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How Do I Decorate My Home with Christmas Lights?

Christmas lights on a house

One of the best parts of the Christmas season? Untangling that mass of Christmas lights, climbing the ladder and creating your own lighting display year after year for all the neighbors to enjoy. But before your home will rival that of even Clark Griswold, we’ll show you how to quickly and easily transform your home into the gem of the neighborhood.

Below you’ll find a few steps that will transform your home into the talk of the town this and every Christmas.

What Kind of Lights? – First, determine what kind of lights you’ll be using. Icicle lights give the illusion of, well, icicles by utilizing varying lengths of drops, usually spaced six inches apart. Going for that classic look? Try using C7 or C9 bulbs to line your roof, or even the ridgeline of your roof for a unique touch. After deciding what kind of lights you’re going to use, you’ll need clips to hang them. We recommend using all-in-one clips, as these work with lots of types of lights (for a demonstration of these clips, see the video below).

Test Your Lights – The last thing you want to do is spend hours hanging your lights, only to discover half of them don’t work, so make sure you test them before hanging them. If you have any sets with missing or burned out bulbs, ensure you replace the bulbs with those from the same type of set. For example, if you’re replacing bulbs on a set of 50 lights, only use replacement bulbs from a set of 50 lights with the same amperage, as both sets use different voltages and could cause premature burn out. Also, avoid connecting light sets of differing numbers of lights. You don’t want to connect a 35-light set to a 150-light set, as the milliamps are different and you could face a premature burnout or even a fire. Now this only applies to incandescent mini lights, not LEDs or C7 or C9 bulbs.

Hang Your Lights – Once you’ve decided which lights you’re going to string up and where you’re going to hang them, it’s time to grab your gear and get to it. Timers are all-around great products, but they can play an especially vital role in reducing your electricity costs during the holiday season. If you’re going to use a timer, it’s recommended to have the lights kick on at dusk, and shut off either at midnight or at dawn. This eliminates those days when you forget to unplug your lights when heading off to work or forgetting to plug them in at night.  To make the whole light installation process faster, easier, and safer, it’s a good idea to install the clips on your lights while on the ground. While you’re on the ladder, avoid standing on the top rung and stretching too far. Christmas won’t be as much fun with a dislocated shoulder or a broken arm. The saying “measure twice, cut once” not only applies to carpentry, but to holiday lighting as well. Measure how much distance you’re going to need for your lights. There’s nothing worse than a bare spot on your roof line.

When hanging your lights, the most important thing to remember is to have fun and be creative. On that note, we’d love to see your lighting displays, so send us pictures of your decked out homes on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

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Jordan Loa

Jordan is a copywriter at 1000Bulbs.com. Check back often for new entries in his "Light Post" series of happenings in the world of lighting.