Holiday Party Lighting Ideas

Christmas Lights on the Ceiling for a Holiday Party

Spread soft light around the room by hanging Christmas lights from the ceiling.

Winter holidays are all about light – the warm glow of the Christmas tree, the flickering flames of the Hanukah menorah, and the sparkly New Year’s ball drop at Times Square. So it makes sense to pay special attention to the lighting of your holiday parties. Here are our top lighting tips to make a holiday party merry and bright.

Soft, Warm Light Makes People Feel Welcome

Some occasions call for bright light, but a party isn’t one of them. Your guests will feel relaxed and comfortable if the lights are a bit dimmer than usual. Consider keeping overhead lights turned off, relying instead on lamps, sconces, and other light sources. This creates an intimate atmosphere, encouraging everyone to open up and socialize.

Candles in Jelly Jars for Party Lighting

Dozens of votive candles in jelly jars add warm light to a Christmas party.


Get Creative with Candles

Taper and votive candles are an inexpensive source of warm, lovely light. It’s common to add one or two candles to a holiday dinner table, but the effect is much more dramatic when you increase their number. Collect a few dozen jelly jars of different sizes and place votives inside them, arranging them in a staggered line down the center of the table. For an outdoor party, pull a ladder out of the garage, set it up, and use the steps to hold candles and bouquets of flowers. Of course, a Hanukah party will have a brightly lit menorah. Put a pretty mirror against the wall behind it, doubling the light.

Go Wild with Christmas Lights

These strings of tiny bulbs aren’t just for the Christmas tree – they can be repurposed in all kinds of ways to light up a room for a holiday party. Turn party lights into ceiling lights: string them from one wall to another in straight lines, or from all the walls toward the center of the room, creating a sparkling star. Hang them from ceiling to floor to create a wall of light and hang panels of sheer fabric in front of them to soften the glow. (We recommend LED lights if the bulbs will be near fabric, because they stay cool to the touch.)

Lighted branches with evergreen boughs on mantle

Mix lighted branches with evergreen and pine cones for a glowing mantle.


Buy Lighted Branches for Bright Bouquets

Battery-powered light-up branches are available online and at craft stores. It’s easy to arrange them in a pretty vase, either alone or with live, dried, or artificial flowers. Our favorite way to use them is on the mantle, amid evergreen boughs and pine cones. It’s a modern twist on a traditional favorite.

Give Your Fixtures a Facelift

Your home is already full of light fixtures – pendants, sconces, lamps, and more. Dress them up for the party! An ordinary lamp becomes festive when you pin ribbons and bows on the shade. Or create a totally new lamp shade covered with white doilies and glitter to mimic the sparkle of snow. Hang ornaments from ceiling fixtures so they catch the light. Wind greenery and berry branches around a pendant light’s cord or around the branches of a chandelier.

Buy New Light Fixtures for Your Home

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to upgrade your fixtures or add new ones, a holiday party is the perfect occasion. Wall sconces spread light around the room, avoiding the glare of a single overhead light. A cluster of small pendant lights with star designs will draw attention to the buffet table. Adding a dimmer allows you to adjust the amount of light to set the right mood.

For more Christmas party lighting ideas, check out our Pinterest board!

Party Lighting on Pinterest


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