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Top Of The Best Christmas Decor Reviewed In 2018Last Updated March 1, 2019
№1 – Annys Lawn Stakes for Christmas Yard Lights-Heavy Duty Galvanized Steel Wire 10 long 20 per pack-for Sidewalk or Driveway Decorating (1)
№2 – Handmade Swedish Tomte, Gnome Hanging Ornament- Hanging Christmas Decoration, Home Decor For Christmas Tree, Wreath, Old Lady
№3 – Snowman Kitchen Appliance Handle Covers – Set of 3 – Christmas Decoration Idea
How Not to Let Gloomy Days Bring You Down
It’s Time to Get Your Holiday Decor Storage Under Control
The Downtime Declutterer: 1Things You Really Can Get Rid of Between Christmas and New Year’s Day
A Merry Kitschmas Tour of a Home with 100 Christmas Trees
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The Christmas Decorators are the only company in the UK that specialise in festive lighting and decorations for home owners.
Our elegant exterior lighting is created to suit each individual property to complement its style and surroundings. This includes the lighting of roofline contours, bushes, shrubs and trees as well as highlighting drive ways and entrances with garlands, wreaths and potted trees. Inside, an array of beautiful Christmas decorations can be provided to add a large sprinkle of Christmas spirit including Christmas trees, doorway, banister and fireplace garlands as well as festive floral arrangements.
Allow us to take the hassle out of decorating, dismantling and storing your Christmas decorations this year, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy it.
If you are interested in our services please contact us as soon as possible, it’s never too early to talk Christmas with us! It may help, if you take a look at our buyers guide first.
To offer a proposal we can visit your property or alternatively you can email us pictures of your home.
You can choose to rent or purchase your decorations but either way we install and take them down.
After spending over 60 hours researching Christmas lights, interviewing experts, and testing 20 strands of lights side by side, we’ve found that GE’s Energy Smart Colorite LED Miniature Lights (available in multicolor strands of 50 bulbs or 100 bulbs and in warm white strands of 50 bulbs or 100 bulbs) are the best all-around indoor Christmas lights. This is the third year we’ve named these GE lights as our pick, and we can’t find any lights that match their color quality and their ready availability at Home Depot.
We’re working on an update for the holiday season, and we plan to add our thoughts on smartphone-app light sets such as Home Depot’s AppLights. For now, we’re confident that our current picks, all of which are currently in stock, remain the best lights for most people.
How we picked and tested
We concentrated our research and testing strictly on nonblinking miniature lights, the traditional, small, stranded Christmas lights with a clear or semiclear bulb and a candle shape.
An article at DIY Network says that even though larger bulbs are growing in popularity, “mini lights have been by far the most popular during the past decade.” They’re the standard, and we wanted to focus on the lights that most people will be using, rather than those with a lesser following. Still, we do have some thoughts on the larger-bulb lights, and on other bulb sizes that didn’t make the cut. During our research, we also found that blinking lights are a very small minority of available lights, so we stayed with the type that remains lit at all times.
Once we dug into our options, we soon realized that our recommended lights would be fully rectified LEDs and not traditional incandescents. As Northern Seasonal’s Ben Orr, the lighting installer, told us, “LED lights allow you to do more with less.” They’re more durable, they’re safer, and you can connect together a much higher number of strands without any risk of tripping a breaker or a GFCI outlet. They also just plain ol’ last longer and use a fraction of the electricity that incandescents use.
In an article on the Christmas Designers website, Jason Woodward writes that “the benefits offered by LEDs are almost as significant as the benefits that incandescents provided over candles.” There’s no question that LEDs cost more than incandescents (they’re at least twice the price), but we believe that the long-term benefits are worth that added cost.
Some LEDs are better than others, however. All LED Christmas lights blink on and off many times per second, like a fluorescent light. The ones that are fully rectified, or full-wave, light up at a rate of 120 times per second, which is faster than the eye can detect. Lights that are known as half-wave, sometimes called non-rectified, blink 60 times per second, which can create a dizzying flickering effect. Orr told us that when a non-rectified strand is moving, the flickering becomes more apparent, and we confirmed this effect during our testing: Just by giving a non-rectified strand a slight jiggle, we made the lights take on a strobe effect that was very unpleasant to look at. In our tests, even when they were not moving, those lights seemed to have a harshness, an electronic feel, that the rectified lights didn’t have.
For outdoor lights, our experts directed us toward a specific style of LED, 5-millimeter wide-angle conicals. The bulbs on these lights are stubby and don’t have the homespun look of the small glass candle found on other mini lights. They are much brighter than regular mini lights (both LED and incandescent), and the unique shape of the bulb adds depth and complexity to the lights’ appearance. As Orr told us, this shape allows the strand to “refract the light and create a cool look depending on the angle of view. It appears that some are brighter than others and it adds contrast.” Orr, who specializes in exterior displays, added that mm wide-angle lights are generally his favorite light. And Christmas Designers, in a video dedicated to the bulbs, says these lights are “by far the most popular set we sell.”
But as with regular LED bulbs, the color of the light is a concern. We figure that if you’re reading this guide, you’re probably interested in replacing an old set of incandescent lights—but even if you want something more efficient and durable, you don’t want to give up the traditional lights’ familiar warm glow. Unfortunately, that is a big issue with LEDs.
Both Orr and Woodward warned us that LEDs simply do not look like incandescents. Due to improvements in the technology, many companies manufacture a “warm white” color that, depending on the quality of the LED, can closely mimic, but not fully achieve, the pinpoint sparkle of an incandescent. Orr stressed that “LED technology varies throughout the industry, and a warm white from one supplier can vary in hues and color drastically from another.” He even suggested buying strands from a few different manufacturers to compare them and see which hue you like best before making a large purchase. Once you find something you like, he said, buy from only that manufacturer. Our testing confirmed that there is a tremendous variety in LED color hues, from the fantastic to the terrible.
We dismissed companies that had overall poor reviews (Holiday Time), strange or incomplete bulb selections (EcoSmart), or suspiciously low pricing (Home Accents). Other companies, like Hometown Evolution, AGPtek, and Deneve, fall more into general exterior decor and don’t have a very good selection of Christmas lights. AGPtek, in particular, deals only in solar-powered or battery lights, which are more of a specialty item, and we wanted to concentrate on general tree and exterior lighting.
Our original testing consisted of 1sets, including colored and white mini lights, both LED and incandescent. We also tested a number of mm wide-angle conical LEDs, since our experts recommended them for exterior use. Then, in 2015, we looked at two new sets from Christmas Designers, the TSmooth LED Lights in both warm white and multicolor.
Ready to begin testing.
To evaluate the lights, we wound and unwound them, draped them over and into Christmas trees and rhododendrons, and tucked them in and out of deck railings. Basically, we tried to use the lights how they’re intended to be used. We tested the weather impermeability of the exterior lights by plugging them in and sinking the strands of lights into a 3-gallon bucket of water. While this test was a bit extreme, it’s certainly possible that any set of exterior lights will end up in a puddle or draped in a gutter.
Overall, we found that the wire quality has a lot to do with the success of a strand of lights. Some of the tested lights had tidy, close-knit strands of wire, while others were loose and messy. Some wires needed untwisting before use, like an old phone cord, and still others continued to accordion back on themselves no matter how we tried to stretch them out and lay them flat.
We also assessed each strand for color quality, using the incandescent strands as a benchmark, with the input of Susan Moriarty, executive creative director and founder of The Soapbox Studio. She’s a die-hard fan of the warmth that incandescent Christmas lights emit, so we asked her to compare the classics against new LEDs. Even though Moriarty did her evaluations in a blind fashion, she consistently chose along brand lines, a result that backed up Orr’s suggestion to select a single manufacturer and stick with it.
Long-term test notes
After two seasons of having the GE Energy Smart Colorite LED Miniature Lights on my tree, I have no complaints. Just recently (fall 2016) I took them out of storage for the holidays, and all of the bulbs work fine. I’ve noticed that the wire stranding has loosened a little, but the lights are still fairly well organized, and I don’t foresee any issues with putting them around a tree.
GKI/Bethlehem’s LEDs are nice lights, but we found that their color and wire quality didn’t match that of the GE or Christmas Designers lights.
The multicolor LED lights sold by Noma (known as Holiday Wonderland in the US) had a nice hue in our tests, but they’re non-rectified, so they have the potential for flicker—and if you merely jiggle them, they produce a dizzying strobe effect.
We also tested Noma’s mm wide-angle multicolored LEDs. Like the other Noma lights, this set is non-rectified. And because these lights employ a two-piece bulb and socket design, there is a chance of water infiltration, making them less than ideal for exterior applications.
GKI/Bethlehem’s wide-angle LEDs had a tidy wire but lacked the color quality of the wide-angle LEDs from the specialty stores. The whites had a far whiter hue. Even though this strand is sold as a warm white, in our tests The Soapbox Studio’s Susan Moriarty didn’t see a whole lot of warmth to it.
Wide-angle conical lights from Christmas Designers (top) and Christmas Light Source (bottom). Notice what a disaster the wiring is on the CLS lights. The best of the tested lights had nice, organized wires like the ones from Christmas Designers.
The wide-angle LEDs from Christmas Light Source had the most frustrating wire of all the lights we tested. Each bulb needed twisting and turning for the strand to lie flat, and even then it kept trying to spring back to how it was. The individual wires were loose from one another and had uneven loops. It was a nightmare to feed them through a tight spot like a railing or even between two branches.
The Brite Star clear incandescents we tested were very nice, and in light quality they were on a par with the strands from Christmas Designers and GE. We didn’t make them a recommendation because they have a 2½-inch spacing, which seems a little tight for most people. As we mention above, inches is the standard.
While the Brite Star incandescents were a success in our tests, the company’s LED Mini Ice Lights were a total failure. Everything bad about LEDs was on display with these lights. When we plugged them in, the result was like having 50 small computer screens lit up on a wire strand. It was just awful. They’re non-rectified, and the effect is not a positive one. The light that these LEDs emit is about as natural as the ingredients list on a Twinkie.
Cluster lights offer a unique and hazy look, but because they have so many bulbs per strand, they quickly get expensive.
In 2016, we tested two different styles of cluster lights. Such strands, which have been popular in Europe for years, have much smaller bulbs (either mm or mm conicals) and a vastly higher bulb density—a 10-foot strand has almost 450 bulbs on it, in contrast to traditional mini lights, which might have only 50 bulbs on a 16-foot strand. With regular mini lights, the bulb is attached to the main wire, but on a cluster strand, the bulb sits on the end of a 2½-inch extension coming off the main wire. The spacing on these extensions can be as little as ⅛ inch. On a tree, cluster lights offer a hazy, almost fairy-tale effect.
We found them available in two styles: straight strands and tree ready. The straight strands are self-explanatory, but the tree style is a little more complicated. This design—consisting of a central (non-lit) wire with a series of cluster strands coming off it, each one longer than the last—allows you to hang the main line vertically from the top of the tree (with the shortest cluster at the top) and then unravel each cluster around the tree. Lighting a tree this way takes hardly any time at all (this video shows the process). The lights are available for either 6-foot or 6.75-foot trees in warm or cool white.
If you are interested in cluster lights, we recommend sticking with a trusted retailer due to the variances we’ve seen with LED light quality. The ones we tested were from Christmas Designers, and these bulbs have the same warm incandescent-like look as the company’s other LED products.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Christmas Decor wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Christmas Decor
- №1 — Annys Lawn Stakes for Christmas Yard Lights-Heavy Duty Galvanized Steel Wire 10 long 20 per pack-for Sidewalk or Driveway Decorating (1)
- №2 — Handmade Swedish Tomte, Gnome Hanging Ornament- Hanging Christmas Decoration, Home Decor For Christmas Tree, Wreath, Old Lady
- №3 — Snowman Kitchen Appliance Handle Covers – Set of 3 – Christmas Decoration Idea