Carter Oosterhouse, co-host of ABC's Christmas Light Fight, and his wife, actress Amy Smart, don't mess around with holiday decor. One area they're particularly big on? Lighting. It's hardly shocking given that Carter has hosted a show about holiday lighting for nearly a decade, and these two have learned more than a few tips on how to maximize the seasonal glow in and around your home.
"We've been together about 10 years now, and now we're slowly starting to take our traditions and mesh them together," Smart tells Yahoo Life as part of the Yahoo Life Holiday Home and Tell series. "With a child, too, our traditions become more meaningful," Oosterhouse says. (The couple are parents to daughter Flora, who is nearly five.)
"When you continue with that and you see our daughter’s face and how excited she gets to do little DIY or hang lights...she gets excited for those moments," Oosterhouse says.
Speaking of lighting, Oosterhouse says that it's "everything" around the holidays. Smart agrees. "Especially at nighttime, if you turn all the lights off and just put on your Christmas lights or whatever little lights you have...there's just that magic. It twinkles, it feels like the holidays," she says.
Want to take your holiday lighting to the next level this year? Try these tricks from the Oosterhouse-Smart family:
Experiment with color. Oosterhouse says this has been a holiday lighting trend, noting that people are branching out from traditional reds and greens. "It feels more comfortable and inviting to see," he says. "People are using lighting like pastels, which are soft and glowy."
Go for balance. "You don't want to have black spots in areas," Oosterhouse says. "Balance is always key."
Start in and work your way out. "You don’t have to go throw up a bunch of lights on your trees or bushes," Oosterhouse says. "Start from the door or entryway because that’s a place that people are always going to use. From there, he says "start working your way out to the rest of the house."
Opt for LED lights. Traditional lights can get hot and potentially serve as a fire hazard, Oosterhouse says. They can also jack up your energy bill. "Use LED lights, which don't get nearly as warm," he says.
If you're looking to branch out from the usual string lights, Oosterhouse has a DIY trick that's easy to pull off. They're called ice lanterns, and all you need to make them is a plastic container like Tupperware, eight-ounce plastic cups and battery-powered votives.
Fill the plastic container with water, and insert a cup inside the container, filling it with a little water to weigh it down. Put the whole thing in the freezer and let it sit overnight. When you're ready to use it, remove the internal cup and place a votive inside. Set your ice lantern or lanterns outside in front of your house for cool decor.
"Especially at night, this ice is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, especially if you live where there's snow," Oosterhouse says."You can make as many as you want to line your driveway or lay on your sidewalk." Once the ice melts, Oosterhouse says, you simply make more.
Whatever you do for your holiday decor, Oosterhouse recommends keeping your lighting in mind. "It sets the mood," he says.
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