Ah, Christmas lights…they sure look pretty, but decorating your home for the holidays can be a hassle straight out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It doesn’t have to be so stressful! With a little planning, you’ll be decking the halls without feeling like the Grinch this year. Here are our top ten tips for hanging Christmas lights outside your home:
1. Check your lights. Replace any broken bulbs, and discard frayed or damaged strings that are potentially unsafe.
2. Upgrade to LED lights. They cost a bit more, but draw less electricity and last two to three time longer than incandescent. They also burn cooler, making them safer.
3. Net lights are a great alternative to wrapping hedges and bushes in traditional strings. Cast the net over the area you’re lighting, and you’re done!
4. Whether you prefer colored lights or twinkling white, be sure they’re designed for outdoor use. Check for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) marking on the product tag. UL tests all U.S. electrical products for safety, so you’re good to go if you see their stamp of approval!
5. Watch the weather. If you think hanging holiday lights is unpleasant, doing it amidst New England winter weather is worse! Getting the job done before snow and ice hits also prevents slips and falls.
6. Map things out before installing. Measure the area you’re lighting, and make sure you have enough (working!) lights for the space. Planning also helps avoid over-lighting, which can make your home look washed out instead of festive and cozy.
7. Plastic lighting clips ensure that you won’t need to poke holes in your roof or trim, and also allow you to control bulb positioning. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can be matched to your bulbs.
8. Create a traditional look by lining your gutters and eaves, windows, and large trees or bushes with white lights. Use symmetry for a clean aesthetic. It’s common to focus on the roofline, but don’t forget to balance lighting both high and low.
9. Consider walkway lighting by illuminating small trees and shrubs leading up to your home. Not only does it help guests navigate to and from your home, but it creates a warm welcoming glow.
10. Don’t feel like you have to light your entire house to create a beautiful holiday look. Focus a spotlight on your front door to showcase a beautiful wreath, or light some decorations in your front yard to draw interest, keeping your home as the backdrop.