This year we bought some solar powered LED lights to put up outside. We don't have outlets on the front of our house, so in the past we've had to run cords inside through a gap in the doorway or the window (neither one a great option, and with a new door, the gap is gone now).
Besides not having to run cords inside some crazy way, we are cutting down on how much energy we're using to light up outside.
The LED lights aren't as bright as incandescents. The white ones actually look a bit more blue than white, but they still look pretty in the dark. They have built in sensors that turn the lights on when it gets dark enough so we don't have to worry about setting up timers (or figuring out why timers aren't working right either). We even got a snowflake light that changes color to use as the star above our outdoor nativity set.
I've read that in some places, utility companies have incentives for switching to led Christmas lights. Ours doesn't, but it's worth checking out if you decide to go that route. LEDs, especially the solar powered ones, cost a bit more than incandescents (which are way cheap these days, remember when they weren't?) but we were able to buy all of ours on sale after Thanksgiving.
Another cool thing I found lately was a set of battery powered pillar candles. These ones have a built in timer. You can set them to be on for 4 or 8 hours from when you turn them off. They'll automatically shut off after that time and then turn themselves on again the next day at the same time you originally turned them on. Real candles look better of course, but these aren't going to start a fire or burn your kids! The battery powered tea lights I bought a few years ago have to be turned on and off, but perhaps I will find some programmable ones sometime for a reasonable price.