Christmas Lights Glossary

Looking for a specific Christmas lights term? Click the letters below to jump to the section you need!

A-F | G-L | M-R | S-Z


5mm - A mini led bulb usually has a wide angle, concave lens that measures approximately 5mm across.

Amp - A unit of measure for the amount of electricity flowing through a light set. Short for ampere.

Amp Capacity - The measurement of how much voltage a conductor or device can carry before sustaining damage.

Bulb Voltage - The measurement of how much voltage a particular bulb can take before sustaining damage.

C6 Strawberry - LED mini lights with a tapered design similar in shape to a strawberry.

C7 Bulbs - C7 bulbs have E12 (candelabra) bases and measure just over 2"H from base to tip.

C9 Bulbs - C9 bulbs have E17 (intermediate) bases and measure just under 3"H from base to tip.

Candelabra - An E12 bulb socket base common in C7 Christmas lighting and household fan, chandelier and small decorative lighting.

Cascade Light - Tubes of light with led bulbs that blink on and off in a downward pattern to create a falling light effect.

Clips - Used for securing bulbs and other decorations to an intended location. Learn more with our Light Clips Guide.

Commercial - A grade designation given to lighting products or decorations based on being heavier duty to withstand more use or to better withstand weather conditions.

Corner Tree - A Christmas tree designed with two flat sides to fit snugly into corners.

CSA Approved - An item that meets all of the Canadian Standards Association safety recommendations.

Diodes - Commonly referred to as LED (light emitting diode) is a small device designed to emit light using a very small amount of electricity.

Dimmable - The ability of a light bulb or decorative lighting product to be dimmed using the products existing dimmer or an external dimming control.

Drops - Light strings that hang down from a main light wire, often found on icicle lights or curtain lights.

End to End - A light set that has a male plug on one end and a female plug on the other, allowing multiple sets to be plugged together.

Faceted - An LED bulb style that uses a diamond-shaped gem cut pattern that allows light to reflect from multiple angles.

Fairy Light - Tiny round LED bulbs about the size of a water droplet, also called micro LEDs.

Female Plug - A plug end designed to receive male plugs to establish electric current between two items.

Flatback Tree - A Chrismtas tree that sits flush against a wall or flat surface.

Flicker Free - A reference to fully rectified LED lights that eliminate the appearance of flickering and pulsing found in older non-rectified LED light sets.

Fluffing - The act of arranging tree branches and tips to create a full, lifelike appearance.

Frame Tree - A Christmas tree designed using an internal structural frame that can be stacked to create large commercial Christmas trees.

Full Tree - A Christmas tree designed with a large base profile to give the fullest appearance; ideal for larger spaces.

Full Wave Rectified - Some LED light sets use a "rectifier" to control the amount and type of power flowing through the bulbs. Full wave rectified light sets produce a steady light output with no visible flicker or pulsing as compared to half-wave and non-rectified light sets that flicker and pulse.

Fused Plugs - Plugs that contain fuses as a safety feature to prevent string lights from being overloaded with electricity.


G12 - Round mini globe shaped bulbs usually hardwired into light strings.

G20 - Round globe shaped bulbs that screw into sockets.

Grapevine - Kiln dried natural vines interwoven to make decorations like wreaths and topiary shapes.

Hinged Construction - Artificial Christmas tree branches connected to the center pole using hinges that allow the branches to easily fold up or fold out.

Icicle Light - Multiple mini light drops hanging down across a horizontal line of wire, gives the appearance of icicles.

Intermediate - An E17 socket size and bulb base size most commonly associated with C9 Christmas lights.

Internal Lamp Lock - The lamp lock is on the inside of the socket. This creates a snag free light ideal for greenery wrapping.

Kelvin - A unit of measurement used to define light color ranges.

Lamp Lock - On some mini light styles a small tab located externally on the bulb husk locks the bulb into place on the socket, keeping the bulb secure.

Lead Wire - The beginning of a string light from the male plug to the first bulb.

LED - Stands for Light Emitting Diode.

LED Filament - A Flexible LED designed to look like traditional incandescent filament bulbs.

LED RGB - A lighting style where diodes can be changed between red, green and blue. On some lights these diodes can display their colors at different percentages to create thousands of different light color hues. LED SMD "Surface Mounted Device" diodes are a newer LED technology similar to that used in LED TVs. The light emits from a flat wafer-like surface.

Lens - A decorative covering usually made from glass or plastic that fits over a light source to create finished light bulb.

Lumens - A measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source.


M5 - Mini led bulb similar in shape to mini incandescents but with a faceted bulb lens.

M6 - Mini led bulb, slightly larger than M5 lights with a traditional shape and faceted lens.

Male Plug - A plug with exposed conductors that fits snugly into a female connector to establish an electric current.

Medium Tree - Not as wide as a full tree, but still has a traditional tapered profile.

Motif - In decorative lighting, motifs refer to products that are designed to look like symbols, characters or shapes by contouring lights around a corresponding frame design.

Net Light - Mini light strings connected to form a square or rectangular grid. Net lights are used to cover bushes, shrubs and trees.

Nickel Base - On bulbs, a nickel base prevents corrosion.

Outdoor Rated Tree - A tree designed to withstand outdoor weathering, typically featuring galvanized or powder coated metal and UV coated branches.

PE Tips - Lifelike branches formed using flexible polyethlene.

PE/PVC Tips - Trees that use a combination of lifelike PE tips and PVC needles.

Pencil Tree - A very thin tree profile with only a slight tapering in the branches.

Polarized - A polarized plug is a male connector plug with one prong wider than the other. Polarized plugs cannot be connected to non-polarized plugs.

Pole Tree - A common Christmas tree design that uses a center pole with branches connected at different points up and down the pole.

Prelamped - Bulbs that come either pre-installed or hard wired into a string light set.

PVC Tips - A term used to describe traditional Christmas tree branch tips made from PVC needles.

Retrofit Bulb - A bulb that is separate from the string and must be manually placed in the socket.

Rice Light - LED bulbs that are slightly larger than fairy lights with a thin and short stick-like shape.


Slender Tree - Retains the traditional profile of a full tree, but is very narrow. A great tree for small spaces.

Splicing - Joining two separate pieces of a wire or other material together.

SPT1 & SPT2 - Denotes the insulation thickness of a wire. SPT2 is thicker than SPT1.

SPT1W & SPT2W - Denotes the insulation thickness of a wire designated for wet locations. SPT2 is thicker than SPT1.

Stackable Plugs - Plugs that have male connector on one side and a female connector on the other side that allows multiple plugs to be stacked in a series.

T5 - LED mini light bulb that has the same shape of traditional incandescent mini lights.

Tabletop Tree - A compact, easily assembled Christmas tree which comes with a stand or base for tabletop display.

Tail Wire - Spacing from the last bulb on a string light to the end plug.

Tip Count - The number of individual branch tips on a tree.

Topiary - Trees or shrubs that have been trimmed to create ornamental shapes often resembling geometric or animal designs.

Tower Tree - A term used to describe large commercial Christmas trees that use a frame structure rather than a pole.

Tree Height - Measurement taken from the floor to the top of a tree.

Tree Width - Measurement is taken at the base of the tree. Branches at the widest point are pulled flat and are measured from tip to tip.

Triple Dipped - Bulbs that are dipped 3 times in paint, resulting in a more vibrant and long lasting color than double and single dipped bulbs.

TruTip Technology - Uses molds from live trees to create the most realistic PE tips and needles.

Twinkle Light - Bulbs that blink on and off. Depending on the light set or bulb this may be a fast or slow effect.

UL Listed - An item that meets all of Underwriters Laboratories safety standards.

UL Recognized Components - Refers to the components on a product that have been tested to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) specifications.

Walkway Trees - Small trees, usually between 2-4 feet tall with an attached stake for placement in landscapes and planters.

Watts - Measures the rate of electrical power usage.

Wide Angle Lens - The conical shape of an LED lens that allows light to been seen from greater angles compared to a flat lens.

Wire Gauge - Refers to the thickness of a wire and determines the amount of electrial current a wire can carry.