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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

LED Christmas lights rock a retro look

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 12, 2013
Bethlehem Lighting C7 LED Christmas lights.

Christmas tree fads come and go, but I have never lost my love of the big, fat, colorful lights of my 1960s childhood. While everyone else has been wrapping their trees in tasteful miniature lights, I’ve been adorning mine with gaudy blobs of color.

For years, I’ve held my breath and prayed silently that my strings of old-fashioned C7 lights would not make kindling of my Fraser fir. I’ve managed to escape a conflagration, even though I’ve found some crisply needles on my tree at the end of the season, cooked and browned by the hot light bulbs.

Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping an eye out for LED versions that look like the old-fashioned lights but won’t burn my tree down. I never found any I was happy with.

Until this year. 

Massachusetts company GKI/Bethlehem Lighting is producing strings of Christmas lights that look just like the ones I remember. The company even makes C7-size replacement bulbs for light strings with the old-style screw-in sockets. The blue lights are a fairly bold hue, but they’re not the intense purplish-blue so common in LED Christmas lights.

I ordered mine online from Green Electrical Supply, but they’re available from other retailers including and

They have only one down side: I can’t use my retro bubble lights in them.




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