December 16, 2017

Cheerful Yard Lighting Makes Holiday Merry

 

lighted houseDevelop A Plan Before Setting Out To Buy Christmas Lights

An uncoordinated and mismatched Christmas lights display will make any festive holiday yard hope for better.  When planning to buy Christmas lights for a special yard display, keep in mind basic principles of art and design:  unity, variety, balance, contrast, proportion, and pattern.  Buy Christmas lights with attention to unity.  Make all yard decorations coordinate to tell one story/theme.  An example would be a monochromatic white lights display illuminating trees, shrubs, house, doorways, wreaths, and special decorations.  A second design principle to consider when setting out to buy Christmas lights is variety.  Variety is important to emphasize visual diversity emphasizing different forms and types.  A key factor to keep in mind is to use the same type of light throughout the entire display but use different types of light displays including tree lighting, shrub lighting, wreath lighting, outlining walkways, outlining buildings, and novelty lighting.  Balance is another important consideration when intending to buy Christmas lights.  A Christmas lights display looks best when the yard lighting is balanced throughout the property and not on one side only or in one small area.  Buy Christmas lights keeping in mind contrast between light and dark.  Carefully light dark areas to focus on shapes and interesting forms like an evergreen tree, a wreath, or a doorway.  Consideration of proportion is helpful when planning to buy Christmas lights.  A large yard can easily handle large Christmas light displays including light strings with large C9 bulbs or a plethora of mini lights.  A great way to add proportion and illusion in a holiday display is to light a large object while highlighting several smaller objects.  Some large items to focus on are a house or a large evergreen tree.  Pattern is important to keep in mind when setting out to buy Christmas lights.  Light strings are easy to manipulate and hang in a pattern.  A swirling pattern of light strings draped in trees looks particularly lovely during the holidays.  Hanging tree lights can create a look of activity and excitement in anticipation of the season.  A well thought out plan can create a beautiful festive holiday lights display and make a trip to the stores for Christmas lights more enjoyable when knowing exactly what to buy.

 

White Mini LED Lights Don’t Mix Well With White Incandescent Mini Lights

Mini LED lights are energy efficient and a smart choice when replacing traditional incandescent mini lights.  White mini LED lights give off a different color, however, and don’t mix well with white incandescent lights.  Mini LED lights give off a cool bluish white tint while incandescent lights give off a warm yellowish white tint.  To avoid replacing all lights at the same time, people try to mix mini LED lights with incandescent.  This does not work well and should be avoided.  Mini LED lights are a smart choice and should be used exclusively with other LED lighting.

 

Create Sparkling Scenes Of Wonder And Joy With Festive Lighting

Festive lighting brings joy to many.  Festive lighting inspires the soul and illuminates the Christmas spirit within one’s essence.  Festive lighting is the beacon of peace within a crazy holiday time.  Festive lighting gives a touch of holiday spirit to the dark winter nights.  Festive lighting makes our holiday yards joyful, inspirational, peaceful, and spiritual.

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.

Brighten the Holiday with Outdoor Tree Lights

Radiate Warmth And Cheer With Festive Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting can help brighten the holidays for all who visit or pass by.  When planning the holiday landscape lighting, don’t forget the outdoor tree lights, shrubbery, buildings, and yard decorations.  The many lights available to illuminate your landscape lighting include string lights, rope lights, icicle lights, and novelty lights.  String lights and novelty lights are great outdoor tree lights.  String lights, rope lights, and icicle lights are perfect for shrubbery and buildings.  Yard decorations can be lit by all forms of Christmas lights.  Landscape lighting looks best when planned in advance taking care to balance out colors and symmetry and identifying a focal point.  Color schemes look best when deciding to use all multi-colored lights or monochromatic lights.  The monochromatic white color scheme has been popular in landscape lighting during recent years.  Done properly, both warm and cool white colors can be blended in landscape lighting to make an especially attractive display.  Don’t ignore symmetry in planning.  Landscape lighting looks best when lighting all areas of the yard and keeping in mind both horizontal and vertical placement.  Novelty yard decorations, like a nativity scene, make a good focal point.  Landscape lighting will help make the holidays more festive and joyful.

Illuminate The Neighborhood With Outdoor Tree Lighting

Holiday tree lighting has been a popular Christmas tradition for more than a century.  At one time, people illuminated their indoor treesoutdoor tree with candles.  Flammability issues limited the amount of time people could enjoy this.  Typically the tree was decorated and lit for only a day or two.  The introduction of electric string lights in the late 19th century allowed people to enjoy their tree lighting longer.  As the indoor tree lighting tradition continued, people started to illuminate their outdoor trees.  Today, outdoor tree lighting can be found in many neighborhoods.  There are many more choices of indoor and outdoor tree lighting available today than there was years ago.  In addition to traditional electric string lighting, there are more energy efficient LED lighting and non-electric solar lighting.  Both options cost a little more up front but, in the long run, are more cost efficient.  Novelty shapes like Starlight Spheres or Snowflakes can be particularly festive outdoor tree lighting.  The beauty and splendor of decorating for the holidays with tree lighting makes a very special time of year filled with fun, hoopla, and warm tender moments with people we care about.

Brighten The Holidays With Festive Lighting

Share season’s greetings with family, friends, and neighbors by means of festive lighting.  Festive lighting can make the holidays more enjoyable with feelings of increased energy and joyful mood.  The holidays are about peaceful reflection and are a time to spend with family and friends.  Festive lighting can make the season more special by creating a peaceful, reflective mood with dim soft lights or by creating a vibrant party mood with bright twinkling lights.  Festive lighting can be created by lighting trees, shrubs, and buildings, arranging luminaries along walking paths, hanging lit ornaments, lighting indoor trees, lighting garland that is draped on mantles and banisters, spotlighting special decorations, grouping candles in decorative displays, etc.  Festive lighting can highlight the “true meaning of the season” by spotlighting a nativity scene displayed outside.  Festive lighting can ignite the spirit in all of us.  Color your holidays bright with festive lighting.

The Why’s and How’s of Commercial Christmas Lighting

Xmas lights and other touches lend a festive air to non-residential environments

The Why and How of Commercial Christmas LightingIf the economy has you thinking about cutting down on or eliminating Xmas lights and other decorations from your business this year, you may want to re-consider your strategy. Consumers have come to expect to see festive lighting where they shop, as well as at commercial establishments in general. Commercial Christmas lighting not only allows operations to create a welcoming environment for customers and clients, but helps to set them apart from the pack and keeps people coming back for more of whatever products or services you offer. Additionally, Xmas lights and other types of decoration get employees into the holiday spirit, bolstering their own productivity.

Leading with LED Christmas lights

The Why and How of Commercial Christmas Lighting 1One of the best and most festive lighting options you can select is LED Christmas lights. LED Christmas lights have become a popular Christmas lights sub-category–for commercial Christmas lighting and residential lighting purposes alike–because they are highly affordable and energy-efficient. Traditional incandescent mini-bulbs have filaments, but LED lights do not–meaning they need about 88% less energy to operate as well as generate less heat than other kinds of bulbs. LED lights are also manufactured from heavy plastic, yielding them a durability that’s especially favorable for commercial establishments. You can hang LED lights as you would other types of Christmas lighting, or make them part of a Christmas village scene. Also worth considering are LED icicle lights, which look like real icicles and come in a variety of shapes, such as traditional, snowflake, and star, and colors, like white, blue, pink, and purple.

Getting it done

The Why and How of Commercial Christmas Lighting 2For many businesses, municipalities, and the like, using commercial Christmas lighting has come to mean more than hanging a few strings of Christmas lights. Throughout the country, you can find a wealth of companies that specialize in commercial Christmas design and offer full custom décor and program packages. These firms generally send an expert to photograph the area or areas to be decorated, then utilize color digital graphics to enhance the photo(s) and replicate the desired look for client approval. Christmas lights and other decorations are then fully installed according to clients’ specifications, with any necessary alterations made during the process.

A hybrid approach

The Why and How of Commercial Christmas Lighting 3Despite the appeal of employing a custom design firm to create commercial Christmas lighting designs, doing so is often outside businesses’ budgetary parameters. In recognition of this fact, some design companies have begun to promote hybrid programs that comprise custom decorations whose price is relatively competitive with standard catalog decorations. To do this, they take “stock” pre-existing designs and personalize them with unique elements, such as special Christmas lighting treatments.  The end-result is, for the most part, unique, but is less costly to design and produce because it does not come entirely from scratch. But no matter what approach you take to commercial Christmas lighting, don’t neglect this essential this Christmas.

Holiday Decorating–Who Spots this Year’s Trends?

The Buyer–In Control of What We Purchase for Holiday Decorating

Every wonder who is responsible for the selection of xmas lighting products and decorations you see in the store?  You may suspect its some unseen buyer somewhere, but what’s the real story behind the Christmas light decorations and products you see offered for sale?

holiday decorating who spot this year trendTruth be known these unseen buyers have a lot of say over what we eventually take home with us for our festive lighting and holiday decorating projects.  If they don’t put it in the stores, it’s unlikely most of us will have the option to purchase it. These buyers job is to preview all of the merchandise offered by vendors and select those Christmas lighting decorating ideas that are sure to sell. If they make too many errors on second guessing you, the customer, their bottom line is sure to suffer.  Then again if they’re perceptive and choose the season’s sure winners, they’re on their way to becoming retailing geniuses.

Trade Shows for Decorations and Xmas Lighting

holiday decorating who spot this year trend 1These days buyers are selecting the merchandise we’ll see at Christmas at a few very important trade shows.  According to “Selling Christmas Decorations Magazine” buyers are most likely to attend the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, the Dallas Total Home & Gift/Market Holiday & Home Expo, the New York International Gift Fair, the Chicago Market Living and Giving, the International Halloween, Costume and Party Show and the National Stationery Show.

Trends in Christmas Lighting Decorating

holiday decorating who spot this year trend 2Recent trends of note seen at these shows include a focus on nostalgia, natural/green holiday decorations, products influenced or made by skilled artisans, products with African American themes, food items and products that can be easily adapted to other holidays like Halloween and Easter. An example of this type of product is an ornament tree that can be used to display various seasonal symbols.   Whatever the trends this coming Xmas season, it’s sure to be an interesting time when the stores open there doors for us to peruse the aisles of ,merchandising to tempt us into beginning our holiday decorating.

Landscape Lighting to Create the Perfect At Home Vacation

The economic times are getting tougher.  We are all returning to the simpler things in life.  Enjoyment of what we have at home, instead of chasing the adventures across the world.  After all the best adventures usually start in our own backyards!  And trips away are almost more of a hassle than skipping the vacation altogether.  Often we feel like we need a vacation after our vacation.

Make your own vacation spot at home

landscape lighting to create the perfect at home vacationInstead of using our time off of work to pack up the family and make a trek to our vacation spot of the year, why not just stay at home and enjoy what we have in our own backyards?  You can use landscape lighting to enhance your own backyard to make it like your favorite vacation spot.  Use festive lighting to give it a more tropical feel.

Entertain your guests as if they were at a resort
Landscape Lighting for Summer Enjoyment 1The patio is where the bulk of your entertaining will be.  You should first consider where you want to install patio lights.  Lights can be mounted on your home on either side of the doorway.  This will provide safety for your guests as they enter and exit your deck area from your home.  You can also use string lights to highlight walkways.

Enhance the comforts you already have

Landscape Lighting for Summer Enjoyment 2Lighting to enhance your landscaping is a very exciting process.  This where you really get to show off all the hard work you have put into your landscaping.  You can be as creative as you want.  You are held back only by your own imagination.  Use landscape lighting to highlight trees, bushes and flowers.  Who says the beauty that you created should only be seen during the day?  Keep in mind that trees and walls look best when lit from below.  Another plus to using landscape lighting in your garden and yard area is that it helps to light up dark areas that may be hidden without lighting.  You can also place lighting to create dramatic shadows.

Whatever your landscape lighting, make sure that you take the time to enjoy it.  When your lighting project is complete, you will not regret missing out on a long trip with the family, because you will have your own little paradise in your backyard!

The Evolution of Christmas Decorations

Prevalence of Christmas Decorations
the evolution of xmas decorationsYou might not have ever thought about it, but Christmas decorations haven’t always been so prevalent.  Can you imagine there was a time when December didn’t bring streets lined with brightly lit homes and sparkling trees? Or can you picture a time when downtown streets and shops weren’t lit with festive holiday lights?

You probably can’t, but believe it or not, in the big scheme of things such a time was not that long ago.  In the 2,000 or so years since the birth of Christ, it’s only within the last 150 years or so that Christmas decorations have been so prevalent in the United States.

Festive Lighting–A Little History

the evolution of xmas decorations 1Although Christmas decorations per se are relatively new, for millennia, light has been an integral part of religious and spiritual festivals celebrating the cycle of life.  Ancient peoples recognized light and the importance of it to life itself and therefore assigned it an important position.  Symbolic, ceremonial use of festive lighting became a staple fairly early on in the course of humanity.

the evolution of xmas decorations 2Traditionally, the Jews used light to indicate the beginning and end of their most holy day–Shabbat or the Sabbath.  The lighting of Friday night Shabbat candles to this day begins the Sabbath at sundown and ends it Saturday evening with the lighting of the elegant twisted Havdalah candle.  Since the Jews used candlelight for signifying the beginning of all the important festivals like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Tu Be Shevat and Passover, it was only natural that when Christianity developed as an offshoot of this religion that the use of candlelight followed down this new path.

The Origins of Christmas Light Displays in the US.
the evolution of xmas decorations 3Over the centuries the use of festive lighting in the world’s religions continued, but not until the mid-nineteenth century did Christmas take on the significance that would make it stand out as a day different than any other in the relatively new country–the United States.  At this time the Germans are credited with bringing the first Christmas tree to the US.  Initially, citizens were reluctant to bring a tree into their home.  It just didn’t make sense to them.  Imagine Grandmother’s horror when a dirty tree came into the house.  But, as is common in all generations,  youth prevailed, pursued the trends of the times and eventually the Christmas tree became the staple it is in our homes today.

Beginning with just a small decorated tree in the home, the tradition of Christmas light displays and eventually extensive decorating and holiday lights of all kinds began.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the expansive holiday lighting we see each year began so humbly with man’s homage to the life-giving light of the sun.

the evolution of xmas decorations 4Contribute to the environment by using energy efficient xmas lightthe evolution of xmas decorations 5

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.