How to Hang Your Outdoor Christmas Lights
Christmas Lighting

How to Hang Your Outdoor Christmas Lights

Christmas is all about fun, love, joy, baking and…all the hard work behind decorating the house and the outdoors for the most beautiful time of the year.

Sure, you may have some specific ideas about what colors you want to use or how your garden is going to look like when you’re done with the decorating.

No matter how creative or skilled you may be, taking a peek to some tricks when decorating the outdoors isn’t a bad idea. After all, there’s always place for improvement.

Here are some specific steps that you should follow when you plan to hang some Christmas lights in the outdoors of your home.

  1. Make a design

No matter how swamped you may be with the Christmas preparations, always try to stay away from the “Let’s wing it this year” urge. Use the lazy fall evenings to plan a design, to make an idea about how you want your home to look like on Christmas.

Christmas décor

Here are some ideas to have in mind:

  • Choose a focal point

If your house has columns at the entry, you may want them to become the center of interest for the winter holidays. You need a focal point so that the entire Christmas décor has a nice flow and continuity.

  • Keep an eye on the area

It’s important to check the gutter thickness and shingle flexibility in order to make an idea about which hang lights are going to work the best along your roofline. In case this is a first for you, here are some popular spots for the outdoor Christmas lights:

  • Atop bushes, trees and hedges
  • Along the rooflines or eaves
  • Around posts, deck railings and pillars
  • Inside window boxes and planters
  • Close to driveways and pathways

Don’t forget you also have to measure the straight light that you want to decorate. This is going to help you on knowing how many strands you need.

Keep in mind to measure the distance to the power source too as you don’t want to decorate and…realize that you can’t really turn on the lights.

As for the number of lights that you’re going to need for your outdoors, it’s a matter of taste in the end. The rule of thumb is popular and useful and you may use 100 lights for every 1-1/2-ft. of tree or shrub that you want to light up. Just to make it a bit more clearly, you need around 400 lights on a 6ft. evergreen, as long as you’re going with a simple design.

This doesn’t stop you from using two sets of lights side-by-side or use some that are spaced closer together. The denser the lights are, the brighter they’re going to be. So, it’s all up to you if you want your house to be seen from the space or not.

  1. Get the lights ready

There are a few things to check when you’re preparing the lights:

  • Check the lights to see if there are damaged cords or frayed ones as a faulty strand isn’t safe to use, not to mention it’s able to ruin the whole décor
  • Safety, safety…You have to use UL approved extension cords made for the outdoor use and only get lights that are rated like that. Take a look to see the lighted length and how many strands you’re going to connect.
  • Give a thought if you want to go with white lights or color ones. Even the white LEDs have a different hues, as some may have a blue tint and some are a warm yellow. This is why you need to go with the same hue on your white lights as you want your décor to look nice.
  • There are many types of lights and colors so get creative when combining them. Don’t be afraid to try and put some white lights on the bushes and some colorful one at the entryway. Use some white icicle lights along the roofline to complete the picture.
  • Look for the light clips for your decorating as they’re easy to use and to remove once Christmas is over.

Try some net lights for the bushes and keep in mind that LEDs are cheaper. They don’t overheat and you may safely touch them after hours of use.

Use some icicle lights for the eaves of the roof and cluster them together. You don’t want to stretch them too far apart as they are going to not look good.

Do read the manufacturer’s guidelines for the safety instructions, care and maintenance as you want to be safe, as well.

  1. It’s time to actually start

Pick the area you’re going to work on and take everything you need. You may use an extra-hand and it’s better to start with the bushes, continue with the trees and windows, leaving the doors and the roofline at the end.

Take a step back from time to time just to make sure everything it going to look as you pictured it.

Get the lights ready

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Check out the lights as even if they’re new, some may still not work. You don’t want to install them and only afterwards see that some aren’t working. Attach the light clips and see that they’re all in the same direction.
  2. Put on the lights to shutters or shingles, using an all-purpose light clip. You may do this with any type of light and no matter how you hang the lights (pointing up or down), you want to clip them in the same direction. Use the same clip to attach the lights to the shingles if you have no gutters, flipping the clip around.
  3. Use a light-hanging pole for hanging lights in a tree. The hanging poles are useful especially when you don’t want to use a ladder.
  4. Use some deck clips when you want to attach lights to the railings of your front porch or deck.
  5. Don’t forget to install a timer for the Christmas lights as you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to turn them off. Go for the timers with light sensors that turn on automatically at dusk.
  6. Turn on the switch and enjoy the show. After all that work, you may lay back and admire your work.



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Take down the Christmas decorations
Christmas tips

Cleaning up after Christmas

All those Christmas preparations may have drained you out, but keep in mind that, no matter how tired you are, you need to save some of that energy for cleaning up once Christmas is over.

Putting on all the decorations, the lights, and the ornaments does take you time and energy but, taking them for storing doesn’t take you any creativity. Right?

Put a smile upon your face 🙂

Nobody likes to put away the Christmas ornaments but you can definitely do it better and easier if you have a positive attitude while doing it.

No matter how overwhelming you may find the work, try to enjoy it as much as you can. Put on some music, listen to something cheerful and bring a new vibe to your home after Christmas.

It’s also a good thing to have mini-goals so that’s easier for you to focus. Make a list on your mind or write it down:

  • Pull together all the ornaments
  • Bring in the tote boxes and place them into categories
  • Remove the outdoor Christmas lights
  • Clean up the dinner table

Don’t forget to reward yourself as you work. After all, it’s nice to sip a cup of hot tea from time to time, right?

Another thing you may want to do is to arrange a big box in your laundry room to fill it with all the things you’re not planning to use anymore. From the games, toys and the ornaments that are out of your style, feel free to fill the box with all the things you are willing to give away.

Take down the Christmas decorations nice and slowly

You’re not under pressure now that Christmas is over so you should take the tree down slowly and carefully. As you want to store your ornaments for the next years, here are some tips to have them nice and organized over the year:

  • Minimize the risk of the Christmas lights tangling by wrapping them around the empty tubes from the wrapping paper that you used for the gifts few week ago. You should loop the cord around the roll, from the side opposite to the plug. Finish by inserting the plug into the tube’s opening.

If you didn’t keep the gift wraps tubes, don’t worry. Some paper towel tubes are going to work too.

  • Don’t forget to wrap nice and tight all the ornaments the second you took them down. You may very well use some wrapping and tissue paper to wrap the ornaments and only place them in their boxes afterwards.

christmas decorarion storage

You may add some more cushioning by placing the tree skirt at the bottom of the storage box and layer your ornaments on top. Don’t forget to put some tissue paper between all the layers.

Take a look at the carpet and furniture too

You should check the furniture and the carpets for stains. The longer the spot stays, the harder for you it’s going to be to remove it. You may use some warm water and mild dishwashing liquid and spray it lightly over the spot. You should blot with a paper towel and keep spraying and blotting until you no longer see the stain.

Don’t forget to rinse with some clear water and blot again. You should also fluff the pile and let it dry.

Get rid of old stuff

We’re sure you got some great stuff this year for Christmas, but you may not need all of them any time soon. Now it’s a good chance for you to get right of the old ones and give them away. You may also get your kids involved and race them to see which ones is first to pack the old toys.

Don’t forget the old rule about rotating the toys for your kids. With all the new toys they got for Christmas, now it’s a good time to put some of the old ones in garage and let them play for a while with the new ones.

Leave something behind

Keeping for display one of the Christmas ornaments is a nice reminder of the nice times that you just had. It can be something small and simple (even a paper chain may work) or anything sophisticated. No matter your choice, that Christmas reminder may be the glue for many moments over the year ahead.

Double-check the tree

If you used a real tree this Christmas, a good way to see if there are any other ornaments left behind, you may roll it and check carefully for any ornaments. If you did forget to take them all out, check them before storing them as they may have been damaged from rolling the tree around.

Get the extra-hands

Try to get your kids involved and make all of the cleaning sound amazing. Even if taking down the Christmas ornaments isn’t the funniest thing around, you can still turn it into a nice activity with your little ones. Give them specific roles: one is wrapping, one is sorting them, and one is rolling the garland and so on. After all, it’s an occasion for them to reward all the nice presents and times they just got for Christmas.

Does your house look bigger now?

You don’t really see how much space all the Christmas decorations take until you put them away. All the house seems a lot more organized and it’s definitely cluster-free. Your living room may seem bigger once the Christmas tree is out of the way and the whole house may get a fresh, clean feel.

You are blessed

We’re not very thankful for all the moments that we just had. You’re lucky to have had all the family around for Christmas or the freedom to celebrate the winter holidays the way you want it. You have your health, the friends and family and presents are nice too.

As long as you’re seeing the cleaning after Christmas as a lesson of gratitude, everything is going to get a lot easier. Not all of us have the money to decorate the house for Christmas in the first place.

Have fun watching the video “Cleaning and saying goodbye to the Christmas decorations” by Jamie Bittinger:


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