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  • Writer's pictureThe True North Handyman

Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights Like a Pro

Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights

In our community we have a holiday decorating competition. It started last year, and a whole host of families participated. Not only did the participation money raised go to charity, but it gave everyone a magical activity to do, especially important as Covid had many of us limited. We bundled up one night, loaded the dogs into the car, stopped by Tim Hortons for some holiday fare, and drove around taking in all the incredible decorations.

Now, where we live, many houses are already decorated. The trees are lit up, the eaves twinkling, and the blow up snowmen, Santas, Grinches, and storm troopers are swaying in their 10-foot-tall glory. But if you haven't started the decorating yet, don't worry - we've got the tips for hanging Christmas lights that make it A) easy and B) beautiful. Whether your style is classic and clean or likely to make Clark Griswold proud (that's how we roll), this post will help.

Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights Like a Pro

Ready, set, decorate! Use these tips for hanging Christmas lights to safely create a holiday setting all the neighbours will enjoy (and envy)!

1. Have a Plan. It may be tempting to just drag those boxes and bins out of the garage and go to town, but hold on! Think about the design you want to go with, what you'll need to pull it off, and how you're going to get it done. Want to just do the roofline? Nice. Want to wrap those front cedars? Beauty. Feel like the front railing could use a strand or two? Perfect. Just spend a few minutes evaluating what you have, what you may need, and where you're going to put everything. And choosing a theme at the beginning will help maintain a cohesive look.

2. Test, Test, Test. We mentioned Clark Griswold earlier, and he features heavily in this tip. He and Rusty tested all the bulbs before stapling them to the roof - and you need to do the same (not the stapling part, mind you). Test each strand before you climb that ladder and replace any burnt-out bulbs.

3. Use the Right Equipment. There's a big difference between indoor and outdoor lights. Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters. Outdoor lights will often have extra protection to keep water and snow from causing a problem. The same goes for your extension cords - make sure the ones you're using are meant for outdoor use! And, to avoid running cords everywhere, try power stakes—portable devices that bring power where you need it!

4. Watch the Weather. We may be a bit late on this one, but you've still got time to pick a day that won't have you cursing Mother Nature as icicles form in your nostrils. Pick a day that will be clear, and dress accordingly. Putting up lights in a blizzard or rain storm isn't fun, let alone safe. And speaking of safety...

5. Safety First. No one wants a Christmas-light-hanging mishap, so be safe. And let’s be honest: ladders can be scary. Consider how you can decorate without heading up on the rooftop (we're not reindeer after all). Go for shrubs in the garden, or decorate the front railing. Using a ladder? Make sure you're on level ground and that the ladder has stable footing before climbing. And of course, it's best to do it during the day.

6. Have Help. Hanging holiday lights and decor may not seem like a team activity, but for safety reasons it's always good to have a partner. Having someone hold the ladder or even just the end of a strand to prevent tangles can be huge when it comes to safety. Call in that favour, trade time with a neighbour, or get your older kids to help!

Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights: After the Holidays

We don't want to wish away the holiday season, especially when we're just now sharing tips for hanging Christmas lights, but since we're on the topic...

When it’s time for the lights to come down, employ those same safety measures to avoid any risk. And, make sure that when you take those lights and decorations down that they're not put away wet.

It may be tempting to just bundle them up and toss them in that bin for next year, but you may regret it. If the lights are stored away with any moisture for prolonged periods, they are likely to corrode. Place them in a well ventilated container with holes cut in the sides. Make sure that they are stored away bone dry. This will save you time and money next year when it comes time to decorate once more.

Happy Holidays all, and safe decorating!

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