Nothing stamps yuletide cheer to the winter more than Christmas decorations. Although malls and stores usually take initiative to liven up the spirit, the most impressive and breathtaking decorations tend to appear on the exterior of people’s homes. You know the feeling: you’re driving around your neighborhood one winter night and your jaw drops at the sight on an elaborate Christmas light set-up. “How do they do it?” you think. “How can one house light-up the entire neighborhood?” Perhaps you want to get in on the action.
Well, now you can. Hanging up Christmas lights won’t just amplify the energy around your home; it will bring a smile to your neighbor’s faces as well. It can also be an uplifting winter DIY project and a fun way to bring the family together during the holidays! That being said, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Here’s how to do it right.
Make Sure Your Roof Is Ready for Lights
Before you get started, it’s important to confirm that hanging up lights is even a possibility. There are many things that can get in the way of the process, so it’s important to assess the situation so you don’t find yourself in danger later-on. Chances are, hanging up lights will require you to walk on your roof. That’s why it’s important to make sure your roof has been maintained enough to support your weight. Take a look at your roof and if you spot any broken tiles or shingles, get those taken care of before you decorate.
Gutters are a great place to hang your lights, so you want to make sure those gutters have been cleared before you decorate them. Think about what other parts of your house will need to support the lights and make sure there are no issues with them beforehand. Your chimney can be a great thing to decorate, so make sure it’s in good condition before you try to jazz it up. Winterization is very important in general, so it’s best if your light-hanging project doubles as a time to make sure your home has everything it needs to get through the biting winter. Once you’ve established that, you can go to town!
Come Up With A Design
Here’s the fun part. Before you jump into hanging up the lights, make sure you have a plan. Think about how your home’s exterior layout. What parts of your house can you hang your lights on? What different types of lights will go in each area? How minimalist or maximalist do you want to go with your lighting? How will your lights complement your other Christmas decorations or other lights in your neighborhood? This is when you can figure out what decoration scheme will reflect what you want to do with your home. If you just buy a bunch of lights and hang them up without a vision, you can end up with something underwhelming at best and messy at worst.
Buy Your Materials
Here’s where you make your investment. There is a lot of equipment you need to make this work. Of course, you’ll need lights. However, Christmas lights come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, so make sure you know how much of each type you need to make your design work. Feel free to get creative with your color scheme, but make sure you hang up the lights with purpose. You will also need extension cords and light clips. Make sure the extension cords you use are UL approved for outdoors use; otherwise, they might result in a power outage or, even worse, an electrical emergency. Different light clips will be needed depending on what part of your house you’re decorating.
You also need to make sure you know where your outlets are. It’s important to use GFCI outlets that shut the circuit down in the case of overcurrent. If your home doesn’t have these, you risk blowing a fuse. But don’t worry, they are inexpensive to install! Before you hang up your lights, test them to make sure they work. You don’t want to find out that they don’t once you’ve already hung them up.
Decorate Your Roof and Decks
Start by hanging up lights on the shingles of your roof. You’ll want to place the first bulb of your light on the part of your roof closest to the outlet. Wrap your lights tightly around the exterior of your house. To ensure that they don’t sag or fall off, use all-purpose light clips to clip the lights to your gutters or shingles. Decide whether you want your lights clipped onto your roof or hanging down. If you want to decorate your porch or exterior railings, deck clips might be right for you. This is relatively easier and safer to do because it doesn’t require as much climbing. Once you’ve hung all the lights up, connect them to an extension cord.
Decorate Your Trees
If you have trees around your house, they could use some lighting as well. However, it is much more dangerous to rest a ladder against a tree, so make sure you use a light-hanging pole if you want to get your trees involved. You can decorate trees either by hanging a net light over them or wrapping regular mini-lights around the branches or trunks of your tree. Make sure you know how much lighting you need for each tree. A good rule of thumb is to divide the height of the tree trunk or branch by the space you want to leave between each strip of lights. Multiply that number by the circumference of the branch/trunk and that will be how much lighting you need. Make sure you have a feasible way of connecting tree lights to an outlet or extension cord before you commit to hanging them.
Admire Your Masterpiece
Now that you’ve hung up all your lights, you can flip the switch, sit back and take it all in. Trust us, nothing will be quite as satisfying as seeing how much joy your house will radiate into the air now that it is adorned with beautiful lights. Make sure you have an easy way to turn these lights on and off. It can be a good idea to get a timer; that way you can make sure that you aren’t wasting power by leaving all the lights on during the day.