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Unique Christmas light decorations for a tech-filled holiday season

Wine bottle Christmas lights, like those from The Old Farmer's Store, add a unique, festive flair to holiday decor. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas closely following, it’s hard not to start getting into a holiday mindset, especially when department stores have all their festive garb on display and some places are playing holiday music.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, and I always decorate quite a bit. I feel like I’ve got most of the classic decorations covered, and by classic, I guess I mean the types of decorations I grew up with. I’ve got the Christmas tree with ornaments of all shapes and sizes, winter-themed window clings, strings of lights hung here and there, silver and gold strands of garland and various Christmas knickknacks around the apartment.

While I love the decorations I have and tend to use the same ones year after year, it’s also nice to have something new and maybe a little different each holiday season, so I’m always on the lookout for unique items to add to my Christmas collection.

One such addition I found last year were wine bottle lights. A co-worker alerted me to them, and I absolutely could not pass them up. Basically, each set comes with what looks like a plastic cork stopper with batteries and a little switch. That’s attached to a small string of white lights designed to fit inside an empty wine bottle.

Once inside, you flip the little switch on the cork stopper, and the lights shine through the bottle. I bought two strings last year, and I couldn’t help but feel like they added a certain elegance to the multitude of different colored decorations in my tiny little apartment. Now that I’ve moved somewhere bigger, I may just have to buy a few more.

I ordered my lights from a website called The Old Farmer’s Store: https://store.almanac.com/. They were running a sale, so each set only cost me $6.50. They’re still available from the site but now cost $14.95 for each set, not including batteries. They come in both white and multicolored. And, like most products, different versions of wine bottle lights are available on Amazon, ranging from light-up corks to full strings of lights like the ones I have, with prices varying.

While scrolling through Facebook a couple weeks ago, I saw an ad for a phone charger that looks like a string of Christmas lights. The charger is green with multicolored light bulbs that light up when the phone is plugged in. I immediately had the urge to buy it, as it would be the perfect thing to spruce up my desk while I’m working the Christmas Day shift this year, but unfortunately for me, this gadget is only available for iPhones, and I’m a loyal Android user.

But for those of you Apple customers out there who need a little bit of holiday cheer in their workspace, home office or anywhere else with an outlet, this charger might just be it. There’s several versions of the chargers out there, many of which are available on Amazon and other websites, ranging from about $11-$16.

I did manage to find one charger in the sea of Apple products compatible with Samsung phones that have a micro-USB port. Unfortunately for me (again) I recently upgraded to a Galaxy S10, which has a different charging port. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Another unique techy gadget I found during my search is an LED holiday projection light from Target.com.

The 10-inch high, 6-watt LED spotlight comes with seven Christmas-themed pattern cards with images like snowflakes, tree ornaments, snowmen, candy canes, stars, gingerbread men and Santa. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, the electric gadget does just what the name implies — it projects the images on a wall or other sort of blank canvas. And as an added bonus, it comes with three cards with ghosts, pumpkins and other Halloween images, too. It’s priced at $21.92 and is only sold on Target.com, not in stores.

With my new apartment still sporting a few blank walls, I think this might be just what I need to spruce the place up this Christmas.

The items I mentioned are just a few low-budget examples of what, I’m sure, are a whole host of fun, techy holiday decorations. If you’ve got any favorite or unique tech-inspired Christmas decorations, I’d love to hear about them for both my own benefit and, who knows, maybe a follow-up to this column.

Theresa Bourke may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com

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