The 5 Best Outdoor Christmas Lights To Brighten Up Your Home This Holiday Season

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As the infamous Andy Williams song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." There really is something magical about driving through neighborhoods with festive Christmas lights, and the shorter days are a little more bearable when you know there is something to look forward to after sundown.

According to Christmas Light Source, a tradition that started in Germany during the 17th century has evolved from candles attached to the Christmas tree to the modern LED lights we use today. Americans first fell in love with Christmas lights in 1882 when electric string lights were first used to illuminate a tree in New York City, and it was over a decade later they appeared on the White House Christmas tree. Holiday lights became less expensive and more widely used through the 19th century and are a staple of the season today. To bring your own holiday flare to the Christmas season, add a variety of different types of lights to create a wonderland that brings joy to everyone who sees it.

1. Mini-string lights

Many people are making the change from incandescent lights to LED Christmas lights for good reasons. LEDs produce much less heat, so installing these lights on your tree or house reduces your risk of fire, states Christmas Designers. Families with little ones drawn to the tree also do not need to worry about their cute fingers being burned because LED Christmas lights are cool to the touch.

The 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights is a popular option on Amazon, with a 4.3-star rating resulting from over 1,000 reviews. This product is 33 feet long with 100 LED lights. The green cord helps it blend into greenery wrapped around a column, or you can use a strand around your tree for a safe, elegant design. These lights are approved for indoor or outdoor use; however, you are limited to connecting only three strands of lights, which may be a downside depending on your décor dreams.

2. Large bulb string lights

If you like big, bright bulbs, then C9 OptiCore LED Commercial Outdoor Christmas lights might be your style. Unlike their large-bulb incandescent counterparts, these LED bulbs stay cool and are energy efficient. ElectricityPlans says you can save over $200 yearly on a large light display by choosing LEDs over incandescent options. The C9 OptiCore lights come in several styles, colors, and finishes from which to choose. For extra sparkle, select the diamond faceted style. For a softer light, there is an opaque option available. 

Additionally, you can choose from seven solid-colored strings or a multicolor set. Although there is a warm white option, some reviewers stated they do not compare it to the warm glow of traditional incandescent white. Available lengths include 25, 50, and 100 feet to suit your decorating needs. Each bulb is 12 inches apart and consists of a socket clip to help hang the light strand without damaging your house. This option allows you to connect over 1,000 feet of lights safely — that's ten 100-foot strings — on a single plug for a big display that covers your home in lights.

3. Solar-powered lights

Solar-powered Christmas lights are an excellent option for homes without an available outdoor outlet or for anyone who wants to save on electricity costs over the winter. The Joomer Solar Christmas Lights comes with many options, and, of course, no plug is needed. Each waterproof strand is 72 feet long with 200 mini LED lights. Available in 12 colors and 8 lighting modes, there is an option to match your outdoor Christmas décor.

Since this product is solar-powered, it costs nothing to operate, but there are some requirements in order to get the most light from the bulbs. Main St. Solar states solar lights work by using a panel to recharge a NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery, so you will need to be able to put the solar panel in a space that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day for the bulbs to stay on for about eight hours at night. Purchase this option if you live in a region that gets lots of sunlight. 

4. Novelty lights

Create a unique and awe-inspiring display with the Meteor Shower Lights Outdoor set. There are so many beautiful novelty lights on the market in shapes from snowflakes to stars, but the lighted tubes in this product will make your Christmas light display truly magical. Each Meteor Shower strand is 16 feet long with 12 tubes which can be linked with more strands for a bigger impact. The hanging design of these lights makes them perfect for adding a little pizazz to your trees, or you can combine them with string lights along the roof of your house for a truly unique Christmas light display. Even though the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, some stated they would like a way to control how quickly or slowly the lights move. 

Christmas Lights Etc. considers tube lights, also known as grand cascades, a modern version of icicle string lights. If you have ever spent time trying to untangle icicle lights, you will appreciate that there will be almost no separating needed with these Meteor Shower lights. When bulbs are in a string in a tube, it will save you loads of time, and they will be easier to store.

5. Animated lights

Animated Christmas lights are a great way to add a focal point to your festive holiday display. You have seen YouTube videos of impressive, whole-home light displays set to music, but you do not have to go all-out to create a beautiful light show. According to Law Insider, an animated display simply means there are moving parts or light patterns. There are plenty of products you can install and plug in, like this adorable Hawisphy LED Christmas Snowman who greets visitors with a friendly wave of his mitten-clad hand.

At 5 feet tall, you can place this snowman on your porch, which will still be visible from the street, or add it to a lawn display to bring joy to your visitors. Bright, multi-colored rope lights adorn the wireframe of this product, and you will not have to worry about it falling over. Ground hooks and tethers are included to keep Mr. Snowman securely affixed to the ground, but this product may not be for you if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions. Some reviewers stated the metal is a bit thin and may not stand up well to heavy winds.