Tuesday, December 23, 2008

White vs Multi-Colored (Lights that is!)

I have a theory about white lights versus multi-colored lights at Christmastime. If you watch HGTV, you will find it seems there is a big debate concerning white vs multi-colored and I think I need to add my two cents into the debate.

You see this is a very serious issue here. Which is best? White or multi-colored? If you decide the answer lies in which type of Christmas lights is sold the most, then I think white lights would win hands down-in the south. But still there are die hard fans of multi-colored lights-even in the south.

I am going to settle the debate right here and now and hopefully make everyone happy. Now keep in mind, I am not a statistician and will not endeavor to prove my theory about white versus colored lights. Once I lay out my theory though, it will be a hands down contender for a large grant from some government entity as part of a pork barrel spending bill. You mark my words. I just need the funding to perform the research in order to prove my theory-just wait and see.

My theory is that since northerners usually have lots of white snow for Christmas, snow that comes and stays for three or four months, they long for color-bright and strong colors. They don't want anymore white since they have so much snow, so they definitely don't want white lights!

Southerners, oh yes, those dear southerners, they almost never have a white Christmas so they try to compensate for not having snow by dressing up their houses with white lights. I guess the white lights are supposed to give the illusion of snow in the winter. Make sense? Yes, of course it does.

What do you all think about white versus multi-colored lights? I bet there are some very strong opinions out there. In fact, I KNOW there are some very strong opinions out there on decorating one's home for Christmas, the color of lights is an important consideration in the whole matter.

For the record, I think any house decorated for Christmas is a nice thing. If the house is lighted at night-all the better. Me being a northerner and hubby being a southerner, I will let you guess as to whether colored or white lights decorate our home. I'm not telling.

in the garden....

This is one of my favorite posts since I am a transplanted northerner now living in the south. Trust me when I tell you some folks REALLY, REALLY take their Christmas light decorating seriously.
I already posted this subject last December, and I think this post will become a yearly tradition here.

This post also ties in with the survey concerning the color of Christmas lights on the sidebar. Do make a vote if you haven't already. The votes are all ANONYMOUS. It is just for fun and as I said in my post, it is not like I am a statistician or anything so you can draw your own conclusions with no trouble.

And one more note, I know white goes with anything and perhaps, just perhaps that is why it is so popular. I'm not giving up on my theory yet though:) Feel free to voice your opinions-they all count in the study!

in the garden....again.


  1. Hi Tina, I couldn't see the comments for some reason, will check back later. This is a great post, I don't remember it, of course that means nothing, but love and agree with your opinion about the snow and white lights. Makes sense to me. I used to be white only, thought the multi gaudy, but have changed my tune after seeing the delight in grandkids eyes at the multi colors. Now I mix them up. :-)

  2. Good morning Frances, I am being fickle this morning and could not really decide if I wanted the comments to stay or not. I took them off as I was not sure how they would all feel. The comments were of a nice conversation between my mother, sister, and Skeeter about Christmas stuff and Gingerbread houses and candy wreaths.

    Anyhow, thanks for your very insightful view on the colored lights. That might be the deal-gaudy. But oh boy aren't they pretty as the grandkids know. Mixing it up is a perfect compromise!

  3. Tina,

    Your hypothesis is unique and therefore worthy of a government grant to prove the statistical significance of your research.

    When you receive your grant money, should you need a computer programmer, let me know.

    There was a saying we had when I was a programmer for some research studies:

    "We know it's true because we made it up." :-)


    P.S. I'm a Southerner, and I agree, white lights.

  4. Tina,

    When I was a kid in Missouri everyone had multi colored lights... I haven't a nineteen-fifties southern experience to compare it to! Did the big bulbs ever come any other way but multi? Both are lovely but I do think that some houses look best with just white bulbs! Trees look spectacular wrapped in the tiny fairy bulbs that are used now. Fun post!


  5. Tina .. I think you are spot on girl !! We northerners want to see COLOUR !! .. but a new twist happened for me .. I saw a home with all red lights .. and I loved it on their trees especially .. now what that may mean is beyond humour .. I am a red light gal ??? LOL
    Merry Christmas and a VERY happy New Year Tina & crew : )

  6. Sounds like a good theory! Although there isn't a spot on your poll for "Hasn't Gotten Around to Lighting The House Yet!"

  7. Cameron, Love your comment and don't worry, when that day happens you'll be my top choice for a computer programmer! Thanks!

    Gail, Very good question on the big bulbs-my favorite btw. I don't know if they came any other way than colored. Would be interesting to know and I can say I don't think I've ever seen them in just white. And you are right about the 50s as I believe that is when the colored lights came into vogue. Now it seems to be white. Wonder if we'll be around to see all colored lights and few whites?

    GardenJoy4Me, Spot on huh? I just need to write my grant request now then huh? I don't know if you are a red light gal or not, but I do like the single colored lights other than white that some folks are switching too. I bet the red light house was beautiful and different! You have a very Merry Christmas too!

    Dave, You don't have to light the house to vote. If you did decorate it what would it be? You are originally a northerner if I can recall correctly so I have to bet you like the colored lights. Right?

  8. I would say that is true. I am southern and like white lights. Altho I have never been up north at Christmas time so I have no clue what they use. I will take your word for it. I did go thru a period when I liked colored buy only one color at a time.

  9. Tina --I think you have a great theory on this. I do prefer colored lights over white --now it might have something to do with both of us being transplants from the north, hahaah. Hubby is a colored lights kind of guy too --and the kiddos prefer colored over white anyday --I just thought that was a natural kiddo thing. Off to do some laundry --have a great day! Ciao

  10. We argue about the lights issue every year. At least daughter and I do. She favors the colored ones, and I like the white. This year we mixed blue and white outside. Daughter said it reminds her of K-Mart's blue light specials! Lest you think I'm tacky, they are not flashing. ;>)

  11. Tina, For many years now, I have been a "white light" person. I don't know why; I guess they just look a little classier to me. But I've seen homes with blue lights around their roofs, and I love it! I think I'll go looking for blue lights on sale after Christmas. (A blue light special??)

    I certainly think your study merits a grant; I bet you would even do it for much less than most government studies:)

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  12. I like both and I like the ole fashioned big lights.

  13. To be honest I prefer the white myself but when my boys were small we always had the colored lights for them. :) Now our outside lights are white but the tree still has the multi-colored bulbs.

  14. Tina, I'm from the north and grew up with colored lights, always. My mom had red bells with lights in them along the top of the garage, and over the front porch. So it was colored plus red. I loved it. I got the bells when I got married and used them for years but with age they no longer could be used. Then I put red bulbs in my window candlelights...until white seemed to be what everyone in my neighborhood was using. For several years I've used only white. Well guess what! I'm going around the house right now and exchanging red bulbs for all the white ones in those window candlelights! It's gonna be pretty, oh yes!! Thanks so much for bringing this up. I believe in individuality & I'm not gonna conform any more!!!! Merry Christmas!!! Jan

  15. I have always like the multi lights but not because I have too much white with the snow but because they sparkle and show thru the snow better. The white just blends in with the snow. Not that the snow should enter into it as here on the Maine coast we do not have many white Christmases anymore. This year we do and oh how it adds to the spirit. Also, Gail has a good point. Years ago, the only outdoor lights were the big ones and I think they did only come in multi. If you wanted just one color you had to buy them and replace all the other colors. We have one house in town that does inside and out all with blue and it is pretty but I still like the multi but do use white across the front of the house. Then I also have 3 sprial trees that are all green and then 1 that is multi. So I guess I have strayed from my path of all multi to a mix.

  16. I like the white. But that's probably because I've not seen many, if any, white Christmases! I put ornaments on the holly trees, but for some reason I've never put lights on my house. I don't know why. I guess I haven't had any husbands anxious for the endeavor, and I wouldn't do it by myself! (Probably just laziness!)

  17. That's a great theory! I like white and my husband likes colo(u)red, so we end up with both on our tree. The ones outside the house are just white - but now that you mention it, so is the view, with all the snow out there. But the snow is still such a novelty (only our second Canadian Christmas) that I'm not tired of it yet!!

  18. The colorless lights are overwhelmingly more popular here in northern IL. I see it as understated elegance vs bold and beautiful. I like both equally and I'm really glad I don't have to choose--I can have both.
    Merry Christmas

  19. Sarah, Very interesting! Merry Christmas to you and the family!

    Anonymous, I remember you read the first post and liked the theory. Glad to hear at least someone fits the bill. I may have to re-work it though as there are so many different reasons for liking the lights that people do.

    W2W, Hey-bring back the blue light specials anyday! I am one who still kind of enjoys Kmart every other year or so. No just kidding, a bit more often. Blue is fairly popular now a days. Good deal on the compromise. Merry Christmas to you all too!

    Rose, I have noticed lots of blue lights around as well. Even some red. If I decorated in one color, it would have to be green all around here. Not good for Christmas but mighty good for a gardener. And no on my study costs, hate to say it but I would milk it for all its worth. Sorry! But you know a Christmas light study would at least help the economy-businesses for sure would like the info and even pay for it. Heck, they may already. This kind of study would have to beat the usefulness of the mating habits of something like extinct worms wouldn't it?

    Dawn, Multi or white?? I am thinking multi.

    Racquel, You have the best of both worlds. And you bring up a good point Frances pointed out on how the kids like the multi so much more.

    Jan, You're my kind of gal-gotta be a bit different! I love the candles with red lights in them. Before you know everyone else will do it too. I know it will be VERY pretty!

    Mom, That is so true about the multi showing up with the snow so well. I did not realize you used white lights outside. Still multi on the Christmas tree?

    Brenda, Spoken like a true southerner. White is nice when no snow is around. I also think outdoor lights fall under the man's realm. I am not sure if I'd do it either. Congrats again on the arrival of your new granddaughter.

    Amanda, Thanks for dropping by. And only your second Christmas in Canada. I think you'll get pretty used to having white Christmases from here on out. Great you and hubby compromise! Merry Christmas to you!

    Marnie, Another wise person who chooses them both. Looking at the survey it seems white are the overwhelmingly popular choice, however, the mixed decorating is quickly gaining and even equal with multi colored lights. You have a very Merry Christmas!

  20. Tee hee - what a great post!

    I've just voted for multi-coloured. Anything to brighten the British gloom.

    Until this year, I'd say that most people around here went for tasteful white, but this year's fashion seems to be blue LED lights!

  21. LOL! A true northern girl here, surrounded by snow, who has a very strong preference for white lights!


  22. Not the right person to comment here but your post and the comments are very interesting.

    Wish you, Dawn, Skeeter, Lola & your entire families a wonderful Christmas!!

  23. Great photos! Wish you a merry Christmas

  24. I think you're spot on with your analysis Ms. Tina. Having lived here in the northeast some 20 odd years now, I still pine for a gray Christmas, just like the ones I used to know in Kentucky.

    Give me colored lights, take the white ones with the snow,
    far away from my mistletoe!

  25. Tina - I'm a northerner and prefer white lights. But here's another variation - I love the energy-hogging warm white lights. Some of the neighbors have white LED's strung around their home, and the cool light makes me shiver (either that or the 5 degree weather, can't tell). I know I should love the energy-savers, maybe they'll grow on me! Regards, VW

  26. VP, You are helping to bolster my theory-yeah! I think the bright lights do it, though I do like those new LED ones too-in white of all things:)

    Amy, You are the northerner who so definitely makes me rethink the theory. So glad I got all these opinions as they do open my eyes.

    Kanak, Thank you so much and we wish you a very great bunch of holidays too! I have a question though, do people decorate the outside of their homes in India for the holidays-any holiday? I remember the candle ceremony and ceremony of lights-any more?

    T. Pettinger, Happy Holidays to you too!

    TC, You are so funny! Yup, being that you are probably knee deep in snow don't those multi lights just brighten the nights? Stay warm my friend.

    VW, Hi there and welcome! I have to agree with you on the LED. They are so different! But I am kind of liking them. I recently purchased some white ones to light up my newest redneck bottle tree, and they are so different-a bit chilly is an apt description. I bet they'll grow on you-they are supposed to light up like 25000 hours! That's a long time. A very Merry Christmas to you.

  27. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Tina! Love 'em both! White and colored are lovely in their own way. I have them mixed outside. Peace!

  28. What a good theory. Having been a notherner all my life I have to say that I really like colored lights, especially the ones that have those fancy chasing patterns. Being a perfectionist though I have diffuculty with putting the colored lights up outside. The sun fades the bulbs (hey, it's WAY too cold out there to take the lights down in January!) and they end up being white anyway. PLUS the fact that it's hard to replace the burnt out bulb with just the right color, sometimes they don't even sell all of the colors as replacements. Okay, how many people try to keep the pattern intact anyway? I'd have to say probably no one but me! LOL.

    Getting around to the point of my rambling, I'd have to say that I appreciate all colors of lights. I have clear, multi-colored, solid green, and solid gold in my boxes. I never seem to get motivated enough to display them all in any one given year, but I do use them all.

  29. Good Evening All,
    First I want to wish ALL, who blog or comment, a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.
    As for the lights I like the colored ones but have a few of the white ones. We have the old fashioned big bulbs on the roof line. Blow-ups are another big thing with Young'un. This yr. he has not felt up to par so he didn't get all of it out for display. Usually he has them even in the back yard. The front of the shed has colored lights on the roof line. All in all, when he gets done, it is a colorful, bright
    display. Quite a few people drive by just to look at the lights. My tree has multi also. Either way I think it's pretty this time of the yr.

  30. I am Southern, but prefer the colored lights. I think this is because I grew up in the suburbs of Richmond where all of the housing developments tried to look like colonial Williamsburg. Everyone tastefully decorated their house at Christmas with white candles in the window and a simple green wreath on the door. Each house was nearly identicle, it was boring and stifling. There were people who used colored lights and boy did they stand out among all the plainer houses. These people were talked about, and it was assumed the must have been from somewhere else. I liked these colorful houses, to me they said CELEBRATE.

  31. Interesting theory. I live in Northern California so a white Christmas is never going to happen for me but I still strongly prefer colored lights - much more exciting at night. However, I wouldn't dream of putting anything but white fairy lights on the tree, so go figure.

  32. I'd say I like both but in terms of color I would prefer 2-3 complimentary colors together or just one color. Even though red & green are the Christmas colors I don't really like them together either.

    I think if I put up lights I would prefer all sky blue as my first pick.

  33. Whatever the reason, I like white lights. We had colored lights when I was young. White lights have been favored for many years now but I see a trend of returning to colored.

  34. hello, well, we try to save energy and bought solar christmas lights over here in Germany. :-) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Andrea

  35. Layanee, You too!

    Cinj, Now there is an issue I did not think of with the fading. You're right about those patterns too.

    Lola, Thanks! And you have a very Merry Christmas!

    Les, Very interesting info about Colonial Williamsburg and their white lights. It is good to be different every now and then and I do bet those folks with multi lights stuck out! I say go them! have a very Merry Christmas.

    Susan (Garden Chick), Welcome! I can't figure it out with the multi on the house and the white on the tree at all. But that is fine for sure. I was wondering how Cali liked to decorate their homes. Sounds like a mix. You have a very Merry Christmas.

    Dan, I can see folks switching to the all blue in the future-you'd be a trendsetter. Merry Christmas to you!

    Donna, Trends surely do change, and I think once the trend switches to multi I'd have to go with something different. lol Merry Christmas to you.

    Andrea, Merry Christmas to my German blogging friends!

  36. Interesting theory, Tina! I do believe you've nailed it... i love white lights the best, although after that i like single color. Never cared much for the multi color although i do have two small pre-lighted trees that i put next to the fireplace, and they have multi lights...

    Merry Christmas to you!!

  37. Thanks Anne! You are bolstering my self confidence with this little theory. I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas too.

  38. Hi Tina,
    I started out counting white vs. colored lights on the houses on our way home from Larry's sisters' last night. I was using my right hand for the whites, my left for the multi-colored, and counting the ones that had both out loud. Well, I ran out of fingers, and didn't think to start over. I did decide that there were about equal amounts of whites and colored ones, but there were about twice as many who used both! Hmm. I guess our state of Nebraska is not as north as some.

  39. Very interesting Sue! I bet Nebraska is a beautiful place-all throughout the year.

  40. Tina, they did have other colors for the big bulbs in the past... I still have some strings of solid clear. The neighbor across the street from my grandmother always had blue almost purple looking egg shaped likes on his house from the 60's! I remember Red, Green solid colors also and even white not clear....

  41. Great post Tina!!! I like both white & colored lights even tho I seem to be only decorating with white lights the past few years. I love the big multi colored lights for outside. I think any kind of light is festive and pretty (especially when there's snow on the ground)!!

  42. Skeeter, I think the white kind of big lights would be cool too. Not sure about the purple eggs though.

    Kathleen, You are SO right, any kind of light is very nice when decorating one's home. And I must not forget, one's tastes change-even mine at times.