed on large plants to light an otherwise dark corner. Placing strings of lights in a large vase or crystal dish and combined with colored Christmas bulbs and pinecones can create a focal point in a room.
Bunching strings of lights under the sofa, or a chair or a cabinet creates a quiet subtle effect. Another up lighting effect is to string the lights along your baseboards. This gives a warm glow to a room. For a spectacular overhead look you can use the battery-powered lights to turn your chandelier into a wreath, or a modern whimsical look.
Dont forget the bedrooms, especially the childrens bedrooms. You can delight your children by giving them their own little Christmas corner with some lighting in their room. Just remember to be extremely safe when adding lights to your childs room.
At your windows you can use net lights or indoor strings hanging from the curtain rods behind a sheer drape. Frost the glass with a light coating of translucent metallic spray paint. This will help dim the light through the glass and will help enhance the ambiance.
For the best affect it is best to pick a theme and carry this from room to room. A sleek sophisticated look can be achieved by using white lights everywhere. On the other hand if you prefer colored lights go for it. The colored lights are especially magical to children. They tend to reflect our ideas of an old fashion Christmas. If you choose to combine these looks it is important to have a balance of each.
When decorating your home for Christmas it is best to carry your theme from the inside to outdoors or the reverse. This gives a warm coordinated look to your home. For outdoor lighting there are unbelievable choices in lights and decorations. You can line your driveway with lighted candy canes. You can adorn your lawns or rooftops with reindeer, Santa Claus, snowmen, and sleds. You can put robes of lights around your tree trunks. You can put nets over bushes. You can hang icicles, snowflakes, or strings of bulbs along gutters and around window and doorframes. A large lit wreath can hang at the front door or can be mounted in a window.
Safety is a major consideration when using Christmas lights. Make sure to use cool burning lights with fully coated wires when decorating inside. Do not overload outlets or leave Christmas lights in the reach of small children. Dont use more than 3 strings of lights in succession. Check for frayed cords and discard old strings. Check the criteria for your lights to make sure that they can be used with fabrics and Christmas greenery. Check that the lights that you are using outside are coded for this use and will be able to withstand the elements. Dont over use extension cords.
Enjoy the warm and glow that Christmas lights create. How you use them is only limited by your imagination.