Monday, December 6, 2010

Outdoor Christmas Lighting: Make Christmas Shine

by Brian New

New technology makes old styles of lighting shine. Opt for outdoor Christmas lighting that reminds you of a bygone day, yet with modern advantages like lower heat and energy output. Thanks to solar and LED, new ways to decorate have opened up for Christmas enthusiasts.

There are a few ways to highlight outdoor features. One is to set up spotlights around fountains, un-lit scenes and to glow against traditional hanging ornaments without bulbs, set into trees and bushes. Another is to cover bushes in net lighting. Finally, choose from mini or larger lights, including a series of ceramics which appear like the older sort but contain LED lighting.

One advantage of LED is its low-heat production. This makes them ideal for wrapping around trees, including larger ones. Treat these with the cord or rope style of lighting. LED ropes secure bulbs behind a plastic tube for longer-wear and a soft white light. Plug just one cord into an outdoor outlet, then attach several strands one onto the other to cover your maple or tall fir.

Instead of taking time to wrap lights around trees, if you have them, buy pre-lit trees. These synthetic pines come in a variety of heights and can be green or white. Stake each one along a stretch of path or driveway then plug in.

Inject humor into the display. Put Santa on a motorcycle. Light up a number of penguins. Create a fairytale of candy canes and figurines on your front lawn. Restore sacred tradition with one of several light-up nativities.

Dangle icicles from eaves as soon as cold weather comes, heralding the start of winter, not just Christmas. Hang lights such as stars and snowflakes from front awnings. Drive solar lights into the ground, such as candy canes. Color choices are the same as they always were forChristmas: wide and vivid. One difference will be energy consumption: LED uses far less power and lasts much longer than old-fashioned lights. Another is that solar power allows one to place lighting in remote spots where electrical cords would not be practical.

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