How do holiday lights twinkle?

Find out with a fun, kid-friendly lesson on circuits

Do you ever look at your holiday lights and wonder what makes them twinkle? These lights are essential for helping Santa Claus find your home, but how do they work?

Introducing circuits!

Circuits are the pathway through which electricity flows and are made up of three parts:

  • It starts with the electricity that PEC delivers to your home when you plug in the cord.
  • The second part is the pathway the electricity travels through. This would be the wires that move from light to light on the strand.
  • The final part is the load, which is the user of electricity. These are the twinkling lights!

There are also different kinds of circuits. These include a series circuit, a parallel circuit, or a switch circuit.

  • A series circuit is one where if a light bulb stops working in a line, the rest of the bulbs will also stop. You may have noticed this occur on the older holiday lights that were on your home in the past.
  • In a parallel circuit, if one bulb goes out, others can remain on. Ceiling fans and classroom lights are good examples of parallel circuits.
  • A switch can serve as a pathway in the circuit and can open or close the circuit. An example of this is the light switch on your wall.

Now you know all the steps of how your holiday lights turn on! Be sure your parents double check they all work so Santa can find your home!

To learn more about how your electric service works, head on over to our EmpowerU page.

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