Charles Walton

Five bright ideas for decking your halls in unexpected ways. 

Dress up a Glass Container
An oversized mason jar, an old wine bottle, or even a funky vintage terrarium can become the perfect vessel for a bundle of twinkle lights. Rather than going the drill-and-safety goggles route, pick up a pack of battery-powered LED string lights, available at most home improvement or craft supply stores. (These often feature miniature bulbs and a range of color options—ideal for a project like this.) Loosely wrap each strand around your fist and then feed the lights inside the container. Be sure to arrange them so that the battery pack is at the bottom of the jar.

Create a Sparkling Centerpiece
A good hostess knows that lighting can make or break a dinner party. Consider incorporating a little glitz to your holiday table—while also adding to the room’s cozy ambiance—with a string of white or colorful lights woven down the center of the table.

Design a Well-Lit Arrangement
For larger spaces in need of Christmas décor, consider this budget-friendly option: Go outside and gather several midsized, leafless tree branches, making sure each branch is about the length of your arm from shoulder to fingertips. Using short strands of battery-powered LED twinkle lights, wrap each branch tightly, working your way from the top and making sure the battery pack ends at the base. Arrange the lit branches in a sturdy vase, vintage milk can, or oversized basket.

DIY a Fun Marquee
Holiday-themed marquees can add a lot of cheer when hung over a bar or mantel. First, pick up a set of oversized papier–mâché letters at your local craft store (or order them individually on Amazon), spelling a favorite holiday word. Then, using sharp knife, cut small x-shaped holes down the center of each letter, spacing each hole about 2-4 inches apart (spacing depending on the size of your twinkle lights). Finally, moving left to right, poke individual lights through each hole from the back.

Wrap Up a Wreath
…. or a mailbox, or a doorway, or a framed mirror over your mantel. A string of battery-powered LED twinkle lights can dress up just about any fixture inside or outside in your home—regardless of proximity to a power outlet. Add one or more strands to an area that needs a little Christmas spirit.