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The best way to put lights on an artificial Christmas tree

Image Source: www.neverhomemaker.com

Source: www.neverhomemaker.com

Imagine spending hours decorating for the holidays, getting every last ornament, the garland and tinsel perfectly hung, finally sitting down to enjoy your handiwork and then THIS happens….#holidaylightingFAIL#!!! Lol- I don’t mean to laugh, really I don’t, it’s just that this has been us for the past several years. Everything has been beautifully decorated and a week later, half the lights on the tree don’t work and fuses are blown etc. (I really hope I am not bringing some holiday lighting karma on us for laughing.) Let’s all take a moment and breathe.

If this “light-mare” has you running scared, don’t be. There is no need to run out and purchase a costly pre-lit tree. In my opinion they never have enough lights per linear foot and are just as prone to light failure as any other tree with more hassle in light replacement than traditional trees. Here are some valuable tips for lighting an artificial Christmas tree.

Image courtesy of The Department of Energy

Do your lights look like this after they come out of storage? If so this is your first problem. It seems like Christmas lights multiply off season and spend their time twisting into knots that would challenge even the most seasoned sailor. Proper storage will increase the life of your lights and will make installation easier. The best way I have found to store lights is to wind them around a large ribbon spool. If you don’t have leftover spools from your tree ribbon you can use an empty paper towel roll or you could cut a wrapping paper tube into smaller sections and use it.

Here is DH (“Darling Husband”) stringing the lights onto one of our artificial trees. Notice he is doing this in sections? Keeping the upper sections tied up and out of the way allows good visibility and it is easier to wind the strands in and through the branches. It is also a good time to shape your branches for a life-like look. A good rule of thumb is to use 100 lights per linear foot of tree. So, for example, our 9′ tree would need a minimum of 900 lights. When lighting your tree always be sure to follow the manufacturers directions. Use bulbs of the same wattage to prevent power surges and avoid over-loading your circuits. Never string together more than 300 lights end to end to avoid blown fuses. This is where an extension cord with multiple housings is a God-send.

Never wrap your lights around and around the tree. Not only do you see the light strand in the spaces between branches, this makes it difficult to remove the lights should one strand go out (heaven forbid!) and it doesn’t evenly disperse the lights for the best display.

Instead illuminate your tree from within by wrapping lights around the base of the trunk and weaving individual branches from the trunk to the tip of the branch and back. Repeat this same step and work your way up the tree. This is how the pre-lit trees are strung. It also is a more secure way to string your lights.

Don’t forget to step back and admire your handwork as you do each layer of the tree. Stepping back will allow you to see if there are any holes or “black spots” so that you can then adjust your lights, if needed. Here is our tree completely lit. You will notice that the lights are not just on the outside but are throughout the tree. I won’t lie, this method is more time-consuming than others but it is WORTH IT! (No comment from DH) Anything worth doing is worth doing well, I always say.

Here is our tree completely decorated. No “lightmares” this season. I hope you don’t have any either 🙂 For more pictures of our home decorated for the holidays, click here.
~Beautiful Home Ideas

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