Holiday rule no. 1? It's not Christmas without Christmas lights. The minute the displays go up, the season begins in earnest. It's just the way it is. Sure, there are indoor and outdoor string lights and fixtures you can hang and enjoy 24/7, but the specific kind of holiday lights that come 'round once a year are in a league of their own.
Toss a strand around your favorite Christmas garland, or wrap some around your favorite Christmas wreaths. Pick some up while buying other holiday pieces at one of your favorite stores. Or pull off that set you've had since you were a kid that's currently collecting dust in your parent's basement.
Whatever works, just make sure you have 'em! Below, we've compiled our favorite Christmas light must-haves for the 2023 season, from where to buy Christmas decorations and what to buy lights-wise, and hope you find something you love for your (compulsory) festive decor. Sorry, we don't make the rules!
The Livingetc edit of the best Christmas lights
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Sometimes the best product is the simplest. These mini Christmas lights from Target are a comforting warm white and would work fabulously wrapped around a banister or even around your tree. For $7, buy a bunch and experiment!
These CB2 string lights are an elevated version of the ones from Target, complete with 60 textured plastic bulbs.
Especially around the holidays, curtain lights can make such excellent wall decor! Use this Pottery Barn set during a party for a festive and illuminating touch.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, these micro string lights can be draped, wrapped, or hung around your favorite garland.
The beauty of net lights is not in their shine or their glow, but in their simplicity — toss a set of these babies over a bush or shrub in your front yard and call it a (festive) day.
Turn any tree into one covered in icicles (even in warmer temperatures) with meteor lights, whimsical, classy, and different than your average holiday lights all at once.
Alternatively, if you'd like the icicle look but a bit more subtle and for, say, your front porch, a set like these from Home Depot would easily do the trick.
If you're looking for a basic light strand for outside the home, try these multi-color outdoor string lights from Lights.com. Not only are they heavy-duty and weather-resistant, they also come with 10 different light effects so you can control the speed, rhythm, and sequence of the twinkling.
How often should I replace my Christmas lights?
LED bulb Christmas lights, which are 'ideal as they last longer, are safer since they don’t overheat, and are more commonly found nowadays,' should 'last you years,' Sheva Knopfler, decor expert and co-founder of Lights.com, tells Livingetc. 'Most LED string lights are projected to last you anywhere from 5 to 10 seasons, depending on weather conditions, usage, and storage.'
Is there a lighting hack to make hanging my lights easier?
Sheva's 'biggest tip' to 'make sure you store your Christmas lights in a safe and organized manner. Remember to label your string lights with the bulb color and string length so you can easily pick what you need each season. Wrap the cords loosely so they do not wear down and can last you longer.'
Should I hire a professional to hang my lights?
'If you are limited in mobility and resources, hiring a professional to hang your lights may be a good option for you,' Sheva says. 'Otherwise, hanging Christmas lights can be an opportunity to come together as a household to prepare for the season and start spreading the holiday cheer.'
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Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.
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