retro style holiday lights strung to an entry gate
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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December: Fun, Festive Entry Lights

If the thought of icicle lights dripping from your roofline feels more ho hum than ho ho ho, try a fresh approach to decorating for the season. Wrap a strand of retro-style colored bulbs around your entry gate, mailbox, or portico posts like a kid would: in a casual, unstudied way. Use outdoor-rated LED bulbs for a brighter, longer-lasting (up to 100,000 hours!) glow. They'll also trim your electric bill, since they burn 90 percent less energy than incandescents. Plug them into an outdoor receptacle or fit an outdoor light fixture (that's not low-voltage) with a socket-to-outlet adapter. Complete the scene with berries and greenery for a lighthearted twist on the traditional holiday welcome.

Shown here: A 25-foot strand of outdoor-rated LED lights by GKI Bethlehem, about $20; 1000bulbs.com
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