HOLIDAY DECORATING Light up the night

Residents who are in the spirit can choose from a variety of lights and other decorations.
It's going to be a blue Christmas -- a red, white and blue Christmas, that is.
According to Dan Zippie, a store manager at Kraynak's in Hermitage, Pa., area residents want to deck their halls with seasonal lights that shine in all the shades of Old Glory.
"People seem drawn to very patriotic colors this year," Zippie said.
Besides red, white and blue lights, clear-colored rope lights are also top-sellers at Kraynak's, he said. "They have replaced icicle lights in popularity."
Rope lights are small lights that fit inside a clear, plastic "rope." They can be used for both indoor and outdoor decorating and can be adjusted to burn steadily, to "chase" or blink.
Zippie said their versatility makes them a favorite among homeowners. Also, they are "very durable."
"You can use them to decorate just about anywhere and do just about anything with them," Zippie said.
Although rope lights are selling better than icicle lights, Zippie said icicle lights are still in demand.
"They have become a staple item," he said.
Another big seller: Besides rope lights and icicle lights, decorations that feature fiber-optic lighting are also hot sellers this year.
Zippie said many locals are opting to brighten up their homes with fiber-optic Christmas trees, wreaths, angels and snowmen.
Fiber-optic decorations rely on halogen bulbs to create a shimmering, ethereal look.
Zippie said one halogen bulb illuminates hundreds of tiny fibers throughout each branch of a fiber-optic Christmas tree. The bulb rests at the base of the tree and shines through a revolving color wheel. As the color wheel turns, the tree appears to change colors.
Fiber-optic trees range from about $12 for an 18-inch tree to about $140 for a 7-foot tree.
Zippie said the halogen bulbs are long-lasting, but when they do burn out, they cost only about $3 to replace.
Although fiber-optic items are popular, traditional, old-fashioned decor is equally in demand this season, he said.
"I think there is a strong desire to return to traditional decor [after the events of Sept. 11]," he said.
Animated snowmen, Santas and other figures that are reminiscent of 50 years ago seem to be selling well, Zippie said.

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