Christmas lighting can add to the joyful holiday festivities with houses decorated in all their splendor.
Christmas lighting with brightly colored lights can make a beautiful house much more beautiful but it needs to be done right.
We have all seen houses decorated with Christmas lights in such a way that make a nice house look like an absolute mess.
I don’t mean to put a wet blanket on the spirit of Christmas but I have seen some very bad Christmas decorating. In most cases the bad Christmas decorating is usually on the unkept homes in the not so nice neighborhoods but there are always exceptions. When seeing sloppy Christmas lighting as with a sloppy house and bad landscaping with no pride of ownership, one wonders how bad the house looks on the interior.
This year I will take photos of good and bad decorations and add the photos to this page. For now, here is a listing of dos and don’ts to help you do your best to show off that holiday spirit.
Christmas Lighting Dos & Don’ts
- First thing is don’t light up too early. It’s kind of ok if you are a business but there’s no need to light up until December 5 – the eve of St. Nicholas Day.
- Don’t take down those lights too early. All that work decorating! Keep the Christmas spirit alive until January 6 – Epiphany at the earliest. I would even go a week or two later. Just because they stop playing Christmas music on the radio Dec. 26 does not mean that Christmas is over. It’s really just the beginning. In some European countries decorations are taken down February 2 – Candlemas Day.
- Be consistent. Use the same type/size of lighting. Don’t use large bulbs in one place and smaller bulbs in another place.
- Multi colored bulbs are good as are solid colors. But it’s best not to mix solid and multi colored bulbs unless you really know what you’re doing. If outlining a house (eaves and windows) lights must all be the same for when painting the trim your eaves and window casing would have to be the same color. Choose multi-colored or one single color only for outlining architecture.
- Using white/clear lighting? Most new clear LED bulbs produce cool light. These lights have an ugly bluish tint. Know what you are buying. Clear warm lights are best and create a more pleasing feel. Some LED’s come in warm light but they are still not as warm as traditional lights. NEVER mix cool lights with warm lights.
- If you don’t have enough lights, get more. Don’t just stop in the middle of the porch.
- If you want to put lights on your porch railing and the steps separate the railing into two sections, you can extend the lights across at the bottom of the steps to go up to the next railing. When doing this you must replace the bulbs with dead bulbs or cover them with black tape in the area that should appear unlit at the base of the steps. Don’t just continue the lit strand all the way across. This looks sloppy. Same thing for windows.
- Outlining your picture window? Don’t allow a stream of lights to be visible from the outlet to the window. Replace those bulbs with dead bulbs or black tape to keep it neat.
- White lights around a deciduous tree? Lights should be wrapped around each branch.
This is difficult to do and expensive when done by a professional. The results are amazing though!
Be careful if you wrap lights around the tree for it really won’t look good. Best to skip this part.
- Lighting that comes in a net are convenient. Make sure they fit the shrub you are covering. Only covering half just for the sake of doing it does not look good.
- Stores sell lot’s of decorations. Just because they sell them doesn’t mean you have to buy them.
- Do not us inflatable yard decorations. They are cheap and tacky looking. I once listened to a radio show where people called in and said how they hate them. They’re right!
- The use of a single spotlight on your front door may be all you need. Simple, yet elegant. Don’t use a colored spotlight though.
- Don’t use plastic bows. They look super cheap. Use felt covered (flocked) bows only. Yes, they will hold up in the rain. I’ve been using the same bows for years.
- Candles in windows? Use clear warm bulbs only. No LED, colored, or worse yet multi-colored.
- Blinking lights? Usually blinkers stay off more than they’re on. Use twinkling and make sure all your light strands do the same.
- Lamppost and porch light. Do NOT put a colored bulb in your light.
- Laser projection lighting ? These are slide projectors which cast moving shapes onto your house.
Stick with clear snowflake type only and stay from projected images like in the photo to the right.
Do you have any suggestions for tasteful Christmas lighting? Leave a comment below.