Technology

How many of these Christmas light decorating tricks do you use?

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Regardless of the place you reside, there are many methods to get artistic with Christmas lights. You condo and rental dwellers could lack outside retailers, however you possibly can nonetheless beam your festive flare to the neighborhood.

I grew up with mother and father who went wild with Christmas decor at our home. However now, a long time later, I am dwelling the renter’s life with youngsters of my very own. And which means discovering artistic methods to gentle up home windows, doorways and balconies for the vacations. Listed below are a few of my suggestions for displaying Christmas lights which are easy, low-cost and nonetheless look skilled. (It’s also possible to watch my tutorial within the video embedded above.)

Hook up dimension C9 LED bulbs alongside a window edge for all to see.


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Border the home windows

Lights round a window are an excellent easy technique to unfold cheer — and you are going to need to purchase some huge, chunky bulbs to verify everybody can see that cheer. Meaning dimension C7 or C9. And for anybody with an condo or rental, you may want to connect them on the within border.

Keep away from incandescent bulbs for indoor adorning. I say that as somebody who has purchased them for years as a result of, properly, they’re cheaper. However these bulbs get scorching, and that is not good if the bulbs will contact something — or when you’ve got youngsters or pets. The LED C9-size bulbs could value a bit extra, however they’re safer and extra dependable. For my home windows I used the House Depot model Home Accents, a multicolor LED strand of C9 bulbs marked as “tremendous shiny,” and these are indistinguishable from incandescents from a distance. 

Comparing incandescent and LED Christmas lights

Incandescent and LED look related. Right here, the LED is pictured above the incandescent strand.


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For a big window, a strand of 25 lights ought to work properly (about 16 toes in size). You may additionally want clear, plastic, 3M Command Decorating Clips. A pack of 40 small hooks is greater than a lot for one window. Stick one each six inches alongside the border, retaining the hooks in the identical course. Distance between hooks does not have to be actual. What issues is that you can maintain the bulb wire taught and in a straight line because it hugs the sting, with bulbs going through outward in the identical course. 

Christmas lightbulb

Tuck in a strand of wire into the hook alongside the window border, making an attempt to maintain the road straight and taut as you go round.


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Wait not less than 30 minutes for adhesive to set towards the window border wall earlier than attaching the sunshine wire into the hooks. Be sure you plan the place the plug finish goes to connect to an extension wire earlier than you start. 

One of the best balcony on the block

Adorning the railing of a balcony might be difficult if there is not any outside energy outlet. However there are alternatives. 

Light socket power outlet adapter

This $four adapter turns a light-weight socket into an influence outlet.


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In case your balcony or outside space has a light-weight fixture that makes use of a typical bulb, you are in luck. Take out the bulb and screw in a light socket adapter, which converts a light-weight socket into two energy retailers. (And you’ll nonetheless screw a bulb within the backside.) 

Now you’ve gotten a technique to energy lights to place round a balcony railing. However do not simply slop on a strand haphazardly — maintain the bulbs in an orderly design. A straightforward technique is to take a strand of C7 or C9 bulbs and make every bulb face upward on the railing, retaining the wire in a straight line. Use zip ties round every bulb to safe the strand snugly, with all bulbs all pointing up. 

Securing Christmas lights with zip ties.

Safe lights on a railing in a straight line, pointing upward, with zip ties. 


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Be sure you check extension cords and lights earlier than pinning them down with zip ties. Do not forget that gentle socket adapters use plugs with two prongs, so three-prong grounded extension cords will not work.

I additionally advocate protecting open sockets with a strip {of electrical} tape, to stop water from getting inside uncovered slots.

Battery-powered vacation magic

If you do not have an out of doors gentle to show into an outlet, go together with battery-powered lights. I am seeing a ton of selections this yr at shops — a number of of that are marked secure for outside use. Some have timers that may routinely flip off lights after six hours. Some lights have choices to modify between flashing and chaser results.

A strand of micro dot LEDs wrapped around a banister.

This rope of 100 micro dot LEDs stretches a bit over 24 toes and takes six AA batteries.


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This yr I am utilizing a protracted rope of 100 micro dot LED lights to embellish the railing on my entrance steps. A rope gentle is easy to twist across the handrails. It value me about $20 for one rope — however every strand takes six AA batteries. I am additionally utilizing two smaller strands of 20 C3-size LED lights to embellish some miniature tree bushes I purchased for out of doors the entrance door. These smaller outdoor-safe strands simply take three batteries every. 

I have been lighting these up each night time for per week and have not needed to exchange the batteries but, however I am going to replace this submit once I attain the top of the battery lifespan. 

Strive a distinct tree day-after-day

Rainbow colors on a Christmas tree

Your 2020 may use a cascading rainbow tree.


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In the present day’s pretend, prelit bushes are a cinch to arrange, they usually have enjoyable results. However I haven’t got room to retailer a pretend tree, so I am going with a contemporary, actual tree. This yr, I attempted out a high-tech strand of lights referred to as Twinkly, and it brings next-level Christmas magic to a tree with none effort. 

For my six-footer, I wrapped a 250-light strand across the tree, as I might every other strand of lights. This Era II Twinkly strand of RGB LEDs, priced at around $120, is managed by an app and requires Wi-Fi to work. Fireplace up the app and level your cellphone’s digital camera on the tree for it to learn the place each gentle is sitting on the tree. As soon as it maps the placement of each gentle, select between numerous vivid gentle results that fade, twinkle or rotate across the tree in cool patterns.

Red and white lights on a Christmas tree

Or perhaps you are in a twisting candy-cane animation temper?


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Change your design on the fly with an app filled with preset results. Relying on my temper, I can have a rainbow fade cascade down from the highest, or a candy-cane crimson and white swirl, or cheerful twinkling tropical carnival colours. Customise the velocity, colour and brightness, or design your personal patterns. Whenever you’re spending a number of time at house, you possibly can maintain issues feeling contemporary with a distinct gentle design day-after-day. 

Good plugs maintain it easy

When retailers are in hard-to-reach locations, smart plugs can prevent some bother — and you do not want any good speaker or hub to make them give you the results you want. 

Put a wise plug in an outlet, and connect your gentle strand to the good plug. Now it may be turned on and off with an app, as an alternative of needing you to pressure to unplug extension cords on the finish of the night time. I exploit Amazon’s Smart Plug ($25), which can also set lights to activate and off with a timer. There’s additionally a button on the facet of the plug for others to manage it with out an app. 

Mounting lights in a window

Keep away from utilizing incandescent lights indoors. Melted window blinds do not make for a jolly vacation.


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Bridget Carey