As the sun slips below the horizon earlier and earlier each day, we find ourselves craving the comfort — and cheer — of lights against the dark nights. As you think about accentuating your beautiful windows with sparkling strings of all sizes, shapes, and colors, we have the lowdown on the hows and whats of holiday light decorating — even Rudolph’s red nose will be impressed.

How to Hang: Planning Ahead

Rather than buying too many boxes of lights you “might” use, take an hour to measure your home to determine the exact lengths you will need. For a tree or a post, use a rope to run a practice wrap then jot down the length of the rope. Don’t forget to take into account how you will safely attach the lights to your siding! Finally, be sure to add in the length of lead you will need to connect the cords to your grounded current, using a GFCI stake for the safest electrical connection.

How to Choose: LED vs Incandescent

Incandescent bulbs use filaments to connect to the power source while traditional “mini” lights have thin wires that are bent back and contact the socket. Repeatedly putting them up and taking them down can wiggle the bulbs and cause intermittent contact in the socket, leading to flickering or worse — a whole section of the string of lights going out. Traditional strawberry-shaped bulbs screw into their sockets: The sizes C7 and C9, used primarily on windows and exteriors because of their larger size, can overheat and melt tinsel or plastic.

Light-emitting diode technology means that LED strands are versatile, long-lasting, and low-maintenance. Because they don’t heat up, their coverings can be plastic — which means they don’t shatter when dropped. LED lights cost slightly more but last up to a decade compared to just a few years for incandescent lights. A warning: If you’re a white light enthusiast, pay attention to the shades that are available. “Cool white” has a blue tint while “warm light” casts an amber glow. “Daylight” is the hue to choose if you’re trying to capture the lovely white of a full moon on fresh snow.

Whichever type of bulbs or strings of light you choose, the perfect lighting will provide a magical twinkling touch for the holidays. If you notice your windows and doors are in need of an upgrade, let us help you find the right replacements — contact Gravina’s to request a free estimate today!

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