Decorative Lighting, Home Lighting

8 Easy Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Lighting

If you are feeling festive but are physically unable to decorate your home outdoors using traditional holiday lights—after all, even with the recent improvements they’ve made to string light sets, who wants to climb up a ladder to hang lights on the roof?—or are simply fed-up with hunting down and replacing burned out bulbs, there are some simple alternative decorating options to make your home look seasonally appropriate with half the effort.

Here are 8 of our favourite easy alternatives:

lighted wreath holiday lighting alternatives

1. A lighted wreath

A Christmas classic, winter greenery such as wreaths have been adorning doors and walls for hundreds of years. With pre-made and even pre-lit wreaths readily available for purchase, this is one of the simplest ways to add some festive flare to your home. If you don’t have a pre-lit wreath, simply add a string of lights—battery-powered preferred if it’s going on your door or outdoors—and hang your wreath on a nail or over-the-door hook.

battery operated string light in a jar holiday lighting alternatives

2. Battery operated lights in jars

An elegant and easy way to add ambience and a touch of cheer is by filling clear jars with battery-powered lights. This can easily be accomplished by saving glass jam and preserve jars, cleaning them out, and placing the lights inside. They can be placed anywhere your home needs some illumination, and they can be left out as long as you like since they aren’t overtly festive.

PRO TIP: To make them overtly festive, add a bit of tulle or gauze, a paper cut-out in the shape of a holiday pattern, season-specific decorative lights, or some colourful bows or ribbons to the jars.

hanging light balls in trees holiday lighting alternatives

3. Hanging light balls

Simple to hang along a curtain rod in the window, these illuminated balls are a great way to add a lot of illumination without relying on standard string lights. Two or three balls—or more if you’re starving for sparkle—are enough to perk up any window. They can also be layered in to pre-existing window displays or traditional string light set ups  for some added brightness.

string fairy lights in the window holiday lighting alternatives

4. String or rope lights around the window interior

Save yourself the effort of getting up on a ladder in the cold and rain by displaying your lights from your window interior instead. Simply install two or three hooks in the corners of the window frame and add the rope or string lights of your choosing.

PRO TIP: If you want to avoid adding nails or hooks, you can quickly stick up some Command strips. Just make sure you select ones with hooks large enough to hold the lights you’ve chosen.

light vase urn holiday lighting alternatives

5. Lighted urns and vases

Winter greenery in urns or pots is another classic holiday look. Add some outdoor-rated lights for a quick way to infuse even more festive fun. Or, to simplify it even further, add some greenery or Christmas decorations and lights to a vase or two and keep them in your window.

PRO TIP: Learn more about using battery-operated lights outdoors and outdoor-rated lights in our IP ratings guide.

red coloured bulb holiday lighting alternatives

6. Coloured light bulbs in your porch and post lamps

Depending on your lamp setup, switching out traditional white or clear bulbs with colourful alternatives can be a very easy way to participate in the seasonal festivities. Simply pick up a light bulb in a holiday-appropriate hue of your choosing and add them into your existing fixtures.

PRO TIP: If you have landscape lighting, such as a flood light illuminating a tree, feel free to extend the coloured light bulbs to these lamps as well!

fake candles holiday lighting alternatives

7. Fake candles in the window

If your windows have the space for it, adding candles is another way to deck the halls (and windows) of your home. Candles in the window is a traditional look and there are many fake candle options to create the look you want, from classic taper-style with visible candle bulbs to LED candles with programmable colour options for an extra touch of holiday spirit.

yard decorations holiday lighting alternatives

8. Pre-lit yard decorations

Whether it is a classic plastic Frosty the Snowman or Santa figure illuminated with a bulb, or a rope light wrapped around metal wire shaped into festive objects—reindeer, snowflakes, etc.—pre-lit yard decorations are quick and easy to set up on your park, yard, or in your garden. Simply place them in the desired location and plug them in!


If you’ve been avoiding adding holiday decorations to your yard because of how difficult they can be to set up, don’t worry—there are some simple ways to add festive decorations without the hassle. Choose low-effort options wherever possible and stick to simple solutions such as:

  1. Lighted wreaths
  2. Battery-operated lights in jars
  3. Hanging light balls
  4. String or rope lights indoors instead of on the roof
  5. String lights in urns and vases
  6. Coloured light bulbs in porch lights and lamp posts
  7. Fake candles in the window
  8. Pre-lit yard decorations

Need more help putting up your holiday lights? Check out our step-by-step guide to outdoor holiday lights.


About Nicky Walker

Nicola is a lighting specialist at The Lightbulb Company with a keen awareness of the important role lighting plays in our everyday lives. She enjoys discovering new ways in which lighting can affect science, mental health and of course, most of all, reduce our carbon footprints.