Instead of putting all the holiday lights away, I used several strings of tiny white lights tucked behind the plants on top of the bookcases in the living room to highlight the plants and give the room a soft ambient light. Tiny lights woven through my large poinsettia arrangement made it quite a showpiece on the dining room table in front of the bay window.
I got an inspiration for another use for holiday lights when I saw mason jars of potpourri that had short strings of lights in them at a Bazaar. I had an extra glass hurricane candle shelter and threaded a string of about twenty lights up from the bottom leaving about a foot of the wire and plug outside of it. I put four small puddles of hot glue on a glass plate to secure the hurricane to the plate. I put a circle of about five lights on the bottom inside of the hurricane, then added potpourri to hide the cord and lights, then another layer of lights covered with potpourri.
The hurricane was layered in that fashion until all the lights were hidden within. A small crocheted doily covered the top of the hurricane held there by a curly ribbon. I slipped a small artificial pine wreath and garland over the hurricane and set it on the plate to cover the base and wire that came out the back of it.
It made a beautiful centerpiece that I plugged in when I had company and as the lights warmed the potpourri, its scent filled the whole room. The hurrican lights are quite a conversation piece and, due to popular demand, I made several small decorated jars of potpourri for friends. However I only had the hurricane lamp plugged in when I was in the room to make sure the lights didn't get too hot for the flammable potpourri.
The most clever use of solar-powered holiday lights were on this bicycle for more visibility at night and the lights are available at Target.
A friend decided one year he was not going to go through the hassle of putting up, taking down and storing the holiday lights again. He put up a permanent display of white lights woven around the trees, through the bushes and under his patio awning that reminded me of Disneyland at night. He hosted parties often and his guests never had a problem finding his house on the dark street. Those lights added such a festive touch to his home, many of his friends followed suit, competing to have the most elegant display.