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Decorating for Christmas can bring up the same feelings many people get when traveling: Love the destination, hate the journey. If you're someone who just wants the house to be decked out in Santa-related decor already, the idea of having to go outside—potentially in the freezing cold—can really make you dread the festivities. Well, not this year. From now on, you're going to be the absolute master of string lights thanks to our complete guide on how to hang Christmas lights safely and efficiently. We're going to help you can spend as little time out in the cold and on the ladder as possible.
You may be tempted to call in the professionals to come out twice a year for the setup and teardown (and if you can afford to, why not?), but we're confident that you can do it yourself. The main thing is not to give up. You don't want to be the only Scrooge in the neighborhood whose house doesn't have lights. We suggest buying supplies early so you don't feel rushed, and maybe installing them before it starts to feel like a tundra outside. Hanging your Christmas lights in early October doesn't mean you have to switch them on. On that same note, if you really don't like putting Christmas lights up year after year, simply leave them up year round and plug them in only when the holiday spirit moves you.
Whenever you do decide to hang up those twinkling string lights, ensure you're doing so in a way that's as safe as possible. Read below for our guide on how to hang your outdoor Christmas lights with ease.
How to Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors
Plastic string light clips
Outdoor extension cord (optional)
Hot glue gun and supplies (optional)
Self-adhesive hooks (optional)
Power stake (optional)
Waterproof outdoor timer
Step One: Measure Your House
Before you buy Christmas string lights, you need to measure the outside of your house. If you want to hang lights around the entire perimeter, you have to know how many feet that'll take. That requires stepping up on the ladder if your house has gables, but if your roofline is flat, you can save yourself the climb trouble and measure around the base of your home for a pretty clean estimate. Be sure to keep in mind where the nearest electrical outlet is located and add extra length if needed to reach it.
Once you're finished measuring, buy your favorite style of outdoor string lights: plain white, yellow, twinkling, icicle, rainbow—the options are practically endless.
Step Two: Double Check the Lights
There's nothing worse than hanging up Christmas lights or painstakingly wrapping them around every branch just to be met with absolutely nothing when you finally plug them in. Even if not all the bulbs are out, any break in the lights is not what we're looking for during the holidays. So, before you go hanging up your lights on your gutters, give them a test drive and plug them in to ensure they're all working.
Step Three: Attach the Hanging Clips
No need to use a staple gun à la Clark Griswold. Christmas light hanging clips make the job much easier (and safer). This might seem obvious, but please do not attach the clips to your string lights when you're up on the ladder. Do it before you climb up, while you're safe and grounded. Attach the clips evenly along the light strands. We recommend spacing them out no more than a foot apart for crisp lines.
Step Four: Hang the Lights
Once again, keeping in mind where the nearest outlet is, begin hanging your lights. There are a few ways to go about the outlet situation. You can begin by attaching an extension cord up the side of your house with hot glue or Command hooks so you won't have to worry about excess lights hanging down the side of your house to reach the outlet, or you can pass on the extension cord and simply start at the back of your house so the section of lights that inevitably hangs down to reach the outlet isn't as noticeable. If you choose to use a power stake, insert it into the ground toward the back of your house before you get started.
Now is the time to step on that ladder (with someone at the bottom to stabilize it) and begin attaching the clips to your gutters, shingles, roofline, or railings. Move along the line with your preattached clips, climbing down from the ladder to move it along the perimeter as needed.
Step Five: Plug 'Em In!
Time to relish in all your hard work! Once every strand is up, head toward your chosen power source and plug those Christmas lights into a waterproof timer. You won't have to worry about going out every evening to plug them in, and it'll keep the power source safe when it rains or snows. Now your place looks merry and bright!
Outdoor Christmas Lights
Outdoor Stake Timer
Outdoor Christmas Lights
All-Purpose Holiday Light Clips
Outdoor Light Timer
Outdoor Black Extension Cord
Outdoor Light Clips
A Frame 4 Step Extension Ladder
Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape
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