Christmas Lighting Ideas

sarahb84October 3, 2012

Hello all!

I would like to generate few Christmas Lighting ideas for this year and I need your help! Of course I am planning to decorate the tree. But this year I want my husband to help me put lighting outside the house as well.

Running extension cords from the outlets or electrical wiring should not be an issue. What I am wondering is how can I make the lights flash! I already have some static lights for the trees. I am planning to buy for the outdoors.

Is there any device or gadget I can buy locally or order online that can make my static lights animating the way I want? I want to have total control over the blinking patterns or flash!

I am a complete newbie in electronics! So, please help me find a solution.

- Sarah

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    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:17PM
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I hate flashing lights!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:55PM
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no, i just mean ... Christmas? Now? October 4th? please!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Shouldn't we first discuss orange lights (blinking or not) for halloween!

I have bought lights that come with a little controller box as part of the wiring. The box allows you to select from several different static/blink settings. I got these a few years ago. Lights have gotten cheaper in quality and I haven't seen this type recently, but I haven't been actively shopping for lights, so they might still be out there. I have always kept the outside light with NO blink setting. It would be hard to coordinate them all and it would be a flashing mess ...

I do use the adjustable lights on the tree and sometimes choose to have it twinkle!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 12:42AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm not a fan of flashing lights, but many years ago I bought a couple of strings of white lights where every other bulb would twinkle randomly. I used over 300 regular lights and only about 20 twinkling bulbs scattered around the tree and it gave it a lovely gentle animation. But chase lights, flashing lights, patterned lights, etc. are better suited to vegas IMHO.

Yes it's early, but you've reminded me that I have to put the xmas tree on my to do list. Last year it was decorated with what we had around, but it doesn't "go" with my new library....

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Not an answer to your question, but I bought a 38' string of multi-color mini lights at Dollar General yesterday. Mainly because last year near Christmas, multi-color lights could hardly be found. They sold out everywhere, including Walmart, by the time I was ready to buy them. This is the first year I'll use multi-color instead of white.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:51AM
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You guys are mean. lol For someone who needs to plan on outdoor lighting, NOW is the time to do it. Especially since Christmas decor is put up in early Dec., and not taken down until Jan. 1st. In most neighborhoods.

I live in the country and the kids are grown, so I don't do Halloween. I'm also concentrating on Christmas.

One of my favorite houses in town at Christmas is like Annie described her house. Lots of white lights but very gentle at the same time.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I'll mention it again that I'm decorating a house for Christmas NEXT WEEK!!! I'll be so glad to get the job done, but it's way too early to be executing Christmas decor. Not my idea at all...

Anyway, for those who want elaborate exterior lighting plans and purchasing are done months in advance. These people typically start their projects in September, if not sooner. You may see these displays run from mid Nov to mid Jan.

I have no suggestions on what to buy or where to buy. I'm not a fan of blinky, flashing lights at any time of year. So glad that we moved far away from our neighbors that put a light show on the front of their house. Was a two year nightmare and I was so glad to have blackout curtains, otherwise my bedroom would have closely resembled a disco.
BUT, if that's what one wants on the home they pay the rent/mortgage/taxes be it :).

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:01AM
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I highly doubt the OP is planning to puts lights up now, just wanted some suggestions on where to buy the type she wants.

When other posters ask us very technical questions that have absolutely nothing to do with decorating, we don't tell them to go to another board.

I do minimum outside lighting, but I'm sure someone here can help the OP.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:19AM
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I'm not ready to execute anything either, and I'll probably just do the traditional things (I just hope my lights work for another year), but I am helping our high school choir with a fundraiser in which they are taking orders for wreaths and poinsettias. I hope they don't get the "not in October" reaction -- the plants are still growing and the wreaths are made to our order. We have to start early.

Anyone want to order a wreath? ;-)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Here's a link to a relatively simple device that may meet your needs. Be sure to read the reviews because it's not perfect.

Here is a link that might be useful: Outdoor light synchronizer

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Despite my self-imposed ban on all things Ch_______ before the second week of November, today I had to book my decorating helpers.
Mentally, I am still enjoying margarita ice pops. What happened to summer?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:26PM
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When other posters ask us very technical questions that have absolutely nothing to do with decorating, we don't tell them to go to another board.

Oak, my response that directed the OP to another forum was in no way meant to push away this poster. But from what I know about my fellow posters here, I can't think of anyone who could answer the question.

And, by the way, I direct people from the Paint Forum to post here all the time. As far as I am concerned, there is a good place for every question.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Annie, I like your idea of softly twinkling lights, but don't know what to look for. Could you explain a little for the not electrically inclined?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

They don't make the brand I had any more and I'm sure the technology has changed. What I had was a string of white lights where every other bulb would flash individually, randomly. So on a string of 20, there would be 10 that flashed. The rest would not. By using so few flashing individual bulbs vs. all the solidly lit ones, the whole tree would have a more gentle effect of twinkling, rather than other trees I've seen with the very bold look of an entire strand blinking on and off...with multiple strands blinking on and off at various times, it gets way too animated for my taste.

Here is a link that might be useful: Twinkle lights

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:58PM
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Gray, I know you didn't mean any harm. But the OP got so many negative replies she hasn't even been back. Many of us do decorate for Christmas so I didn't see the harm with asking a decorating question regarding Christmas.

What she's asking for does take a lot of forethought and now is the time to plan & buy.

Hey, wanna hear about the decorated bottle brush trees I bought the other day? lol

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:51AM
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We bought an pre-lit artificial tree at BJs about five years ago that has random twinkling lights. It is beautiful. They randomly twinkle softly - no flashing. Its just one light here, one light there, etc., almost like gentle breeze is moving the branches (if you know what I mean) If I recall correctly the lights were made by GE, but have never seen that particular tree again...anywhere.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 9:54AM
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outdoor christmas lighting definitely can take a fair amount of thought and planning, especially if you do decorate differently every year! and, i'm at the point in my life that i am OVER hanging lights in the freezing cold! i don't turn them on until after thanksgiving, but i put them up before--and earlier every year!!
i have never seen any electrical gadget to make 'regular' lights flash in specific patterns. most strings have a couple of bulbs that can be replaced which will make the lights 'flash'. but, you can buy chasers, etc that do a whole lot of flashing... last year, HD seemed to have an awful lot of flashing LED lights.
they still sell 'twinkle' lights, but they don't seem as subtle as the twinkle lights that were out 5-10 years ago-i had a couple of strings of subtle twinkles that were really nice...

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Has anyone seen those LED snowflake light projectors on sale at QVC. They show them shinning on outdoor trees and they look great. Thinking about getting one to try out.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:29AM
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I don't have any technical suggestions, but there is a Lighting forum here at GW. (Look at the top of the page in the dark green band for "forums") I'm sure they discuss Christmas lighting there and can point you in the right direction.

I hope you find the information you need and your decorations turn out fabulously!

That said, I'm not always a fan of flashing lights :)

I have a neighbor who has a commercial company put up their lights every year. It has several sections of lights that flash on and off at different times and is complete with (loud) music. It looks like the outside of a cheap nightclub in Vegas. The neighbors are only there on the weekends, so they don't have to look at it all the time.

If anyone needs a laugh before the holidays, check out the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ugly Christmas Lights

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Swimmer, I'm going to have to check it out. I've seen the snowflake lights that hang vertical and it looks like it's snowing under a tree.

I do have the automatic turn-on netted lights from QVC that I put on the topiaries by the front door. I love how I don't have to turn them on and off!

I put a large lighted snowflake in each front window, it goes really nice with the blue lights.

Man, I'm ready for Christmas! lol. We just had one heck of a hot, dry summer. Cold weather is here and I'm raring to go!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:03PM
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All spam aside..
I have a friend who swears the "smart power strip" saves
on his elec.bill.
I think that's what they are selling.
The one they advertise is a little too high tech
for most.

Although I do love it when spammers take on several identities to
talk to themselves.

I have often wanted to get another user name
so that I could compliment myself on my ideas :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 9:39PM
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I guess it is a bit early to talk about Christmas but I don't want to wait till the rush hour and ship things overnight later on.

Guys guys..I also like modest flashing and thats why I didn't just go on the web and bought some chinese products that would make my house look like a Mandarin Palace! I want what busybee3 said, "twinkle" effects but I don't want to spend a lot.

Thanks for the ideas guys! I will definitely try out few of the suggestions.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:29PM
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How can it be too early for Christmas when some stores already have trees up on display and aisles of Christmas decorations for sale? :(

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:00PM
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It's not too early for the commercial extravaganza that has completely overtaken Christmas. Every year it gets worse.

I live in an historic late nineteenth century city neighborhood, and thirty years ago, before the tidal wave of cheap Chinese electrical devices, the tradition was one white candle in every window, trees in bay windows with little white lights, and natural greenery on front doors. The neighborhood looked perfectly lovely then.

Now? Everyone has decided that more is more, and while it's certainly festive and amusing, something that felt like a community drawing together in a season of good will and generosity has been lost.

These days, although many households (ours included) honor the old convention, it's become a season of showing off and in-your-face individualism from just enough people to wipe out the serenity and peacefulness of the tradition.

I don't own a gun, but if it were legal to shoot giant inflatable snowmen, I might get one....

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:41PM
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I think it is good weather to get the lights up in the trees, before the snow. Nobody even knows they are there, and then you don't have to bother during the rush, and cold!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:01AM
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For the most part, we aren't "guys."

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Funny how these threads take on a life of their own, isn't it?

Shoot the giant inflatable snowman, I can't stop laughing. I have been so tempted to take a needle to all of them and pop them myself too!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I know I am a bit slow on the uptake, but don't understand the spammer reference? Was it a rhetorical comment, or do we have a poster using multiple user names?

Can you tell it's a slow evening here ~ not loving the fact that it is getting darker so much earlier now! Anyhoo, would someone clear that up for me?

Too funny (and so true) about the popping the inflatable lawn decs. One year I purchased a 8ft inflatable Grinch for DH's birthday. The worst day of the year for my DH is the day the Christmas decs go up. Just makes his skin crawl. Over-decorated yards drive him crazy too. I had the thing up, inflated & lit when he arrived home from work on the evening of his birthday. It lasted all of 3 days ~ bad weather preventing its dismantle sooner! We ended up giving it to a family who just loves those type of lawn ornaments during the holidays. The cost and effort involved were so worth it just to see the look on his face when he walked in the door that evening. Priceless.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:06PM
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The OP's question was posed in such a way that it sounded suspiciously familiar to other such posts that have started with a seemingly "innocent" question about where to buy an item, and then the spam hits. It's an obvious advertising ploy that's thinly disguised as forum participation.

Looks like that was probably not the case here, but it was quite similar to previous spamming threads, so ... Not difficult to jump to that conclusion.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Sorry to go off topic but some of these posts reminded me of a horrible song about lawn art lovers here is a link to listen to it at CBC Canada

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:42PM
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A warning there is some swearing at the end of the song.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:46PM
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