The Impossible Choice: White versus Colorful Christmas Lights
White lights versus colorful lights—a hotly debated choice among Christmas decorators. White lights bring a classy, crisp, and clean look to your décor. You’re more likely to see them used outside of the holiday season, with white lights being stuffed into mason jars to create a glowing centerpiece and hung outside at bars and restaurants to provide some ambiance. College dorm rooms are often strung with white ‘fairy’ lights throughout the year, making those cold cinderblock walls feel a little more like home.
When Christmas comes around, while white lights may be considered dull by some, they’re the clear winner among minimalists and those who want their homes to be as Instagrammable as possible. Multi-colored lights come with their own loyal following, with that classic festive look to spark holiday cheer. So, how do you choose between two great options…or do you even have to? Let’s talk about it!
If you decide to go the white light route, you have some more decisions to make. White lights range from soft to bright and have different effects on the overall ambience of your holiday décor. Warm white Christmas lights make for a cozy environment, while bright white LEDs (which use less energy) are sharper. For something in the middle, go for warm LED Christmas lights which have the benefit of using less energy while also emitting a warm glow.
For those that like the overall versatility of white lights, there’s nothing stopping you from adding color to your home through other means. You can add color to your Christmas tree with everything from ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, and tree toppers to the gifts lying underneath.
Here are just a few other ways to decorate with white lights:
- Display photos by clipping them to white lights with clothes pins for a memorable display.
- Spell out a message with lights on special days. Write “LOVE” on Valentine’s Day or “Happy Birthday” for someone special. It’s sure to impress.
- Create a bright display in your fireplace by bunching up white string lights. Add elements like LED candles for a beautiful glowing feature, even in a nonfunctional fireplace.
- Add some sparkle to a kid or teenager’s bedroom by hanging white fairy lights.
- Create a light feature by stringing white lights around a metal frame or putting them in an empty wine bottle or mason jar.
- Elevate your outdoor setup but hanging white lights in your backyard, porch, or gazebo.
If you consider the multitude of ways to decorate with white lights year-round, you can make a case that white lights are a more worthwhile investment than their colorful counterparts.
On the other hand, colorful lights are a favorite for those with childhood nostalgia. They feel more playful and more specific to Christmas, so while they may not be as multi-functional as white lights, they also feel more special to pull out of storage come December. The famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree is annually lit up with around 50,000 multi-colored LED lights which must mean something! Multi-colored lights scream, ‘Just go for it!’ They pair well with homemade ornaments and no rules—and we mean that in the best way.
Multi-colored lights have a special place in history, as they were the first ever Christmas lights. According to Smithsonian Magazine, when the tradition of the Christmas tree was popularized by Prince Albert (husband of Britain’s Queen Victoria) in the mid-1800s, it was common to decorate the Christmas tree with candles. As you can imagine, fire + tree = disaster. It was Edward Hibberd Johnson, a partner and patron of Thomas Edison, who in 1882 first strung together some colorful lights and started the tradition of Christmas lights. So, you could say that by choosing multi-colored lights, you’re keeping it old school.
Why do you have to choose at all?
Of course, the big decision of white versus colorful Christmas lights doesn’t end with the tree. Many people hang lights throughout their home, and no holiday decorating kick would be complete without a proper outdoor light display. Outdoor lights are arguably more important than any other decoration because they are on exhibition for the entire neighborhood to see. They are also difficult to install, so you want to be sure about your decision on color, placement, shape, and type of light.
Permanent outdoor holiday lights are a popular choice for avid decorators who appreciate a good investment. With permanent lights, you never have to install Christmas lights again. You can install them DIY-style or have the professionals take care of it. Either way—it’s a one and done operation.
Permanent outdoor lights are virtually invisible during the day and light up beautifully from the press of a button at night. The upfront cost of permanent lights is more than the average string of LEDs, but permanent displays use professionally-quality lights that last for many years. It’s an investment that pays off in the long run and saves you back-breaking, frustrating work on a yearly basis.
The best part? You don’t necessarily have to choose between a white and multi-colored display. For example, EverLights offers color-changing bundles, meaning you not only have the option to choose between white and multi-colored, but you can illuminate your home with any color you can think of!