Nothing is more magical during the holiday season than Christmas lights lining rooflines and twinkling in trees and shrubs. From your slow drive through the neighborhood and until you pull up into your driveway, you purposely linger to admire the outdoor Christmas lights sparkling in festive colors.
Christmas lights bring holiday cheer to your home and yard but hanging them can be a less than cheerful experience.
Measure. Start by measuring at the base of the house, going along any turns and corners. Measure doors, window frames, and any columns that will be lit. If hanging Christmas lights on peeks, climb carefully up a ladder and measure along the area of peak to be decorated.
Locate power sources. Most new homes are equipped with outdoor power sources, but older homes may need to use an indoor power source, with the power cord coming through a window. Measure how many feet of power cord will be required to extend from the power source to the beginning of the roofline.
Use the proper lights. Make certain that they are rated for outdoor use. The packaging should clearly mark indoor/outdoor. The lights must be weatherproof or else they will short out and could be a hazard.
Untangle lights. You might be tempted to just untangle as you go but I’m here to tell you that’s a horrible idea, because nothing makes standing 10ft up on a ladder more dangerous than being 10ft up on a ladder while trying to untangle Christmas lights.
Use clips. Clips to hang your lights are amazing and are much friendlier to your home than duct tape, nails, screws, or staples. You can get clips to hang your lights pretty much any place you buy lights and though you might think to yourself. Trust me, you do.
Use a sturdy ladder. Check the stability of your ladder before hanging lights. Have someone with you when climbing a ladder in case you need help. Don’t Use Furniture!
Work your way up. To string trunks of deciduous trees, start at the base and wrap the lights around in a spiral. If you want to illuminate an evergreen, however, start at the top and zigzag lights through the center of the tree, getting wider with the tree’s shape.
Don’t Rush it. Hanging Christmas lights usually takes longer than you think it will, so here’s a pro-tip, after preparing and measuring make a guess at how long it will take then multiply it by 2.
Time it. Christmas light timers will make your life immensely better and they only cost around $15. Turn on your lights only when it’s dark and set them to go off automatically two, four, six or eight hours later or at dawn. You will save money in the process.
Hit the switch. The final step in hanging Christmas lights is to turn the power on and admire the view.