Lighting the way to great holiday lights displays

Nov 24, 2022, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm
(Shutterstock Photo)...
(Shutterstock Photo)
(Shutterstock Photo)

Holiday lights have come a long way since Ralphie’s dad strung them on the house in “A Christmas Story.”

Today there are lights to suit any style, budget, theme, and location in and outside your home. Whether your home could be a contender on “The Great Christmas Light Fight” or your idea of holiday décor resembles Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, there’s a holiday light set for you.

Choose from vintage ceramic big bulbs, mini incandescent lights, multicolor LEDs with lighting modes, novelty lights (like the M&Ms a ROTH staffer has used since 1995), or lighting nets for bushes and trees. There are also sets that are solar- and battery-powered.

LED there be light

Regardless of the style you choose and how you power them, consider LED lights.

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are the best way to save energy on holiday lighting or any lighting, for that matter. This is why:

· LEDs use only about 2% of the electricity needed to power regular painted or ceramic-coated colored holiday lights.

· LEDs are more difficult to break than traditional glass bulbs because they’re encased in plastic.

· Because the LED is electronic (electron movement in semiconductor chips lights them up), sets can last up to 10 years.

· LEDs generate much less heat than traditional incandescent holiday lights, which produce more heat than light.

Style and trends

Now that you know that LED bulbs are the way to go, you need to figure out the style and setup.

Finding a set of holiday lights that work for your style, theme, budget, and setup preferences does not need to be a challenge.

Popular Mechanics announced their top picks for holiday lights for 2022. They mention that their top picks can be found at a large online retailer, but we encourage you to shop your locally-owned hardware and home improvement stores. Here are a few of their LED favorites.

· Best overall – Brizled LED Christmas Light

· Most vibrant color LEDs — EPESL Fairy Twinkle Christmas Lights

· Best all-white LEDs – Yuletime LED Christmas Lights

· Best icicle lights – Toodour 2-in-1 Icicle Christmas Lights

· Best Meteor Shower Lights –Purtuemy Meteor Shower Christmas Lights

· Best Net Lights –Pooqla Net Christmas Lights

Any online search will boast a bounty of lighting ideas. We found some fun ones at Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping and Country Living.

Our research also found that the trend and color theme for 2022 is navy and neutrals. Navy is a crisp and clean color, which can be paired with neutrals, golds, bright reds, and deep greens. Find more traditional Christmas color themes at Why Christmas.

New uses for old holiday lights

If you have a set of vintage lights or a set that holds sentimental value, incorporate them into your holiday décor. Here are some ideas:

· Add lights to liven up old garland.

· Fill a mason jar, lantern, or glass vase with a set of working string lights to add a subtle glow to your interior. If the container is large enough, add a few vintage glass ball ornaments.

· Paint or cover the vintage bulbs in glitter, then add them to a DIY wreath, place setting or wrapped present.

· Light up a sweater for the “Ugly Sweater” contest.

· Decorate your car or bike.

Get as creative as you want. But be sure to keep safety a priority. Don’t light up broken strands. Keep strands away from toddlers and pets.

Recycle old lights

If you want to get rid of old lights or strands, don’t toss them out — recycle them. Good Housekeeping reported on Nov. 14 that many retailers will take used holiday lights no matter the condition. Ace Hardware, True Value, The Home Depot, and Ace Hardware offer drop-off locations during the holiday season. Contact your local recycling service to see if they accept working or nonworking Christmas lights.

Because most holiday lights contain plastic, glass, and copper, when recycled, the individual materials can be reused. Think of recycling the lights as your gift to the environment!

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.

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Lighting the way to great holiday lights displays