How to Hang Christmas Lights


Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

For many of us, driving around the neighborhood and admiring the lights is a favorite memory of the Christmas season. But, decking the halls is no small feat. Each Christmas, Americans spend over $1,000 decorating for Christmas. And despite the high price tag, that number doesn’t account for the labor, stress, and risk that comes with hanging lights. Tired of tangled strings, burned-out bulbs, and teetering ladders while you try to hang your Christmas lights? Read on to learn more about how to hang Christmas lights.

How to Hang Christmas Lights Like a Pro

Whether you’re hanging Christmas lights inside or outside, the job is always more complicated than it may seem at first. There are several important considerations to take into account before you climb up the ladder. But, taking these into account, you can ensure that your lights look merry and bright.

Choose the Right Lights

When it’s time to buy Christmas lights, take some time to consider what kind of lights work best for you. Here are the main elements to consider when you’re deciding which lights are best for your home:

  • Indoor vs outdoor lights
  • Color of the wire and bulb
  • LED vs incandescent
  • Style of the lights, such as string, rope, icicle, or net
  • Spacing of bulbs on the wire

Depending on your decorations’ complexity, you may need many different types of lights.

Measure Up

exterior lighting Home christmas lights and tree with red and white lights by The Perfect Light

Once you have decided on what lights work best for you, it’s time to pull out the measuring tape and get to work.

Most light strings are measured in length. If you have a clear measurement of all the areas you would like covered in lights, you shouldn’t have trouble shopping for enough lights. For outdoor trees, you should purchase 200 mini tree lights for each vertical 18 inches.

There’s nothing worse than getting to the very end of your roofline and realizing that you don’t have enough lights to complete the job. So, make sure you double-check your measurements.

Consider the Weather

If you’re hanging lights outdoors, the last thing you want is to get stuck in a snowstorm while climbing a ladder. To stay safe and comfortable while hanging Christmas lights, consider the weather before heading out and getting to work.

The best way to avoid a weather disaster is to plan ahead. Take a look at the weather forecast and pick a day with mild weather. Earlier in the year, you are less likely to have your light-hanging plans disrupted by ice, snow, or low temperatures.

Additionally, with shorter daylight hours in the winter months, you will want to make sure to start early so that you aren’t working in the dark.

Safety First

Safety should be your first consideration while you are hanging your Christmas lights and throughout the holiday season. Fires from holiday decorations cause $8.9 million worth of property damage yearly.

outdoor Christmas lights with wreaths and garlands

As you are stringing together various strands of lights, pay attention to the instructions that come with your lights. Some boxes will specify how many strands can safely be connected before you need to start over with a new strand plugged in separately. 

To protect against shortages that can lead to a fire, connect all of your light strands to a GFCI-protected outlet. If you need to purchase extension cords, be sure to check that they are safe for outdoor use and GFCI-protected.

Gather Your Materials

The decorating day has come, and it’s finally time to gather your materials. Here are the most important materials to remember:

  • A safe and secure ladder
  • Light clips
  • Measuring tape
  • Christmas lights

Plastic light clips are a quick and easy way to hang lights, particularly when you are hanging them along your roofline. You might also want to have a staple gun, string, or other materials for hanging lights on trees or in other areas of your home.

Test Your Lights

We’ve all experienced frustration when you plug in your lights for the big reveal only to discover that one of the strings of lights has burned out, leaving a gap in your decorating.

Before climbing up the ladder, test each strand of lights by plugging them into an outlet. If you find that only a few bulbs or a strand segment are not lighting up, you can use a bulb test kit to try and identify which bulb needs replacing.

red and white outdoor Christmas Lights

Don’t Do the Job Solo

As you’ve probably gathered by now, hanging Christmas lights is not a quick and easy task that you can do by yourself. Instead, a partner will help you to stay safe and can also make the time go faster.

While you are on a ladder, you should have a partner spotting the ladder. Your partner can also help pass new lights to you so you don’t have to keep climbing up and down.

Consider Calling in the Pros

If you’re reading through this guide, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed. There’s a lot to consider when you’re decorating your home with Christmas lights. 

Professional exterior decorating services are a great option if you are going for complex decorations or just want to save yourself the hassle. The Perfect light takes care of installation, maintenance, tear down, and most importantly, ensuring that you are absolutely thrilled with your home. This way, you can ensure that the final product looks polished, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Read more about Professional Landscape Lighting

Outdoor Christmas lights on home and shrubs

Soak Up the Christmas Spirit

Most importantly, take the time to enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations in your home. After all of your hard work on the interior, you can stand back and take in the bright lights illuminating your home on the exterior. By leaving your outdoor lights to the professionals at The Perfect Light, you can spend more time with your loved ones doing what you love during the holidays.

You might even consider planning a walking tour with your neighbors. Sip on hot cocoa and walk from house to house in your neighborhood, admiring the many ways you can express Christmas joy by decorating your home.

Make This Holiday Season Stress-Free

Trying to figure out how to hang Christmas lights can be a hassle. This Christmas, save yourself the stress and leave it to the professionals.

At The Perfect Light, we’ve been delivering Christmas joy to Texas homes since 2001. Request a free estimate today to learn how we can help make your holidays merry and bright without hassle.

Now that your halls are decked, it’s time to head out to the stores for Christmas shopping and start checking things off your list!

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