October 18, 2017

Create Beautiful Memories with Christmas Tree Lighting

 

 

Be Inspired By a Beautifully Illuminated Outdoor Christmas Tree

christmas treeThe Griswold family, in the 1989 popular Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, set out to find a magnificent irresistible evergreen outdoor Christmas tree that they could cut down and bring home to decorate for their holiday pleasure.  After a long drive through the woods, they discovered a beautiful outdoor Christmas tree standing alone in a meadow.  Clark Griswold, the father, envisioned this outdoor Christmas tree festively decorated with Christmas an abundance of tree lighting and, he knew that it would be this year’s family Christmas tree.  This outdoor Christmas tree was blanketed with Christmas tree lights from top to bottom including a radiant star topper.  The outdoor Christmas tree sparkled with magnificence and the whole family was mesmerized by its beauty.  The outdoor Christmas tree was cut down, roped up, placed on the car’s rooftop, and driven to the family home.  There are many ways to become inspired by things and inspiration to re-create a joyful opulent indoor Christmas tree can come from seeing beautifully decorated outdoor Christmas trees around town.

 

Consider Tree Height and Width When Planning a Christmas Light Decoration

Upon arriving home, the Griswold family brought their new Christmas tree into their house to adorn it with an abundance of Christmas light decorations.  When they propped the tree up and untied it, the tree burst into its original large shape breaking windows and protruding beyond its intended space leaving little to no room for a Christmas light decoration.  This was not how the Griswold family envisioned their new tree with lack of room for Christmas light decorations.  When looking for the perfect Christmas tree, special attention needs to be exerted with careful measurement of tree height and width.  Tree toppers and any other Christmas light decoration needs to be considered and allowed room to glow.  For safety sake, tree toppers and any other Christmas light decoration should have plenty of room around it for air flow.  It’s important to make sure the Christmas light decorations do not overheat risking fire.  The careful measurement of tree, its Christmas light decorations and the room it will brighten will ensure a properly prepared holiday decorating that is safe and festive for all to enjoy during the wonderful Christmas season.

 

Ignite Your Spirit With The Use of Christmas Lights String

Christmas tree lighting with the use of Christmas lights string can brighten the world around you and make the holidays quite cheerful.  The popular Christmas lights string are irresistible when wrapped all around the tree.  When decorating the tree, it is recommended to arrange the Christmas lights string in a swirl pattern from bottom to top, using several strands of Christmas lights string.  This practice avoids a set or two of Christmas lights string from hanging below the tree’s branches, a curious play toy for animals like cats.  Guests of the Griswolds brought a curious cat on their holiday visit.  Unfortunately, while everyone was dining on the holiday meal, the cat dined on the Christmas lights string and literally fried himself and caused much damage from a fire.  This is a terrible way to enjoy and try to digest a fine holiday dinner.  The tree was uncolorfully and unpleasantly singed black.  Christmas lights string are a safe and festive way to enjoy the holiday spirit with a little care and proper preparation.  Christmas lights string can ignite your holiday spirit causing much joy for all to see.

Get Fired Up For Christmas With Creative Christmas Tree Lighting

                        

Mix It Up A Bit This Year With New Festive Lighting Combinations 

For most people, the focal point of interior Christmas decor is the Christmas tree. But rather than getting caught in the same Christmas tree lighting rut this year, why not experiment a bit with new festive lighting combinations and/or options? You may like what you see!

 

Go Crazy With Cs…C7 C9

 Some people prefer to use traditional incandescent Christmas tree lighting products. The most common large incandescent options–C7 and C9 Christmas lights–feature a tapered shape and come in white as well as in several different colors and in frosted and clear varieties. Instead of selecting C7 Christmas lights or C9 Christmas lights in white this year, make a Christmas tree lighting plan that includes strings of colored bulbs–or a combination of strings with color and white bulbs if you prefer. Try frosted C7s and C9s if you’ve always gravitated towards clear ones, and vice versa. Another idea: C7 Christmas lights and C9 Christmas lights usually come in strands of 25 bulbs spaced about a foot apart, but 100-bulb and 1,000-bulb strings can now be found.

 

…And LEDs C7 LED

LED versions of C7 Christmas lights and C9 Christmas lights are becoming increasingly popular, too. While they are more expensive to purchase upfront, they do offer energy savings down the road. Even better, stores now feature a wide range of LED light strings with which you can exercise your creativity. Choose from miniatures, tapers, globes, and novelty Christmas lights.

 

 

The Novelty of It All

Speaking of novelty Christmas lights, these items can add another twist to any festive lighting design. Offered in incandescent and LED varieties, and in large and miniature sizes, are novelty Christmas lights that replicate everything from traditional icons, like Bethlehem stars and wrapped gifts, to sports equipment, carton/comic strip characters, miniature wrapped gifts, and popular foods and beverages. You may also want to experiment with combining different lights to create uniquely themed trees. For example, design a candy-themed Christmas tree lighting scheme using novelty Christmas lights that look like candy canes and other types of confections, topping it all off with alternating strands of red and white miniature lights for a candy-cane “finish”. Chili pepper, candy and grape novelty Christmas lights make a great food-themed tree, or use strings of basketball, soccer, football and other novelty Christmas lights in a sports motif to decorate a super sports-themed tree. Such sources as Everything Christmas (www.everythingchristmas.com) sell this category of Christmas tree lighting products online.

Christmas in July

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Christmas in July 

 

A Summertime Party Idea Complete with Outdoor Christmas Lights

 

Celebrating Christmas in July is one cool way to cool off.  If you’re bored with the heat and looking for a way to divert yourself, you can celebrate Christmas in July.  For this event, plan an off-the-wall party complete with outdoor Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, a visit from Santa and gifts for all.

 It’s unclear just where this idea came from, but according to Wikipedia we may be able to attribute it to a girl’s summer camp in North Carolina.  It seems that in 1933 Camp Keystone celebrated Christmas in July. Very likely this is where the phrase we refer to was coined.

 In 1940 a movie by this name was released.  The main character wrongly believes he has won $25,000 and buys gifts for his family and girlfriend.  Shortly after this time, the US Post Office was involved in an early mailing campaign of this name.  The purpose of the campaign was not to promote Christmas tree lighting, but rather to encourage early mailing of packages and cards to servicemen serving in WWII. 

 It may interest you that in parts of the world the dead of winter is actually in July.  In the southern hemisphere, if you’re looking for a wintry Christmas the best way to obtain it is by celebrating it in July.  In the mountains of South America, in Australia and even at the South Pole, wintry celebrations of Christmas have been used as lighthearted tools for celebration as well as for marketing purposes.  One resort in Australia is known to have hosted such a party when spurred on by a group of Irish tourists. 

 Needless to say there are people around the globe who use the “Christmas in July” theme as just  another reason to have a party.  In such cases, individuals and groups have been known to light an outdoor Christmas tree, add indoor Christmas lights to their homes and use wreath lighting for a festive effect. Then they proceed to eat, drink and be merry, and give gifts.

 The gift-giving portion of the idea resonates with retailers who may often get on-board and use this idea as a promotional tool.  Sometimes the concept is used to clear out sale merchandise that has accumulated.  Sometimes it’s used in tourist areas where stores sell high-end collectibles to primarily women shoppers on vacation.  On Cape Cod, the concept can be seen at work in the Christmas Tree shops, which do a bustling summer business with visitors looking for a pre-holiday bargain. Fabric and craft shops are yet another type of retail store that benefit from this practice.  In this case the shops often bring in holiday fabrics and projects for Christmas, leaving plenty of time for crafters to complete their tasks for gift giving and holiday home décor.

 Whatever you make of the practice of celebrating Christmas in July, you have to admit it’s a way to turn the tables and really shake things up.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Light Your Tree with LED

Christmas Tree LightingWith the US paying more attention to energy usage, it was only a matter of time before this greening trend affected Christmas tree lighting.  This year we expect to continue to see a rise in sales of the more efficient LED light strings.  In fact when queried about Christmas tree lighting, Costco buyer Lester Cox responded, “It’s obvious that LED is the wave of the lighting future”.

Consuming 75% less energy than their incandescent counter parts, these light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are an efficient way to handle holiday lighting.  In fact according to a source at GE, a total market shift to LED holiday lights could save the electrical equivalent of the power used by almost 500,000 households.

Of course, energy efficiency is not the only reason the market is moving to these new bulbs.  Since the new LED bulbs generate less heat than conventional bulbs, they are not only less costly to operate but safer to use. In addition, LED bulbs are reported to last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent Christmas bulbs.

Costco to Feature LED for the Holidays

At a recent trip to Costco we spotted the early arrival of two sku’s of GE’ holiday lights. strings.  We noted these styles, the larger C9 bulbs and the smaller, more unusual C6 “strawberry bulbs.”

trends in xmas decoration 3

C9 Bulbs

Christmas Tree Lighting 2

C6 Bulbs

Which LED Xmas Lights to Choose

C9 LED Bulbs are the bulb of choice for outdoor Christmas tree lighting projects.  These bulbs are larger and thus more visible from a distance.  They’re also insulated and can stand up to the extremes of outdoor weather.

For indoor Christmas tree lighting, consider the sweet, little nostalgic looking C6 LED bulbs. Reminiscent of the little lights used in the 1940’s, these LED’s now feature diamond etching.  Unlike the bulbs of yesteryear, these bulbs stay lit–even when one burns out.

Currently, these are the selections available, but as Christmas nears more styles of LED Christmas lights are sure to arrive at your local retailer.

A History of Christmas Tree Light

First Christmas Tree Lights

A History of Christmas Tree LightYou may not be able to remember a time without Christmas tree light, but interestingly enough this tradition does not date from time immemorial.  While the lighting of fires and candles has a long history in the practice of many of the world’s religions, the practice of using light to adorn trees dates only to the middle of the 17th century.  A custom arising in what is now Germany, the lighting of trees was accomplished by attaching candles to trees with pins or wax.  For this reason, trees were rarely put up and surely not lit before Christmas Eve.

The practice of lighting tree with candles started to be seen in the US starting in the 1850’s as German immigrants brought the practice with them.  Shortly thereafter, Queen Victoria the arbiter of great style began lighting a tree, where upon the US White House followed suit.

First Christmas Light Bulbs

It was not until 18882 though that a tree was lit with electric Christmas light bulbs.  Edward Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison is crediting as being the first to use electricity for Christmas tree lighting.  He hand wired 80 red, white and blue holiday lights and placed them on a rotating pine tree. Thirteen years later Grover Cleveland chose to have the nation’s tree lit with electricity causing a stir and resulting in retailers following suit.

An expensive endeavor at the turn of the century, a lit Christmas tree could cost a small fortune and thus was reserved only for the wealthy and their showy parties.  Preparing a tree required a wireman to light it and the installation of a generator. By the end of the first decade of the 1900’s the concept had evolved to include screw-in bulbs, a wall socket plug and also a system that relied on telephone switchboard lights and a battery.

Big Business Takes on Christmas Tree Lighting

vintage xmas lights give your home a unique lookIn 1915 in answer to a tragic Christmas tree candle fire, Albert Sadacca came up with the idea of manufacturing electric lights on a string.  Eventually Sadacca’s idea evolved into the NOMA Electric Company which until 1965 was the largest Christmas lighting company in the world.  Following Sadacca’s path various companies sprang up offering a dazzling array of bulbs, just a few of which are pictured here.

So as you prepare for the Christmas holidays this year, take solace in knowing that the practice of Christmas tree lighting is a fairly recent one–one that you should not stress out over too much.
Simply use the lights you have on hand, pick up some of the new LED Christmas bulbs or hire yourself a Christmas lights professional.

Have yourself a bright and merry holiday! A History of Christmas Tree Light 3

Editor’s Review of Christmas Lighting and Decorating Sites–Part 1

Let Our Fingers do the Walking–Follow us to the Best of Holiday Decorating

Looking for a reliable source to give you novel ideas and sure-fire tips for Christmas lighting and decorating?  Look no further.  Our review editor has done the work for you.  She’s taken the time to hunt down the best of the websites that profess to offer fool-proof tips and ideas to make your holiday decorating a winter breeze.

Xmas Light–Holiday Decorations with Magazine Style

Editor Review of Christmas Lighting & Decorating Sites 1

Rating: A+

www.BHG.com This is the website of Meredith Publishing’s Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.  It doesn’t get much better than this for ideas on Christmas lighting and decorating.  With some of the best writers in the industry, this site’s staff is equipped with a spot-on taste for American trends–including holiday decorating ideas.  You’ll find more ideas than you could ever implement in just one Christmas season. There are so many you’ll have to search through and pick out the ones that best appeal to your sense of style.  Our reviewer noted everything from outside Christmas light ideas to easy Christmas tree lighting tips, as well as suggestions for last minute, holiday décor and more time consuming techniques that evoke elegant vintage themes of days gone by.  Check this one out. You’re sure to find something that appeals to you.

Up Close and Personal–Designers share their Best Holiday Decorating Tips

http://hgtv.com/25-great-holiday-ideas/show/index.html

Editor Review of Christmas Lighting & Decorating Sites 1 1

Sea Glass Ornaments

For those who prefer getting their holiday ideas from talk-show-style television, there’s this 1 hour on-line holiday decorating show from HGTV with designers Angelo Surmelis and Erinn Valencich.  Here you’ll find ideas submitted by homemakers just like you as well as simple, down-home ideas from the HGTV pros.  Not as uptown-elegant as BHG but certainly full of usable ideas. The only downside here is losing time to the plentiful interruptions of the advertising sponsors.  Check out the novel sea glass ornaments submitted by a viewer–pretty & original.  

This is the first of a series of articles reviewing holiday decorating sites on the internet.  Check back with us for Part 2 and frequent updates with new sites to visit.

String Your Tree With LED Christmas Lights

This season, forget about throwin’ the old tangled strings of bulbs on the your fir, and get yourself some efficient tree lights. We’re talking about the newest wave, all the rave LED Christmas tree lights. They save energy, they last long, and they look great on your tree.

Facts About Christmas Tree Lighting

Since the beginning of tree decorating, families have vigilantly worried about the dangers of their incandescent bulbs around their beautiful evergreen. The number one worry? – overheating. Even the modern television show “Mythbusters” has presented the world with the dangers of Christmas tree lighting, and according to the University of Arkansas Agriculture Department, Christmas tree lights “make the perfect ignition source.”

The tradition of lighting an evergreen tree with lights and ornaments originated in Germany in the Early Modern Era and the first Christmas tree illuminated with electrical lights was produced by an associate of Thomas Edison named Edward H. Johnson. It is said that each individual bulb on the 80-light strand was the size of a walnut.

Whether you have a real fir tree or an artificial tree, the danger of your tree setting a flame is present in the holiday season. In using LED Christmas tree lights you save money as well as putting your mind at ease.

Facts About LED Christmas Tree Lights

In this new economic outlook, consumers will  be pleased to know that each bulb on a string of LED Christmas tree lights uses only .1 watts of power as opposed to the old incandescents that use .48 watts per bulb. And instead of glass, LED lights are surrounded by a molded plastic, protecting children and pets from a household disaster.

Plan on using these lights for years to come? Well no problem because LEDs will last you about 100,000 hours on your tree lasting 39-times longer than incandescent bulbs. You could keep your tree up year-round if you so choose.

So what’s the cost of keep your tree and loved ones safe? Well, according to greenhome.com, Christmas tree fires are at about 200 annually and the lights are the main reason. Since LEDs have this low energy consumption, they run very cool, so you might pay a little for the convenience – about $10 per 50 bulbs.

Christmas–The Joyful Holiday of Lights Decorations

Fond Memories of Christmas Tree Lighting

Do you have fond memories of getting your childhood home ready for Christmas?  Are you like me, where you can remember the excitement of bringing home the Christmas tree each year?

In our upstate town of Tribes Hill, New York, in the 1960’s and 1970’s artificial trees were pretty rare.  Being so close to the Adirondack Mountains most of us kids expected to have real pine in our homes.  This was an opportunity to bring indoors the familiar pine smell we enjoyed all summer as we camped, picnicked, swam and boated in the region’s recreational areas.

Come Christmastime, we gathered the family into the ever-present station wagon to go to the local tree lot or sometimes even the local Christmas tree farm.  No one was ever left behind for this important event.  As kids we rushed around the snow-covered trees, pushing, shoving and hiding from each other among the icy branches.  All this went on while Mom and Dad, and my live-in Great Aunt negotiated over the all-important tree. Would it be a Scotch pine like Aunt Alice’s?  Never–Mother hated those short, full, stubby trees with there long, thin needles.  How about a beautiful blue spruce?  That would be nice, but this particular species of tree was one of the most expensive.  Most every year we found ourselves in the aisle with the balsam fir trees.  These trees are tall and somewhat sparse in my opinion, but in these years they were among the more reasonable options.  The best thing about them is their incredible aroma.  Even now years later when I smell balsam fir, I’m returned to these times.

Bringing That Outdoor Christmas Tree In

Usually the tree we ended up with had a blemish of some sort–at least in my mother’s mind.  Even after my poor father held up tree after tree looking for the perfectly-shaped one, it was sure to have a flaw.  The solution to this was remarkably to remake the tree!  My mother would point out the spots where branches were lacking and my father would be required to saw off branches from the bottom and place them in holes he drilled out higher up on the tree.  This unorthodox method usually resulted in a fairly symmetrical tree but alas one that didn’t last too long before the poor water starved needles started shedding onto the carpet.

A Time Before the Advent of Miniature Christmas Lights

Following the selection and remodeling of the tree, it was placed in the traditional screw-tightened tree stand and ready for the initial step of adding the Christmas tree lighting.  In those days, long before the little, miniature Christmas lights, we lit the tree with traditional c7 lights or sometimes even with those pesky string lights with the pointy bulbs that must have been left from the 1950’s.  These bulbs were the ones that wouldn’t light if any one of the many bulbs was burned out.  My job was often to find the offending Christmas bulb or if I were unlucky the offending Christmas bulbs.  This was truly the worst job. If more than one were burned out fixing the string became a frustratingly impossible task.

Frustrating or fond, all those memories are all that’s left of a time so long ago.  Little did we know that these were special times that would eventually fade into the distant past.

Today’s Choice–Icicle Christmas Lights

Icicle Christmas lights are just the latest of a long string of outdoor lighting techniques used to light homes in celebration of Christmas.  A popular choice, they simulate dripping from the eaves of homes, and can frequently also be seen cascading from the branches of Christmas trees both indoors and out.

History of Festive Lighting

Just how did these and other types of lights become so important to our culture’s obsession with outdoor Christmas lighting?  Interestingly enough, festive lighting dates back to ancient times long before the advent of Christianity.  Acknowledging the importance of light to the harvest and to life itself, ancient cultures revered the presence of light in a spiritual sense and made use of it in the various festivals they celebrated.

Christmas Tree Lighting–A Modern Twist on Ancient History

Using light on trees seems to be rooted in ancient history as well.  The Druids of France and England considered the oak tree to be sacred and at festival times were believed to decorate them with candles.  Later, in early Christianity, it is said that Martin Luther attempted to recreate the beauty of stars lighting forest trees by bringing a candled tree into his home for his family to enjoy.  This practice is believed to have evolved into the German tradition of Christmas tree lighting.  From Germany, the tradition followed Prince Albert to England when he married Queen Victoria.

Similarly German settlers were credited with bringing Christmas tree lighting to the United States.  The first actual tree was believed to be displayed in Pennsylvania in 1851.  Lighting was kept to a minimum due to the fire hazard of placing lit candles on an indoor tree.  In fact, most trees were lit only on Christmas Eve and only for a few moments.  It took until Thomas Edison’s development of the electric light bulb and the subsequent manufacture of Christmas light bulbs for the trees to be lit for extended periods of time.

Although many of us can’t envision Christmas without Christmas tree lighting, the practice of bringing a tree indoors didn’t really catch on until after the first tree made its debut in the White House.  Unbelievably, this wasn’t until 1856. Most likely there was an attempt to be European and follow the traditions being popularized by England’s trend-setting Queen Victoria.

Festive Lighting–Not just Christmas Lites

Other cultures besides our own continue to use festive lighting.  Of particular note is the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, the Hindu festival of Diwali and the Thai festival of Loi Krathong.  Each of these festivals of light has a long history and like Christmas lighting has its roots in ancient peoples fascination and respect for the light of the sun and stars.