The Christmas season is here and it’s time to decorate. Should you pull those tangled old strings of incandescent lights from the attic for another year, or opt for the newer LED types. Let’s explore cool trends in outdoor holiday decorations that will earn you the Clark Griswald seal of approval.
Incandescent versus LED. Old-school incandescent lighting has been around since Thomas Edison, but is quickly being eclipsed by LED lights. LEDs use considerably less electricity and last longer, but the initial expense is higher. Are LED Christmas lights worth it?
Several consumer websites have done energy cost comparisons of Christmas light strands. The bottom line: It takes several years of energy savings to recoup the initial purchase price of LED Christmas lights. The savings improves, however, when you consider that LED bulbs last longer. How many times have you replaced old strands of incandescent lights?
If you’re not financially ready to make the leap to LED this year, perhaps you will be next year. The cost of LED lighting of all types, including holiday lights, has dropped dramatically and will likely continue to do so. And don’t forget those after-Christmas sales when holiday merchandise can be discounted by as much as 90 percent. That would be a great time to invest in LEDs for next year.
Potential savings aside, which type of light do you prefer — the warm, soft glow of incandescent or the more modern, even stark, look of LEDs. It’s a personal preference only you can decide.
Projection lights. In recent years, projection-style lights also have become popular. These cast laser lights or stylized images onto your house.
Star Shower is a projection light that takes a single laser beam and refracts it. The result is hundreds of points of green or red light that replace the need to cover shrubs with strings of lights. The laser effect can be shined on your house to appear as though it is covered in Christmas lights. Experts on laser safety urge users not to shine the lasers into trees unless the branches form a near solid canopy. Laser light projected into the sky could unintentionally distract an aircraft pilot.
The Mr. Christmas brand provides another type of projection light that shines images of Santa Claus, manger scenes or other iconic images onto the side of a house. One type projects the image of falling snowflakes onto the house — a whimsical touch if you live in the south and rarely have a white Christmas.
A front yard centerpiece. Beyond holiday lighting, some homeowners are adding a front yard focal point. Once again, your personal preference rules. While many prefer a traditional manger scene illuminated with a small spotlight, others opt for an inflatable Santa or Frosty the Snowman.