Holiday Lights and Garland

by Grace Bonney

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in the south or just a predisposed fondness for tiny clusters of things, but I love holiday garland. More than ornaments or stockings or any other detail, it captures the spirit of the holidays for me. I try to find time to make my own (popcorn and cranberries for the tree, pinecones for a countertop or two) but when there’s no time for DIY, I like to hunt down beautiful strands of lights, bells, tassels and greenery to make our house feel a little more festive. This year I’m trying to keep things a little simpler, so I decided to round up garlands that have texture, light and a little bit of shine, but that don’t hit you over the head with red and green. I hope you’ll find some that work for your home and will help add a little sparkle and glow. xo, grace

Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
I love the soft twinkle of truly tiny lights. They can get lost in a big tree, but in a small space or woven through simpler green garlands, they're heavenly. Starry String Lights $12 for a 5-foot strand, up to $75 for a 100-foot strand.
Holiday Lights and Garland on Design*Sponge
I love metallics for the holidays. They feel festive and special and can be reused throughout the year for any special event. Clockwise from top left: Jingle Bell Garland $18, Gilded Garland String Lights $38, Pin Dot Lights $38, Metallic Blooms Garland $68.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
A little bit of texture never hurt anyone, so these more rustic garlands are favorites of mine. Left to right: Pinecone Garland $15, Knotted Garland $20.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
More metallic sparkle for your mantel or tree, clockwise from left: Acorn String Lights $48, Popcorn Ball Garland $72, Copper Garland $8.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
These are the lights I use on my own tree and go back to over and over again. The green wire blends into Christmas trees nicely and the bright round bulbs are festive and fun. Globe Lights $34.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
A long strand goes well on a mantel, but it also looks beautiful over a doorway or filling a stretch of space above a wall or where you'd typically hang artwork. These are great handmade options: Noel Garland $21, Felt Scrap Garland $16.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
Winter whites are a nice choice if you want something a little softer to decorate with, or if you just need a reminder of snow. Clockwise from top left: Snowball Garland $38, Star Garland $18.07, Beaded Leaves Garland $24 (This is a very pale gold in person, it blends nicely with winter whites), Pom Pom and Bell Garland $16.
Holidays Lights and Garlands on Design*Sponge
For a little extra jingle and color, try these guys. Top to bottom: Red Tassel Garland $5.99, Rose Gold Ball Garland $19.95, Merry Pink Garland $42.50.

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  • I love the soft twinkle lights under the bell jars and the pink sequined garland. Great collection.

  • Enjoying the new look of Design Sponge. Have learned of so many products-which I would have never known had I not found this website. I’m loving these garlands! Thank you

  • These are great! I especially like the copper circle garland – I’ve been looking for something like this for the past few months. Thanks!

  • Hi Grace Bonney, What a happiness things to be in your holidays lights and garlands. Thanks a lot.

  • I love the idea of the jars. My problem is concealing the battery packs. Any tips re this?

    • Hi Ann!

      It depends on the style. I typically use tape in the same color as the cord (green, black, etc.) to group them together in a one solid cord and then tuck that under a rug or tack it up under a counter, depending on the location. If you have a specific style/issue (or a picture!) let me know- I’d be happy to help.

      Grace :)

  • I didn’t grow up with garland, and I have to admit, I never quite knew what it was until now!

  • Thanks Grace, I will keep working on it. I think this picture will be my favourite of the season! Quite apart from its sheer beauty, Im always on the lookout for ideas to replicate in the sweltering heat of a Southern Hemisphere Christmas.

  • are they sold with batteries? I’d like to
    Unser them as my dining room table center piece and there is not a plug near by.

  • how pretty are those bell jars!! i’m pretty sure Terrain sells some battery operated lights that would be perfect!

  • I absolutely love the string lights in the jars. The glass encasement adds a bit more softness to the light and reminds me of fireflies in a bell jar. I’ve never even considered battery powered lights before but I too wonder how the battery packs can be hidden. In a few of those pictures on RH’s website the battery packs can’t be seen at all but I imagine that’s due to some clever lighting tricks with perhaps a PS edit thrown in.

  • How long were the string of lights you used in each of the globes. They are Beautiful! I want to make the full exact set in the photo you posted. Can you email me the items I’ll need for this display. Thank you.

  • They look really pretty, can you tell me about how man feet you used in the larger ones, please. Thank you!

  • Hello, the lights in the tall domes are just beautiful. Normally, I am not a big decorator but this past Christmas was the first in many years that I really felt the spirit of the season. It is especially weird as I was in a PT rehab. But I had a friend bring some decorations from home, and I ordered a couple online. It was festive and I enjoyed the holidays. Now, I am feeling like doing it up next year, and these articles and pictures are inspiring. I think I could do these lights, if I could fid out the name of the displays they are in (bell jars vs dome that used to hold a clock?). Thank you for the info. Wish me luck.