Make Your Home for the Holidays Sparkle and Shine
People everywhere are leaving computer screens and virtual gatherings behind and making plans to reconnect with friends and family this holiday season. It’s time to celebrate, go big, go bold, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
The thrilling glow of holiday lights can illuminate the sky on a dark and cold winter night and warm the hearts of everyone who is gathered to celebrate the season. Ace Hardware offers the following creative ideas and lighting tips to help make sure your holiday homecoming sparkles and shines like never before.
Holiday Lighting Tips
- Since they don’t require an electrical outlet, the newest generation of LED battery-powered string lights opens up a stocking-full of decorating possibilities. Powered by three AA batteries, the lights last much longer than older incandescent bulbs, require less power, include a timer, and are perfect for things such as lighting front door wreaths, containers, window boxes – or anywhere that needs a little twinkle.
- Inflatables add instant and whimsical holiday fun to any yard. Ask the kids for their input and place your inflatables in unexpected spots around the yard – on the roof, by the front door, or in other surprising spots in the landscape.
- Trees, wreaths, and garlands – battery-operated and pre-lit with LED lights– provide no-fuss decorating options. Place artificial wreaths on doors and windows, use trees in unused planters, or anywhere in your landscape that and needs some holiday cheer.
- Solaris LED Solar Holiday Garden Stakes are easy to install and can be used in so many joyful ways – as a cheerful addition to planters filled with evergreen boughs or as festive path lighting for a front walk. Best of all, they’re powered by the sun and do not require batteries or a power source.
- String lights through garden arbors and archways, wrap a bundle of firewood with lights displayed by the front door. Fill lanterns with weatherproof ornaments and lights to create additional interest on the patio. Or look in your garage for inspiration – wrap lights around a vintage sled or bicycle and display it on your front porch to add a whimsical touch.
- Holiday lights aren’t just reserved for adding festive cheer outside and on your indoor tree. Don’t be afraid to use lights in unexpected places inside as well. Decorate mantels, windows, and bathroom mirrors with battery-operated lights. Enhance your office space with a string of lights or a small artificial tree. And add some sparkle to your holiday meal by filling used wine bottles and laying lights across a holiday table instead of using candles.
Helpful Tips for Hanging Outdoor Lights
- Get a step up: A sturdy ladder is a must if you expect to safely create a winter wonderland of light for you and your family. Better yet, enlist a helper to steady you as you hang lights—plus you’ll be able to reach branches more easily when decorating a large tree or shrub.
- Play it safe: Use only lights and extension cords that carry an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label and are approved for outdoor use, which means these products meet industry safety standards and that they will be waterproof. Secure all lights and cords with electrical tape, insulted holders, or plastic zip ties; never use screws, metal hooks, nails or tacks. If you’d rather leave the roof climbing to Jolly Old St. Nick, limit your display to first-floor windows, small trees, and shrubs.
- Proper power: All exterior lighting should be connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This outlet style will shut off if it’s overloaded. If your home doesn’t have this style of exterior outlet, either hire a licensed electrician to permanently install one or use a TRC Yellow Shockshield GFCI Portable Plug.
- Start small: Remember that everything you hang in November and December will need to come down in in the chill of January, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re a novice to exterior holidays lights, start small and keep it simple. A well-lighted entryway, small bushes and shrubs, or a single tree makes a huge impact and serves as a focal point in your yard.
- The “100 for 1 ½” rule: For maximum impact, use 100 lights for every 1½ feet of tree or shrub you want to decorate. For example, a six-foot evergreen will require at least 400 to 450 lights.
- Go BIG: Think perspective and scale. Larger-sized lights are the best choice to accent a house’s roofline. Mini-sized lights should be reserved for illuminating garland, wreaths, and smaller bushes or trees.
- Set it, forget it, and smile: A timer is your best friend when it comes to holiday lighting. You’ve worked hard and strung the most beautiful light extravaganza on the street, so the last thing you want to forget to do is flip the switch once or twice a day. With a timer, you can relax and enjoy the festive fruits of your labor – and possibly save some electricity by setting it to shut off when the neighborhood is tucked in bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
About Westlake Ace Hardware
Headquartered in the Kansas City area, 116-year-old Westlake Ace Hardware has been the helpful neighborhood hardware store countless generations have shopped at for power and hand tools, fasteners, paint, plumbing, lawn care, pet, electrical supplies, and BBQ grills and accessories. It has been part of the Ace Hardware Cooperative since 1959, and a wholly-owned Ace subsidiary since 2012.
Westlake currently owns and operates 153 stores in 12 states.