Musical Christmas Lights: Setting Up a Rockin' Holiday

Image of a house decorated with Christmas lights
Set your outdoor lights to music!

Set up a musical Christmas lights display to wow your family, friends and neighbors.

Music Lights Up the Season

While many people have outdoor Christmas lights in their front yard or outlining their roofs, some have taken the art of holiday decorating to a whole new level. One of the most famous musical light displays in recent history was that of Carson Williams, an Ohio resident made famous when a video of his home's light display to Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizard in Winter track circulated via email.

Though Williams no longer does his display at home, plenty of other people have followed his example, like Robert DeLauro and Frank Cianflone in Brooklyn. More musical light displays can be found on video hosting websites and often will be forwarded through email during the Christmas season.

How to Make a Musical Christmas Lights Display

Computer savvy individuals often built their own hardware, wiring the lights and music together. The popularity of these displays has caught on with Christmas decoration and lighting companies, who market entire systems to people who want to make a display without doing the wiring themselves.

Do It Yourselfers

The tech-minded person with a bit of time can create his or her own system for a musical lighting display. One website to check out is Light-O-Rama which offers plenty of support guides for setting up a computerized lighting system using their products. The products range from information for do-it-yourselfers to simple systems for a newbie to lighting displays. You can also choose to use a musical sequencer that will work with a specified song which you must purchase separately.

Individuals who do animated displays often post instructions on their blogs or websites. Try building your own on a smaller scale using the instructions for smart bulbs.

Ready Built Systems

Often called "plug and play" systems, these systems offer you the ability to create a musical lighting extravaganza with little to no effort on your part. Prices can vary widely, depending on your needs.

Christmas In A Box offers large scale systems with plenty of amp choices for setting up your display. The Lights and Sounds of Christmas has 20 songs and six outlets for use.

Light Display Considerations

Before you start building your musical Christmas lights display, you want to consider a few things:

  • Time: Building your own controller will take a lot of time, as can setting up and taking down the multiple lights.
  • Cost: Electricity bills might run into the hundreds (or more), depending on your display. Talk to your local company to get an estimate.
  • Legalities: Light and noise ordinances must be followed, and tying up traffic can be considered a public nuisance. Check with your local police and city managers to find out rules in your town.
  • Neighbors: Not everyone appreciates a house that can light up the entire neighborhood at ten o'clock at night. Be prepared for some negative feedback, or clear it with the block before beginning your project.

A musical lighting display is a great way to celebrate the arrival of the holiday season. Consider all of the ramifications of creating a Christmas lights musical display before you put too much time and money into the project.

Small Scale Musical Lights

You do not have to become a computer guru or spend hundreds of hours wiring your home for a musical holiday light experience. Instead, purchase some lights that feature music on a smaller scale, like a strand for a Christmas tree.

Small lighting displays with Christmas carols include:

Musical Christmas lights let you enjoy both the sights and sounds of holiday festivities in the comfort of your own home and yard.

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Musical Christmas Lights: Setting Up a Rockin' Holiday