Christmas lights

The Hottest Trends in Christmas Lights for 2014

Holiday lights

Are you Clark Griswold when it comes to Christmas lights for your home? Or more Martha Stewart. Whether you opt for understated or go all out, here are a few Christmas light tips and trends to consider for 2014 holiday season.

LED Holiday Lights

If the cost of LEDs has made you stick with conventional lighting in the past, rethink that decision this year. LED lighting uses at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, leading to a lower energy bill come January. These lights last 35 to 50 percent longer than incandescent lighting and about two to five times longer than fluorescent lighting. LEDs also are more durable, produce very little heat and come with a minimum three-year warranty, adding to the many reasons why the cost of these lights actually saves you money in the long run.

Lighted Garland and Other DIY Ideas

If you prefer your decorations be appreciated up close, as opposed to from blocks away, there are a variety of subtle touches you can add to your porch or entryway.

Lighted Garland - Consider combining simple white lights with a favorite strand of garland. It can be pine greenery, bows, feathers or any design that complements the décor of your home. You can also purchase this type of lighted garland instead of taking the DIY approach.

Canned Lights - Speaking of DIY, this type of holiday light not only shows your creative style it repurposes and upcycles cans. Simply remove the top and bottom of cans, poke holes in star or other patterns, and place light strings accordingly.

Animated Light Shows

Do you want to impress your neighbors and also make your home a drive-by destination during the holidays? A light show with synced music will draw a crowd. YouTube has dozens of videos to use for inspiration, with more than a few sharing tips on how to make your own light show.

There are also products such as Christmas in a Box , a kit that includes a 16-channel light controller, FM transmitter, 10 songs and a setup guide. You may need help from your professional handyman to install the system, or you can ask him or her to devise a similar custom setup for your home.

Non-Traditional String Lights

Traditional holiday lights, whether regular or icicle, make for a lively lighting display. Why not try a different shape this year to stand out on the block. Snowflakes, ice cubes, holly, Santas, hearts and stars are just a few of the shapes available in white and multicolored lights and in strands as well as nets.

Safety First

When creating lighting displays, always be safe. Only use lights approved for outdoor use on your home. If using light strings from a previous year, check all wiring to ensure there are no frayed or worn areas that could create a fire hazard. Also inspect sockets and connections, and never use more than three strands per extension cord. Fasten them to your house with insulated staples or hooks, and keep all wiring away from where snow and puddles could sit.

Hire professionals for any roof or ladder work if you do not have previous experience. A fall from the roof or even a middle rung on a ladder can result in a sprained ankle, wrist or an even worse injury when you land. Your professional handyman will be more than happy to install your lighting display and to take it down after the new year.

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