How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

Hanging outdoor Christmas lights. Few aspects of the Christmas season are more prone to being made fun of in popular culture. TV shows, movies, and others like to emphasize the hard work, frequent failure and potential safety hazards of this. But is it really such a troublesome bit of work? Not with the proper plan of attack. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Planning. Some people underestimate this, either because they are comfortable with the idea they have in their head, or feel that since they took care of it the year before, there will be no difficulties this time. This is a fallacy, and likely to lead to frustration or even disaster in the worst cases.

First, decide on the area you want to cover. Roof outlines, awnings, porch and patio lights, and more, decide which you think is best for your decorating plan. Next, measure all of these surfaces. Calculate the minimum amount of light string length needed in order to cover that area. Then you will want to add some slack to that, a few extra feet to cover any missed obstructions or to just allow for some room to work with the lights rather than pulling them completely tight. Finally, test your lights. The cliché about a fully strung house not working because of a single bulb may be inaccurate, but it is still far better to catch any glitches or burnout in your lights before they are hung to a wall or roof overhang, no longer easily at hand. You also will want to calculate the electrical needs of your lights. Although most lights can be strung together, there is an upper limit as to how many can be on a single circuit before causing issues with the circuit. The lights that we sell provide information to the wattage of strings as well as giving an upper advised limit for single circuits of lights. Consider the location of outlets and other power supplies around your house, and adjust your plan accordingly to make your decorations safe as well as aesthetically striking. Deciding the type of light you are going to hang also matters. Novelty lights, shaped lights, aren’t recommended. They will be mostly viewed at a distance, so their effect will be lessened, and they come on shorter strings, on average, causing the need for more strings to be put together, increasing the wattage issues. The most common types of lights to hang on a house are standard single strings, icicle lights, and hanging swag lights. The first two are fairly self-explanatory, lines of light that either run parallel to the roof or hang straight down from it. The third is a type of light that usually consists of 2-3 strings of light layered on top of each other in a sort of arch shape, that some houses have hang down to give the feeling of curtains of light.

Step 2: Once you have determined your plan, assemble your materials. The exact set needed will depend on your house and plan. If you will need a ladder to reach some of the hanging, you may also want to consider a bucket or similar container to hold the lights in that can be hung on the ladder so as to keep your hands free. You also will want the nails or clips that will be used to secure the lights.

Step 3: Lights are best hung during the day, and during clear weather. You will want to begin next to an outlet or the place where an extension cord is secured. It is recommended to begin from the higher points of the house and move downward as you go. If you can have at least one other person assisting or spotting you during the work, it is recommended for maximum safety. The most common way to hang lights are along the lines of the house’s roof, whether a single square or multi-level. If hanging standard light strands, the normal aesthetic is to keep them firmly to the line of the house, not allowing them to sag or hang low. Icicle lights, on the other hand, only need the top line to be even, so as to give a straight effect of all the hanging drops.

You will want to avoid putting anything through the wire, whether it be nails or staples. Instead, either attach the wire to clips or carefully hang or wind it over nails or protrusions, so as to not cause damage to the lights.

Once the lights are set up and everything is connected, it is time to test your creation. Whether you set the lights up with a timer, or instead manually turn them on and off, you will be able to see the full effect of your light setup. Enjoy!

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