Are you thinking about upping your Christmas decoration game this year? But maybe you’re a little afraid of electrocution or don’t know the best way to put up Christmas lights? We’ve been there and you’ve come to the right place. We believe there are few better ways to celebrate the true spirit of holiday than proudly telling the world, “I don’t care about my electric bill at all this month.” ‘Tis a great sacrifice indeed. With that in our minds and spiked eggnog in our hands, here are 10 quick tips for hanging the best dang Christmas lights in the neighborhood this year.
1) Have a plan. Don’t be that person that finds one sad bush in the front yard, strings up the same orange lights from Halloween haphazardly and calls it a day because the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl is on and you’ve got 30 points riding on Central Florida in your confidence pool.
2) Do a little math. Measure out your locations for the lights, figure out proper spacing between the bulbs and make sure you have enough extensions cords—you will need them. Don’t overload one overachieving power strip either. Pyrotechnics are not part of the show. Consider the wire gauge, which is the thickness of the wire. Thicker wires are capable of safely carrying a greater amount of electric current. And, yes, all those tags wrapped near the plug are really annoying, but do yourself a favor and read them before you snip them off. They have useful info on how many sets of lights you can safely string together. Contrary to poular belief, you can’t keep connecting lights until they stretch around the world. Though that would be cool.
3) See your future, be your future. Think about what size, style and color bulbs you will be comfortable looking at for the next month, and yes, we know that’s an odd thing to write. Use LED lights, they’re lighter, safer, sleeker and they help you cut down that abominable December energy bill. According to HGTV, an elaborate light display can cost enough money to power an average house for six weeks. But using LEDs, that stands for Light-Emitting Diode, gives you a bright, beautiful light that consumes 80% less energy than conventional holiday lights.
4) If a tree looks bad on your lawn, do people see it? Yes, they will, which is why it’s important to have enough lights to properly showcase the shape of your tree. Think of a tree like a person, you wouldn’t want to leave one naked on the lawn with only a couple of bulbs to cover up, right? Dress that thing up and show off its curves and angles.
PRO TIP: Electricity and water are mortal enemies. So protect your connections to the trees across your yard with outdoor extension cords and to be safe, pick up some Waterproof Seal Connectors.
5) Think roof ridge line. If you don’t have a front yard tree or set of bushes, the ridge line of the roof is a great place for your lights. Use gutter clips to secure the lights tightly. If you’re not currently hooked up with the right hooks, you can choose from standard clips or magnetic ones. You don’t want to have to do this again if one strong breeze can blow them off the roof. Make sure your ladder (or hydraulic lift) is very steady at all times, we don’t want you eating Christmas dinner through a straw. And for the record, if you get pretty serious about this stuff, a 10-foot scissor lift rental starts at $105 a day.
6) Maybe splurge just a little this year. These icicle-style lights in blue or white or even multicolored never go out of style and they aren’t much more expensive than regular ones. Plus, they are fun to walk under—it feels daring!
7) Create a Christmas playlist. Any outdoor work is more fun with background music. Makes it feel like you’re in a movie montage. Here’s a quick playlist to get you started:
Note: 2 or 3 listens is all you will probably need. Don’t overdo it.
8) More isn’t always better. There will come a point where your inner Griswold is convinced you need more lights. Remember to keep it tasteful. This right here is tasteful and elegant:
This, on the other hand, is not and probably induces seizures in puppies. You don’t want that:
9) Set a proper scene. You may decide to create a little Christmas scene on your lawn. That’s great, but stay on point. No one wants to see a glowing Darth Vader and Santa having a lightsaber fight while an inflatable Marge and Homer Simpson dressed as Mary and Joseph look on. Actually, that’s kind of cool. We’ll allow it. But here’s what we call bad execution, because really, what in the world is going on?
We’ve got two Santas and two Frostys that appear to be in the basement of the manger. Are they trapped there? Do we have a hostage situation? Are they working on the plumbing? Bethlehem’s warm climate would surely melt poor Frosty. Stay on message, people!
10) Bask in the warm glow of your electrical prowess. Once your lights and decorations are set, be sure to bring the whole family out for the official lighting. This is what it’s really all about. You’ve worked hard, so it’s time to enjoy a little hot cocoa and tasty morsels from this Jerky Cane.
This is also a great time to remind those you love of what you want for Christmas, because they now owe you. Well done, friend.