Let the light shine
January can be such a boring month. The holidays have just finished — everyone was bustling around and our homes were decked out. The holiday season is just cheery and then January comes along and all the cheer is boxed up until the end of the year.
Right now, the weather outside is dreary and damp and it gets dark early. It’s much the same in December, but at least we had Christmas lights to help brighten up our world. But keep that Christmas decor past its time and you’ll by “that” person on the block.
I really love holiday lights and I like to use them in my decor — I just don’t want to make my home look like a dorm room.
One easy way to use Christmas lights to brighten up your home is to put them up on top of a cabinet. For example, I use a string of small white lights on top of my china hutch where I store glassware. I keep my punch bowl, cake stands and crystal candle sticks up there. With the lights they make the glass sparkle and it adds that light that is needed in the dark months.
Another way I use Christmas lights year round in my house is by employing the rope lights along the top of a curtain rod in my family room. The curtain panels on this wall hide an ugly wall and so I keep the lights up along the top all year to provide an almost movie theater quality to the look.
Rope lights are great since they give you the light and reminder of the holidays, yet they are fully encased. This is great for me because it means that Buddha (my cat) can’t chew on the light bulbs. I sometimes even wrap them around the underside of our bed or guest bed and plug them into an extension cord with a button switch. This gives you a night light that illuminates the floor making it really easy to see if you need to get up in the middle of the night.
Of course it’s easy to use Christmas lights outside for more than just Christmas time. I keep it to only white lights because I think having colored lights outside at times other than Christmas just isn’t good.
I like to keep white lights on my dogwood tree outside my front door. The lights add interest and illumination for at least another month. I take the lights off the tree no later than the end of February — you don’t want them to get in the way once the plants start growing again.
I also keep some lights in plastic orbs that I bought years ago. These are placed among the plants in a flowerbed near our front gate and this is a great way to make your yard more inviting in the dreary months.
Of course, I do have other ideas to keep your home lit up during the winter months that don’t include Christmas lights. One is to use up lights behind pieces of furniture or plants. I do this and keep them on a timer that way every day as it gets dark they turn on! Second, illuminate any glass front cabinets you have. As anyone who has met me knows, I’ve got so many dishes that I have numerous china cabinets. I’ve installed lighting in them all. This helps to show off the china and also adds accent lighting to the house.
Finally, landscape lighting can add a lot to your yard throughout the winter months. Since it gets dark so early these days, you can still enjoy your yard. I like to use the single spotlight type of landscape lighting to highlight certain plants and trees.
I hope these examples of how you can utilize light inside and outside of your home will give you some ideas to get through the dreary months ahead.
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