Types of Christmas Lights

November 22, 2012 in CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas lights are lights used for decoration around Christmas. The custom harks back to the use of candles to decorate the Christmas tree in upper-class homes in 18th-century Germany. Christmas trees displayed publicly and illuminated with electric lights became popular in the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights as Christmas decoration detached from the Christmas tree itself, along streets and buildings. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with such Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960s. By the late 20th century, the custom had also been adopted in non-western countries, notably in Japan.

Before you buy your Christmas lights find out the different types:

There are many lights to choose from when purchasing Christmas lights. In recent years color offerings of Christmas lights have changed dramatically. While the traditional blue, green, yellow and red is still popular, one can now find purple, pink, soft white or orange. As well, light shapes have never been more interesting. In the past people were mainly limited to bubble, large, or mini Christmas lights. Now many shapes can have you decking your halls in unique ways.


  • Traditional incandescent Christmas lights are also still quite popular and exhibit many varieties. They can now be found arranged in icicle light formations, a quite popular outdoor decorating choice. Some vary this by using blue or green icicles instead of the more expected white.

    For a while, the larger pointed bulb lights were not available. They did get hot and proved a fire danger. Now one can find both LED and incandescent bulbs available for the large bulb look outdoors or indoors. The bubble Christmas lights were also a once dangerous choice, though many people loved them. Safe bubble lights are now also available.

    The small bulbs emit a small amount of heat and require less energy than Christmas lights with larger bulbs. Incandescent lights are ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. If you plan on decorating the exterior of your house with incandescent lights, choose icicle lights, which feature short lengths of lights that hang from a main cord. Cover shrubs with net lights, which feature individual bulbs connected to a grid of cords. String lights, most of which feature cords of between 100 and 600 bulbs, are ideal for all indoor uses.

C7 and C9

  • Larger in size than incandescent lights, C7 and C9 lights are what most people think of when they imagine traditional Christmas lights. The bulbs resemble miniature lightbulbs, and each one screws into a socket on a light string. Because C7 and C9 bulbs burn hotter and brighter than their incandescent counterparts, you should not use them for indoor decorating, where they may present a fire hazard. They are, however, ideal for outdoor decorating. While this kind of light is falling out of favor with consumers, professional decorators prefer these lights for their reliability and brightness


  • LED lights are now offered in a variety of sizes and colors. LED Christmas lights use a semi-conductor to brighten up the tree or the inside or outside of the home. LEDs come in mini lights, round shapes, and large pointed varieties, and they are more expensive in the onset. However, most people recoup their losses in extra expense on LEDs, particularly if they light their tree regularly.

    Also, LED Christmas lights do not get hot and thus pose less fire danger than do regular mini-lights. They are slightly less bright, but can be connected to regular light strands as they connect end to end. Some say that the white lights do not mimic the brightness and glow of mini white lights. This can be addressed by buying a soft yellow or cream LED set instead.

    Light Emitting Diode, or LED, Christmas lights are a relatively new option. The lights look similar to incandescent varieties, but they require 85 percent less electricity and produce more illumination. The colors LED lights emit are more vibrant than those from incandescent lights. LED plastic bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from strawberry-shaped with faceted surfaces to traditionally shaped mini lightbulbs. The bulbs are practically indestructible, which means LED light sets may last five times longer than their incandescent counterparts. For all their advantages, LED lights typically cost twice as much.