- Holidays and Celebrations
Outdoor Christmas Lighting for Your Home -- Control with Your Smartphone
Outdoor holiday lights have long been a part of the tradition of Christmas holidays.
Once the Thanksgiving holidays are over can Christmas be far behind?
Create a warm and welcoming outdoor Christmas lighting scene for your home.
The tradition of outdoor Christmas lighting
Early Christians who were being persecuted would place a candle in a window as a signal that a Christian worship service was being held. The tradition of Christmas candles on indoor evergreen trees became popular in Germany in the 1800s.
After the electric lamp was invented it wasn't long before candles on Christmas trees were replaced with electric lights. Eward H Johnson, VP of Edison Electric Light Company, first displayed electric lights on a Christmas tree in his Fifth Avenue home in New York in 1882.
In the early 1900s electric lights appeared out-of-doors in several cities. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree first used strings of electric lights in 1956 and by that time strings of lights made for the outside were being used all across America to decorate outside Christmas trees.
Drive around in your community just before Christmas and enjoy the great variety of different approaches to outdoor Christmas lighting.
Today outdoor holiday lights are used in all kinds of displays -- from simple, inexpensive displays to elaborate garish presentations to lighting in public spaces and buildings.
Outdoor holiday lighting in shrubs and trees
With several strings of colored lights well placed on plants and shrubs in front of a house, the home presents a warm welcoming appearance.
Or use sparkling all-white lights. They seem to glisten as falling snowflakes giving a cool wintry holiday feeling.
Lighting your trees can be yet another opportunity for festive holiday lighting. Strings of tiny white lights wrapped around branches of deciduous trees give the feeling of glistening wet snow accentuating the tree's branch structure.
New laser-based spotlight devices can make your trees seem to come alive with thousands of tiny lights even the highest branches.
Holiday lights outlining a home's architectural features
Some folks like to outline windows and doors -- or corner-lines and roof-lines. Sometimes colored lights are used -- blue lights create an almost surreal appearance. White lights create a wintry scene.
Sparkling lights make animal displays come alive
Santa's reindeer, does and fawns appear to come alive outlined in sparking white lights. Some lighted reindeer appear to come alive with moving heads.
Spotlights to highlight Outdoor Christmas decorations
Rather that use strings of lights, other homes use spotlights to highlight home entrances decorated with Christmas wreaths and other holiday features, including The Nativity Scene.
Easy home automation Christmas Lights remote control from your smartphone
You can easily add outdoor Christmas lights to your INSTEON home automation network using the INSTEON Outdoor Plug-In On-Off Appliance Module.
Its made for outdoor use, so plug it into a protected outdoor wall outlet and plug a rugged outdoor extension cord to your Christmas lights display. Once you link it up to a web-enabled central controller you can switch your home lights -- including your Christmas display -- on and off from anywhere with your Smartphone .
Smarthome 2456S3E ApplianceLinc INSTEON Outdoor Plug-In On/Off Module
Plug your lights into this INSTEON outdoor on/off module and control them from anywhere with your Smartphone, pad or computer using the INSTEON Hub described below.
Mr. Christmas -- Lights and Sounds of Christmas -- Outoor
Create your own magical wonderland by synchronizing outdoor lights and music. With six outlets you can choreograph your holiday display to 20 holiday songs.
I use this setup to control outdoor Christmas lights on my front porch during the winter holiday season. I use the same system to control my outdoor garden fountain during the spring, summer and fall.
In addition to the outdoor on/off module for your Christmas display, you will need an INSTEON Hub that receives commands from your Smartphone and sends them to your responder (on/off module). I suggest this Starter kit that includes an INSTEON Hub and two lamp dimmers.
You can use the lamp dimmers to control Christmas trees or other decorations inside your home.
Set your Christmas lights on timers
Once you have set up your INSTEON system in the manner described above, you can establish outdoor "scenes" that automatically turn on at the time you want and turn off when you want. You can even set them to turn on at sunset and turn off later in the evening at a specific time. There's more -- you can specifiy which days in the week you would like your lighting "scenes" to be on.
I found my INSTEON setup to be reliable, flexible, convenient and fun!
Even if I'm two hours away from my home I can check to see if my lights are on, I can edit the on or off times -- with just a few taps on my Smartphone. Amazing!
Outdoor holiday lights and sound synchronized displays
Some homes have even created magical sound -light displays that are almost like miniature Christmas light shows.
This is made easy with the all-in-one Mr. Christmas Lights and Sounds of Christmas.
If you are a little creative you can connect it to an FM iPod transmitter so that people nearby can tune in on their car radios. That way you're not disturbing neighbors with sounds that they may not want to hear.
Use solar or battery-powered outdoor Christmas lights
You no longer are limited to an extension cord to power outside holiday lights. If you do not want to install an INSTEON setup, LED lights use very little energy and strings of lights can now be powered by a small solar panel. The solar panel produces electricity during the day and stores it in a battery.
Lights come at dusk and last until the battery runs down -- usually six hours or so. Then the cycle is repeated the next day