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How To Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

Installing outdoor LED Christmas lights is a great way to give your home some extra holiday spirit while saving on your energy bill. Whether you opt for icicle lights or other festive light types, we'll show you how to easily hang Christmas lights outside to make your house the pride of the neighbourhood this Christmas.

Skill Level: Intermediate
  1. Step 1 Plan Out Your Christmas Light Display

    A house is shown with no Christmas lights on it yet.

    When starting your outdoor Christmas light planning, the fist step is to decide which type of lights you’d like to display. LED bulbs are a great choice as they last longer and use less energy than other types of bulbs. They also provide better brightness as they produce more light per watt than other types of bulbs do.

    You’ll also need to decide which type of light strand you’d like to use, whether it’s icicle lights, standard light strands, or even rope lighting, which can be used to illuminate walkways and railings.

    Then you’ll need to decide where you’re going to put your lights. Are you going to run them along your roof line, wrap them around your railing, illuminate bushes and shrubbery, or even all three at the same time? Planning for this part will give you a rough idea of how many strands of lights you’ll need as well as the length of each of them.

    Be sure to pay attention to connection limits for Christmas light strands. Connecting more than the recommended amount of outdoor string light strands together can create a fire hazard. The number of light strings you can safely connect changes depending on the manufacturer.

    Finally, make sure you’ve got a direct line to an outdoor power source, and that your lights will reach it and plug in.

  2. Step 2 Untangle and Test the Lights

    A multi-coloured light strand is shown.

    If your Christmas lights are tangled, be sure to unplug them and then slowly work your way from one end, weaving it in and through the tangles to get them straightened out in no time.

    Once your lights are untangled, plug them in and test that they’re working as intended. If your strand doesn’t light up, you may have a blown bulb. You’ll need to test each bulb individually and replace the damaged one in order for your strand to work.

  3. Step 3 Choose Your Method for Hanging Christmas Lights

    Christmas lights are shown on the side of a roof.

    While there are several ways to hang your Christmas lights on your eaves, the easiest way is to use plastic clips. These clips slip easily over your eaves and your light strand just pushes right into them. This method not only ensures that they’re firmly mounted onto your home, but it also helps you get straight, flat lines that look great from the street or from afar.

    If you’re looking to add some lighting to your windows or wrap some lights around vertical columns, consider adhesive clips. They can mount almost anywhere, giving you complete flexibility as to where you can add your lights. Just be sure they’re rated for outdoor use.

    For bushes, small trees and shrubs, consider mesh lights that can be easily draped over them.

    For railings, you can wrap them through and around the railing itself and create a neat, spiral look.

  4. Step 4 Safely Install Your Christmas Lights

    A person uses a ladder to hang Christmas lights on their eaves.

    Christmas lights can safely be installed on railings, outdoor plants and low-to-the-ground items, but if you’re installing lights on high areas and hard-to-reach places like eaves, roofs and tall trees, you’ll likely need to use a ladder to help you. When using a ladder, make sure someone holds the base and consider using ladder stand-off arms to help you readily access gutters, prevent crushing, and increase ladder stability. If possible, it's best to attach Christmas light clips to the string of lights before hanging on eavestroughs. To prevent accidents, never put ladders on snow, ice or slippery surfaces.

  5. Step 5 Program and Turn on Your Outdoor Christmas Lights

    Christmas lights are shown on the outside of a home, all lit up.

    If you’re looking to get even more out of your Christmas lights this year, consider a smart timer or even smart lights. Smart timers can help you set a routine that turns your lights on and off at set times so you don’t have to worry about doing it manually. They also ensure that your lights are off when they’re not on display, helping you save energy.

    Some smart Christmas lights can display various colours, scenes and even do fancy light shows. These lights can be controlled from your smart device and give you the ultimate creative freedom to make your Christmas light show unique and amazing.

What You Need for This Project

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