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Henley Home and Garden Show, Decoration, Home

Christmas Lights… do they work?


Christmas lights

We could spend the entire year living under a solitary dangling pendant but when it comes to December, lighting becomes a whole different story. How do you light your home for the Yuletide?

Human need

We are attracted to light. We will walk to the lightest part of the room intuitively, be it a window or a fabulous chandelier. It touches us somehow, supporting us, making us feel spiritual, pensive, romantic, celebratory or simply warm and cosy. And, at Christmas, we tend to want to feel all of these emotions.

Indoor lighting choices

Beautiful candles standing dutifully, tealight clusters bring flickering patterns to walls, fairy lights to draw out shapes in the porch, a star, a heart or perhaps – less stylishly but more Christmassy – an arrow to show Father Christmas and Rudolph where they must land to bring the children their myriad of presents.

Rope lights strewn effortlessly across the floor add low-level interest. This is safe until the moment they are covered with Christmas presents bringing a risk of smouldering. (Sorry to now ruin the feelgood vibes with such practical warnings!)

Outdoor lighting options

Outdoor lighting can have a transformational effect on your home and is certainly not limited to icicles and snowflake designs. A well-chosen lantern for the porch will always provide a much-needed greeting at the end of a day’s work. Contemporary wall lights that pick out feature stone or house numbers add to the outdoor décor. If you are lucky enough to have them, then picking out niches, columns or other architectural features is almost mandatory to celebrate the façade of your home. But if you’re not so lucky, then a choice shrub or tree can be lit instead to highlight your good taste.

Kitchen & dining room

A decorated kitchen is only for those who have too much time on their hands unless, of course, it’s also the dining room where festoonery is all but obligatory. Candelabras, mirrored sconces, mantelpieces adorned with nature’s own, a centrepiece for the table and, in fact, a new chandelier is not entirely out of the question.

Practical consideration might be given to the sheer volume of guests that are to be housed (and whether an abundance of wires is an issue). Also heights of table decorations must also be in proportion with those who are sitting opposite one another. Grandma might not be the best conversationalist, but the ivy-wrapped cathedral candle will have less to say, I’m sure.


The bathroom is not the immediate choice of room to decorate at this festive time, but candles in clusters (especially the scented variety) bring about a romantic atmosphere…


 Leave the children to decorate their bedrooms and be left with the joys of peeling sellotape from the ceiling for most of January. But it makes them happy, and who knows what thoughts dance through their heads as they go to sleep at night snuggled up to the tinsel that refuses to stay stuck to the walls.

“Some day perhaps the inner light will shine forth from us, and then we’ll need no other light.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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