Tech Insights

Engineering a Brighter Holiday: 11 High-Tech Tools and Displays

December 22, 2022 by Kevin Clemens

Lasers, LEDs, animation, fiber optics, and even our own Christmas-tree-light calculator are among the technologies that can help make your Yuletide brighter.

Christmas brings with it a tradition of holiday lighting and outdoor displays. While hanging lights along the eves and a wreath on the front door is satisfying in its own way, there are a variety of new high-tech ways to decorate your home for Christmas. Here are 11 examples (we saved the best for last) of how you can engineer a brighter and more colorful Christmas. 


1. App-controlled Holiday Bright Lights



App-controlled holiday bright lights.

App-controlled holiday bright lights. Image used courtesy of Ace Hardware


This 10-foot by 10-foot array of 3200 LED lights is controlled by an app on a cell phone and can display a variety of holiday-themed designs. Designed for indoor and outdoor use, it plugs into an ordinary household current. Available from Ace Hardware.


2. Thousand Points of Light Tree



Thousand points of light tree.

Thousand points of light tree. Image used courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer


Fiber optics are the key to this indoor/outdoor Christmas tree that can generate 23 different displays of white or colored lights from the tips of its needles. The colors include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and brilliant white light. Available in a variety of sizes from Hammacher Schlemmer.


3. Holiday Outdoor Laser Lights



Holiday outdoor laser lights.

Holiday outdoor laser lights. Image used courtesy of Brightology


Instead of climbing on ladders to string outdoor Christmas lights, the Winter Bright Holiday Laser projects holiday patterns on walls and doorways with a super-easy setup. Choose from 16 different patterns, including snowflakes, reindeer, candy canes, Santa Claus, and a variety of other favorites. Available from Brightology. 


4. LED Flashing DIY Christmas Tree Kits



LED flashing DIY Christmas tree kits.

LED flashing DIY Christmas tree kits. Image used courtesy of Aceirmc


Build your own Christmas tree from this DIY STEM kit that teaches basic soldering and electronic assembly. The kit contains printed circuit boards and 36 three-color LEDs divided into four groups with different flashing frequencies. Available from Aceirmc.


5. Santa's Workshop Digital Christmas Decoration



Santa’s workshop digital Christmas decoration.

Santa’s workshop digital Christmas decoration. Image used courtesy of Oriental Trading

Enjoy video scenes from Santa’s workshop projected on a blank wall or directly on the screen of a television or digital device. Loaded onto a USB drive are 25 scenes with live actors featuring Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and of course, all of those Santa’s workshop elves. Available from Oriental Trading.


6. Virtual Santa Download



Virtual Santa download.

Virtual Santa download. Image used courtesy of Christmas Light Emporium


Designed for window projection, this virtual Santa Claus can be played on a standard DVD player through a digital projector to provide the impression that Santa is walking around inside your house. Santa will be seen checking his list, placing presents, eating milk and cookies, and looking out the window and waving. The Digital Download is a 400 MB high-quality standard definition .mp4 file you can copy to a USB thumb drive or burn to DVD or even an SD card–whatever format you need to create to meet the requirements of your playback device. Available from Christmas Light Emporium.


7. LED Christmas Ornament



LED Christmas ornament.

LED Christmas ornament. Image used courtesy of Etsy


Available as a DIY kit or as a fully assembled unit, the green Christmas tree has a display of LED ornaments and gold trim. The PCB background gives its own special appeal to electronics hobbyists and STEM enthusiasts. Available from Etsy.

8. Animated Laser



Animated laser.

Animated laser. Image used courtesy of KTV Lights


Using red and green laser light to create animated figures, this device features 9 different types of animation lasers, including Halloween/Christmas/Birthday Party/Love Series/Party Atmosphere/Animal Collection/Geometric Figures/Lines/Blessings. Available from KTV Lights. 


9. Climbing Santa



Climbing Santa.

Climbing Santa. Image used courtesy of Amazon


This battery-powered Santa Claus plush toy climbs and descends a gold-bead chain to the tune of festive background music. Santa is 5 x 5 x 8.2 inches, and his climbing rope is 39 inches long. The rope can be hung on a Christmas tree or almost anywhere, and away he goes.  Available from Amazon. 


10. Traditional Christmas Lights



Traditional Christmas lights.

Traditional Christmas lights. Image used courtesy of 1000 Bulbs


What if you want to go old school? Here is a 25-foot string of 25 multicolored traditional incandescent Christmas lights. Intended for indoor or outdoor use, up to two strings can be attached end-to-end. If you grew up before LEDs and fiber optics, you remember these clunky old lights on the tree and hanging from the eves. Available from 1000 Bulbs.


11. Christmas-tree-light Calculator



Christmas-tree-light calculator.

Christmas-tree-light calculator. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


Looking to create the perfect dazzling tree this holiday season with evenly spaced lights distributed vertically and horizontally across your tree? Don’t let the prospect be just another thing stressing you out. How many light strings will I need for the perfect sparkling tree? What’s too much? How much is not enough?

Multi-colored, warm white, pure white, winter white, golden glow (that’s actually something you need to figure out; we’re not that good)? Incandescent, LED, standard lights, mini lights, wide-angle mini lights, large bulbs, battery-operated lights, animated lights, color-changing lights (again, that’s on you, although we vote for LEDs as they consume up to 75 percent less energy and last 25 times as long as incandescents, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Most incandescents will actually be phased out by August of 2023.) 

Before you begin, you will need two things. First, what is the height of your tree? Second, how wide is your tree at the bottom? That’s it. 

This simple-to-use calculator will alleviate some of the stress associated with the holidays, and, as a result, you’ll be set to sit back and enjoy your Martha Stewart-worthy holiday display. Available at EE Power.

Happy holidays!


Featured image used courtesy of Adobe Stock