Five Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights

From November through January, holiday-happy people display Christmas lights everywhere. During the rest of the year, though, these strands of miniature lights usually sit unused, waddled up in boxes just waiting for winter again. But thanks to their softer glow and their linear orientation, Christmas lights can serve practical purposes year-round. Here are just five alternative, creative uses to consider.

Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights: Kitsch in the Kitchen
If there’s a space between your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling (as is often the case in many houses and apartments), simply rest the string of lights on top of the cabinets, spreading them out loosely. Then, run the cord down a corner or another unobtrusive place to an outlet. The mild reflection off the ceiling and wall will give the kitchen a pleasant, not harsh, light for those midnight snacks.

Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights: The Poltergeist Effect
If your closet doesn’t have a light fixture but is located near an electrical outlet, a string of Christmas lights is a cheap, easy way to brighten the space. You can run the lights up the wall of the closet or even just loop them up (like a hose) and hang them on a nail or hook. The idea is to get some extra lighting in the space – not necessarily to win a design award. Just don’t shut the door with the lights on.

Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights: A New Desktop Solution?
Spend a lot of time at a computer desk at night? If you don’t like bright desk lamps but also don’t want the monitor to be your only light, the soft glow from a string of Christmas lights can provide a solution. For a hutch-style desk, attach a string of white Christmas lights to the bottom of any overhang so that the strand is hidden but the soft light reflects downward to your workspace.

Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights: Itty Bitty Booklight, My Version
Thread Christmas lights through the back of a bookshelf. This works best when the bookshelf is open-backed or when the shelves can be pulled forward just enough to fit the lightstring through without holes. The exact method or modifications you employ will depend on the bookshelf itself, but the end result should be similar: an interesting backlit effect with the string hidden behind the books, movies, and other media.

Year-Round Uses for Christmas Lights: Summer Strands
Since Christmas lights are almost univerally meant for indoor and outdoor use, they’re as practical for summertime patio decorations as they are for snow-covered trees. String them up on a deck or even an unused clothesline as a cheap way to create a carnival atmosphere. Colored lights are most festive, of course. (And I admit, this idea isn’t necessarily “year-round” unless you live in, say, Arizona.)

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