The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights to Make Your House Merry and Bright

After you've decked your halls and your tree, it's time to take the holiday glow outside. We've rounded up the best sparkle and shine for your home's exterior.

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November 29, 2023

One of my family holiday traditions is to put on our pajamas, fill travel cups with hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights. My local moms' blog keeps a running list of the best streets and parks, so definitely do a search for "Christmas lights" in your area to see if someone has already compiled the most festive places in your hometown.

We love seeing how our neighbors and people around the city decorate, but of course, we also need to deck out our own home.

How to Choose Outdoor Christmas Lights

Start your outdoor Christmas light search by deciding whether you'll go with incandescent or LED lights. LEDs cost about twice as much as incandescent bulbs; however, they last two to three times longer. They also use 10 percent of the electricity that incandescents do — saving energy and producing less heat, which reduces the risk of fire.

When it comes to brightness, incandescents are a little brighter, but strings of LEDs usually have more bulbs per string, so they give off around the same amount of light. One more checkmark in the LED box is their construction. Made of lightweight plastic, LEDs are less likely to break than glass incandescent bulbs.

Outdoor Christmas Light Bulb Sizes

String lights come in a variety of bulb sizes, all of which are available as LED and incandescent. Mini lights — your quintessential Christmas tree lights — are the most popular. C6, C7 and C9 bulbs are strawberry-shaped and the most traditional of Christmas lights. They range in size from 3/4 inch to 1-1/4 inches in diameter.

Where to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

Hang your lights in the evening so that you can see the effect they make as you string them. Opt for bigger bulbs, such as C7 and C9, for your evergreen trees and space them about 12 inches. As a general rule of thumb, industry professionals suggest using around 100 lights per vertical foot.

When it comes to decorating your bushes, nets are the easiest and quickest way to add an instant glow. And don't forget about your deciduous trees. Wrap mini or rope lights around the bark, which is usually rough enough to hold the strings in place. If the lights start slipping, use strategically placed pushpins to hold them in place. Don't use nails or screws that could hurt the tree.

With all the joy our neighbors bring to our evenings with their stunning outdoor Christmas displays, let's add our own to the mix. Scroll through our dazzling picks to illuminate your home with plenty of Christmas cheer, and then learn the perfect way to hang all your outdoor lights.

The Best Outdoor Christmas LED Lights

$26.99 $18.99
Amazon

For use indoors or out, these white string lights create a classic glow. The 66-foot-long string hosts 200 LED bulbs, and you can choose from 12 different colors to best suit your decor. The green wire blends in seamlessly with tree branches, and the bulbs stay cool to the touch while shining bright.

$50 $32.99
Amazon

These Yuletime Christmas Lights from Amazon boast a 66-foot green wire with LED bulbs spaced every four inches. Back by a 4.5-star rating and rave reviews, the clear shell mimics the shape of traditional mini lights. Choose from 10 different hues, and watch your outdoors come to life for the holiday season.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Incandescent Lights

$3
Target

Illuminate your porch, around your front door and so much more with the Wondershop Incandescent Mini String Lights from Target. For just $3, you'll receive 21 feet of string lights boasting 100 mini bulbs. The lights can be used indoors, too, so grab a few boxes for your Christmas tree while you're at it.

$18.99
Amazon

These indoor-outdoor incandescent string lights come with 100 bulbs, two flasher bulbs, two extra bulbs and two replacement fuses, ensuring years of use and longevity. You can connect up to five sets of lights together to create the holiday display of your dreams.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Colored Lights

$35.99 $33.84
Amazon

Designed for both indoors and outdoors, these shatter-resistant multicolored lights come complete with 450 bulbs and a 25,000-hour promise. With more than 120 feet of lighted length, Sylvania's array of five shades delivers festive color to your outdoor display.

$9
Target

These C9 faceted bulbs bring a decidedly retro vibe to your holiday decor. Connect up to 90 sets to create an incredible outdoor display without having to find multiple outlets. Each strand is 16 feet in length, and the budget-friendly price tag is a plus when buying multiple sets.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Solar Lights

$36.99 (Pack of 2)
Amazon

Save on electricity, and use the power of the sun to charge your outdoor Christmas lights this year. The large solar converter charges quickly and gives you eight to 10 hours of festive glow in the evening. Select from eight different modes — constant to twinkling — to create the just-right look for your yard.

$24.99
Target

Let the sun add color to your outdoor holiday display with these solar-powered string lights. The 50 LED bulbs are energy-efficient and long-lasting. Plus, the built-in timer stores enough energy to illuminate the next day.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Net Lights

$24.99
Target

Tossing nets over your bushes is an immediate way to amp up your outdoor decorations. These heavy-duty nets measure four by eight feet, and nine sets can be connected together for a grand display of 1,800 bulbs.

$33.99
Amazon

From multicolor or traditional white to fun colors like blue or red and green, the Dazzle Bright Christmas Net Lights will bring a festive glow to your outdoor decorations. The net lights feature 360 LED bulbs and have eight different modes including twinkle, slow fade, chasing and more. Best of all? Both the wire and lights are waterproof, which means they're sure to continue shining brightly through rain and snow.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Icicle Lights

$19.99 $16.99
Amazon

These bright white icicle lights create a snowy winter scene on your roofline, hedges or fence. Connect up to three sets of the incandescent warm white bulbs, which are spaced out on varying lengths.

$21.99
Amazon

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. (Y'all are singing this in four-part "White Christmas" harmony with me, right?) These strands of snowflakes and icicles bring a sparkling effect to your porch or windows. The long-lasting LED lights feature 30 drops and 150 icicle lights, as well as eight twinkle modes.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Meteor Shower Lights

$15.99
Amazon

Create a winter wonderland with icicle lights that mimic the look of falling snow. The durable, waterproof design will hold up through winter's rain and snow. Hang the lights from your rooftop or in your trees for a completely enchanting aesthetic.

$21.99 $16.99
Amazon

Create a stunning light display that all your neighbors will be talking about with the Aluan Meteor Shower Rain Lights. Featuring 10 tubes of lights on one strand, these Christmas lights will give a nod to a meteor shower or falling snow and are both transparent and waterproof.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Pathway Lights

$30 (Set of 3)
Target

Illuminate your walkways with these LED Faux Birch Twig Lights by Wondershop from Target. Each 30-inch-tall twig can easily be placed into the ground thanks to stakes on the bottoms, and they boast a peaceful warm white hue when lit.

$31.99 (Set of 12)
Amazon

Dot your pathway with these festive candy cane pathway lights. Purchasers rave about their easy installation, and you can choose from 12-inch, 17-inch and 28-inch candy canes to best fit your outdoor space.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Decorating Lights

$99 $74
Pottery Barn

Create a true winter wonderland on your covered porch or balcony with these Snowball String Lights from Pottery Barn. The cascading strand boasts 248 resin snowball lights as well as hooks for easy installation. Want to step it up a notch? Pair the snowball lights with Pottery Barn's Curtain Rain String Lights for the ultimate display.

$17.99
Amazon

Colorful LED globe lights dress up any occasion, but especially the holidays. With 40 feet of cable and 100 bulbs, these lights have eight different modes, from slow fading to chasing and flashing.

$39.99
Amazon

Waterproof and ultra-versatile, these color-changing lights have 11 lighting modes and four brightness levels. No matter your lighting mood, use the included remote control to create the exact look you want.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Lighted Greenery

$67.28 $47.99
Amazon

Instead of a traditional wreath, deck your door with this pre-lit Christmas star wreath this year. Designed with glittery pine branches, the illuminated decoration is complete with pine cones and frosted branches.

$100.99 $50.99
Wayfair

Dress your front door with this lush faux garland. Bristle tips blend with pinecone accents for an elegant contrast of color and texture, while the 100 LED lights illuminate the garland for a whimsical look.

$139 $83.4
Ballard Designs

Jack Frost makes it hard to keep beautiful plants in your planters year-round, so we love these pine and cedar inserts that will last all winter long. The mix of greenery and pinecones is dotted with iced sprigs and warm twinkle lights.

The Best Outdoor Christmas Light Accessories

$29.98 (Pack of 100)
Amazon

Keep those C7 and C9 bulbs in place all season long with outdoor Christmas light clips. Utilize the clear plastic clips to hang bulbs horizontally on gutters or vertically on shingles for a Christmas light display that not only looks great but is also easy to install.

$12.85 $17.49
Amazon

Say goodbye to tangled Christmas lights forever with these wind-up cord holders. Each organizer can hold up to 200 mini lights or 100 feet of extension cord. A strong, sturdy handle makes winding up the cords a breeze.

$24.99 $15.99
Amazon

Control your outdoor light display from your smartphone with the Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug. The plug features two outlets, a waterproof splash and dirt cover, voice and app control, long WiFi range and can even be set to automatically turn your lights on and off.

$29.99
Amazon

Instantly repair a burned-out incandescent light bulb with the Light Keeper Pro. This handy tool quickly extracts the bulb and replaces it with a new one. It can also test your lights to make sure they work properly before climbing the ladder.

$29.99
Amazon

If your collection of holiday lights consists of LED strands, you'll want to opt for the LED Keeper, which works on LED holiday lights.

Handy Gadgets for Repairing, Storing and Hanging Holiday Lights
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