Spread holiday cheer with a merry backdrop of lights throughout your home. In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through easy tips and practical considerations on how to adorn your spaces, both indoor and outdoor, with Christmas lights.
How to Choose Your Christmas Lights
For a seamless decorating experience, start by identifying the right Christmas lights for your space and theme. Here are our tips for choosing the perfect lights.
1. Find the Right Type of Christmas Lights
Christmas lights come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and special features to suit different decorating styles. Learn more about the common light types to help narrow down your options.
Incandescent vs Led Christmas Lights
Incandescent Christmas lights heat a metal filament to produce light, emitting heat in the process. They are available at lower prices but burn out over time and consume more energy than LED lights.
LED Christmas Lights
LED Christmas lights use light-emitting diodes that produce less heat and consume less energy than traditional lights. Although these usually cost more, LEDs last longer and help you save on electricity and replacement bulbs. Balsam Hill®’s Candlelight® Clear LED lights have the same warm glow as incandescent bulbs, unlike most clear LEDs that have a harsh white tone.
Clear vs Multicolored Christmas Lights
Clear Christmas Lights
Channel the soft glow of candles with clear Christmas lights. This versatile lighting option complements both classic and modern decorating styles.
Multicolored Christmas Lights
Create a festive look with a bright mix of colored Christmas lights. Multicolored lights work well with fun themes or traditional red and green ornaments.
Indoor vs Outdoor Christmas Lights
Not all Christmas lights are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Unless marked outdoor-safe, most lights should only be used indoors.
If you want to hang Christmas lights in exterior areas, make sure to use ones specifically marked outdoor-safe. Look for lights that have been approved by trusted companies such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or ETL (Edison Testing Laboratories).
2. Measure Your Hanging Space
Measure the area where you plan to install the Christmas lights. Then, compare this with the length of the light strings to determine how many strands you’ll need. The standard length for a 50-light strand is 25 feet, while a 100-light strand usually measures 50 feet. For example, if you need to cover a 120-feet space, you’ll need at least five 50-light strands or three 100-light strands. You may need more if you're hanging the lights in a pattern.
3. Consider the Size of Your Christmas Tree
Use the height of your tree as a guide in determining the number of bulbs you’ll need. Measure the highest point of the tree down to the bottom of your stand. Check out our recommended light counts for different Christmas tree heights:
|Height||Low Density||Medium Density||High Density|
Note that the shape of your tree also affects the light count needed. Full Christmas trees require more bulbs compared to narrow or sparse trees of the same height.
How to String Lights on Your Christmas Tree
When hanging lights on your Christmas tree, make sure to use compatible strands with enough bulbs to meet your desired light density. Below are the materials and steps to follow when stringing lights on your tree.
- Measuring tape
- Step ladder
- Extension cord
Step 1|Untangle the String Lights
Untangle the lights carefully. Test the bulbs to make sure they are in good working condition.
Step 2|Secure the Lights
Coil the first set of lights loosely around your hands. Avoid dragging the strings across the floor.
Step 3|Hang the Christmas Lights
Make sure to leave enough slack for the plug to reach an extension cord or electrical outlet. Starting at the bottom, slowly coil the light string around the tree and weave the lights in and out of the branches.
Step 4|Circle the Tree
Continue to weave the lights around your tree and move upwards upon each rotation. Once the lights run out, plug in the next string. Use a step ladder as you reach the higher sections. Hide the socket within the branches.
Step 5|Plug In the Lights
Once finished, plug in the lights and check your tree from a distance. Adjust the placement of the strings if there are any branches hiding or covering the lights.
Safety Tips for Stringing Lights on a Christmas Tree
- Use light strands that are compatible with each other. Check the packaging for information on whether you can use different brands of light strings together. To avoid connection issues, opt for lights from the same brand.
- Make sure the bulbs have the same wattage. This will prevent power surges and potential electrical failures.
- Use only one extension cord and do not overload it.
- Keep the extension cord out of reach of children and pets. Do not place it in the middle of the floor.
How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights
Lights add an enchanting glow to exterior spaces. Wrap them around outdoor Christmas decorations, trees, or greenery, or hang in a pattern from eaves and railings. Remember to use the proper tools and follow safety precautions for a trouble-free installation.
- Measuring tape
- Extension cords
- Christmas light clips and insulated hooks
- Optional: Christmas light storage reel
Step 1|Untangle the Lights
Carefully untangle all the lights and lay them out on a dry surface. Use a Christmas light storage reel to keep strings from getting tangled. This is a handy tool to simplify the installation process.
Step 2|Test the Bulbs
Plug in the light strings and check if the bulbs are all working.
Step 3|Attach the Hooks
Secure the Christmas light hooks and clips in your chosen location. Spread out the hooks evenly to prevent the light strings from drooping or gaping.
Step 4|Hang the Strings
Carefully attach the light strands using the clips or the hooks. Make sure each section is free of tangles or twists.
Step 5|Plug In the Lights
Once the lights are in place, plug them in to ensure that the entire set-up works. Step back and check your display for any inconsistencies.
Safety Tips for Hanging Outdoor Christmas Lights
- When using a ladder, make sure to set it down on a dry and level surface.
- Have someone hold the ladder at the bottom to keep it from shifting throughout the process.
- Verify if the lights can be used outdoors.
- Avoid overloading extension cords. To be on the safe side, only use 75% of the available plugs and remember to use one plug per outlet.
- Use insulated nails or hooks to minimize electrical hazard.
- Do not pull or twist Christmas lights.
When the season is over, make sure to store your Christmas lights properly so you can use them for years to come. Visit this page for our storage tips.
We hope this guide helped you discover holiday lighting options and ideas for your home. If you have any questions, reach out to us here.
For more Christmas decorating guides and ideas, visit the links below.