For an over-the-top Christmas light display, turn to the pros
Nothing signals the start of the Christmas season quite like twinkling lights on trees and rooftops.
And no two houses are exactly alike. From multicolored lights to old-fashioned bulbs to lasers, styles vary across each neighborhood.
The trick behind these jaw-dropping displays is a team of professional light installers - such as Light House Lighting Specialists - that spends hours - or even days - wrapping the home in Christmas cheer.
Based in Dr. Phillips, Light House has been stringing up Christmas lights since 2008 and can use up to 100,000 lights on a single project.
“We start talking to our clients in July because you have to get all the elves on board to make sure that the logistics are in place,” said Light House cofounder Jay Cone.
And with eight years of Christmas decorating, plus Cone’s extensive experience producing Disney’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the crew knows a thing or two about exterior illumination.
This year, it’s all about putting on a show, Cone said.
“The big thing is self-programmable Christmas lights,” he said. “Everybody is going crazy over that stuff. And animated shows are starting to get really popular.”
These days, instead of hunting for the most ornate Christmas light display in town, that hunt may include a search for lights that blink in time to Christmas music.
And of course, LED lights are still the most popular.
“Everybody wants to use LEDs,” Cone said. “We use primarily the five-millimeter, conical concave LED. It lets out a single light source, so it’s the brightest.”
But everyone’s love of LEDs doesn’t mean that incandescent bulbs are obselete. In fact, they’ve started to make a comeback, Cone said.
“The big, old-style bulbs are coming back,” he said. “People want the warmth of the old bulb, so they don’t mind paying for it in their electric bill.”
But there’s one new trend of which Cone isn’t a huge fan - lasers.
“I’m not a proponent of lasers because it’s a cheap way (to decorate),” he said. “But if you shoot it in a tree, it looks really good. And now they have motion and projectors, so that kind of thing is more of a cool, cheap theatrical trick.”
On an average house, Cone and his crew string between 3,000 and 4,000 lights. For a homeowners association, they could string more than 100,000 lights, depending on the size of the project.
“We have a high-end home in Celebration that we’ve won best in town and best in state for the last couple (of) years,” Cone said. “That’s an over-the-top house. If there’s a blank spot on the wall, we’re putting a light on it somehow.”
When hanging Christmas lights, safety always comes first - especially if you’re stringing your own lights at home.
“Know your ladder, know your footing, know your ability,” Cone said. “If you're shaking going up the ladder, you shouldn't be going up the ladder.”
His second tip: know where the power source is before hanging up any lights.
And of course, always expect at least one strand to stop working in the middle of hanging up the lights, Cone said.
But for Cone, the installation process is all about the magic of Christmas lights.
“There should be no stress when it comes to installation,” he said. “ You should enjoy doing it; It’s for Christmas.”
Contact Brittany Gaines at firstname.lastname@example.org.