Holiday Lighting

Holiday Lights
Photograph provided by The Bruce Company

As the days begin to noticeably shorten, many of us try to beat back the dark with festive twinkling lights. I spend my fall decorating the Garden Center for the holidays, and as those days draw closer, I relish the drive home when house after house lights up with their own version of Christmas sparkle. I love it all, from traditional white fairy lights to trendier multicolored icicles.

LED Lights
Many contemplate the switch from incandescent to LED lights, so here’s the scoop. LED lights use diodes instead of filaments to produce light, which makes them more efficient, longer lasting, and cost effective over time. LEDs are also cool to the touch because very little of the light they produce is released as heat. Most bulbs are molded and cannot be individually replaced as bulbs burn out, so when a string is done, it’s done. This could be a positive or negative depending on whether testing lights is part of your holiday tradition.

Color has been another important deal breaker for many of us. The weirdly bluish hue of early LEDs was a huge turnoff for those of us trying to mimic the golden light of incandescent bulbs, but I can now say that the newer warm white LED lamps are difficult to distinguish from clear incandescent ones.

And, of course, all of the latest, coolest effects are created with LED lights. New strings are multifunctional—they’re dimmable, and many can switch from warm white to multicolored with the flick of a switch. This ends the age-old argument of whether you fall into the clear or multilight decorating camp.

Some of my favorite LED lights are from European designers, who take a less traditional approach to holiday decorating, which is hugely appreciated as I create almost 30 themes every year. Red, green, and warm white can only take us so far. I’ve ombré-lit a tree from blue to cool white to pure white. We’ve lit a fireplace with swirls of pink and purple. And I love the versatility of compact twinkles, microbunches, twig balls, and polestars.

More Lighting Projects
Don’t think that once you’ve lit your trees and rooflines you’re done. How about a basket of pine cones sparkling with battery-operated copper wire lights? Or your holiday porch containers made extra twinkly with a lit tomato cage or fanciful meadow lights? The possibilities are endless.

As our gardens fade from the brilliant colors of summer and fall to a more subdued starkness of winter, holiday lights are a way to combat winter gloom with illumination. We can remain warm and cozy inside while gazing through steamed-up windows to a well-lit, magical holiday landscape.

Brought to You by The Bruce Company.