In years past, there was only one choice when it came to holiday lighting: strings of incandescent bulbs. Times have changed however, and the energy-saving technology of an LED light has opened up a whole new world of outdoor Christmas decorations and indoor-outdoor Christmas lights for the holiday season. 

The main focal point of your Christmas decorating is most likely going to be your Christmas Tree. If you don’t get a living tree you’ll have to decide between a standard tree or a pre-lit one. With a pre-lit tree the lights are taken care of for you so you can focus on hanging ornaments.

The first decision to make when deciding on other decorations is whether it will plug in, use batteries, or if it will be solar-powered. 

Solar-powered holiday decorations and lights will keep your electric bill low, but on cloudy or snowy days you may not get quite the glow you’re hoping for into the night. 

Battery operated decorations generally work best indoors so that you can shut them off when you’re not using them to conserve energy. 

Electrical lights and decorations will increase your bill but will shine brightly no matter what. There are two choices for these: incandescent and LED lights. 

Incandescent lights tend to have a warm cast to them (meaning the white lights look more yellow than a true white) while LED lights come in both warm and cool tones. If you do use electrical lights be sure to use UL-listed extension cords and either a timer to turn your lights off during the day, or a remote control made especially for outdoor lighting. String lights, icicle lights, rope lights, and net lights are very common choices, however some people prefer using laser lights for their decorating.

Laser lights can cover an entire house, without all of the climbing and work that comes with traditional lights. All of these options can be found in hardware stores like Brinkmann’s, which makes it easy to mix and match different styles. 

No matter what style you choose remember that before putting any lighting or decoration outside you should check the product details to be sure it’s safe for outdoor use. If you have any doubts about the safety of your lights—for example, if there is a frayed cord—throw them away and replace them.