As the holiday season nears (yes it is just around the corner), more people are beginning to think about hanging their Christmas lights— that onerous job, one part mind numbingly tedious and two parts gut-wrenching danger, or at least, that’s what it feels like. So here at We Install Christmas Lights we thought we’d take the time to outline some tips that will help make the most daunting part of the season a little more bearable. We’ve condensed these world-class tricks of the trade into a single principle— a mantra if you will— that every homeowner considering taking part in the time-honoured tradition of Christmas tree light hanging must remember: prepare, prepare, prepare.
There’s a reason that you should prepare three times over. We have a natural tendency to try to jump into things willy-nilly without having a grasp on it, it’s only human. We like to wing it, to do things off-the-cuff, to charge head-first into the battle. Yet, not only can this be a difficult way of taking on our household tasks, in this case especially, it’s downright dangerous— and it happens often. So, take a gander at our preparation tips so that you can minimize the amount of time spent putting up lights, and more time sipping eggnog.
Preparation 1: Knowledge
Christmas light hanging is a science. The best thing that you can do to make sure that your house is the brightest on the block is to take the time to familiarize yourself with the job. Thinking about how lights are going to be arranged, and how you can safely and efficiently hang them is key. If you’re a “just around the eavestrough” type of person, remember to consider the kinds of obstructions you might come across (and the kinds of things you can’t use a Christmas light clip to hang to).
If you want to get a little more extravagant— maybe sprucing up those spruces, or tossing some colour on the roof and other fixtures— here’s our rule of thumb: plan so that you’re always working from top to bottom. There’s no way around it, sometimes you want to put lights in difficult places and almost just as regularly you’ll need to get close and personal with a dangerous spot just to do it. Have a plan first to minimize the risk.
Preparation 2: Equipment
Maybe the old-school mentality says that you can get those lights hung with just a ladder and some duct tape. But now, more often than not, the best way to hang exterior lights is to use Christmas light clips. Clips come in all shapes and sizes and are specific to the types of lights and surface you’re working with, so make sure you have the right ones. Follow instructions closely; don’t start tacking on clips to your lights when the instructions are explicit that you should place your clips on the surface first. You may also want to think of an extension pole to make the job easier and safer.
Also don’t forget that you’ll need an extension cord and a proper electrical source. Everyone who knows their stuff will tell you that this is important, and that you should calculate your energy usage— it’s a must! But don’t overlook another, unmentioned need; when you’re thinking over your perfect Christmas light design, using less extension cord is crucial. Planning to have the final section of lighting come down near the electrical plug will save you tons of hassle.
The lights themselves are also important, and these days there are tons to choose from. For the most part, you’ll likely come across C7 and C9 lights with 5 and 10 watt outputs respectively. These lights are ideal because they’re reliable (make sure they’re waterproof) and won’t short out an entire row because one bulb died. We highly recommend you consider LED lighting as well to keep usage costs down. Getting yourself a timer ensures that your lights aren’t running all night, which also cuts costs. Finally don’t forget to try lights BEFORE you begin hanging.
Preparation 3: The Site
We’ve already stressed to you that you need to have a plan before tackling your Christmas lights. One of the most important things here is knowing the space(s) you’re working with. Measure, measure, measure, and then measure once more. Take the time to calculate things— how big surface(s) are and how many sets of lights that’ll take. Will the final row drop down above the electrical outlet? Have you used the right clips on the right surfaces? Do you know how to safely and efficiently use a ladder to get to those hard-to-reach places, and which you’re going to tackle first? All of these considerations make prepping your site very important.
Bonus Prep Tip: Don’t Worry
There are professionals to worry about these things so you don’t have to. We want you to enjoy your Christmas season. Everyone, at least one time in their life, wants to have the shiniest, most beautiful, most awe-inspiring house on the block. But where does one begin? If you don’t want to worry about the hassle but you still want to live up to those dreams, give We Install Christmas Lights a call, or check out our contact page, and have a very happy holiday from all of us!