How to Hang Christmas Lights

Christmas Light and Electrical SafetyChristmas day is just two weeks away now! If you haven’t put up your lights for this year, then now is the time.  There’s much to do and many things to plan for.  Sometimes the excitement is so great that we forget to keep an eye out on mundane dangers (slips, falls, and electric shocks).  So to promote a healthy and safe winter season, we wanted to give you some help with hanging your Christmas Lights this year!


Lights and decorations are a creative endeavor but, unlike many would believe, creative efforts require a good deal of planning before the first stroke is made or light is hung.  Planning your Christmas light layout is as important as actually having the lights in the first place.

Start by picking a central focus for your lights.  Do you want to accent that bay window where you can see the tree from outside?  Or maybe there’s a set of trees that would look amazing with the right lighting?  At the very least, accent the path leading up to your door as a focus for your lights.  Once you have a central focus, you can build outward for a lighting plan that shows care went into the setup.

Look for places to hang lights.  Trees, railings, pillars, and along paths are some of the most common locations for lights.  The molding around doors and windows can also make a great spot for anchoring lights.

Take careful measurements before you begin.  Obviously this means you should consider the lengths of each light string and cord before hanging your lights.  But it also means that you should take into account just how many light string you’re placing on a single electrical circuit.  You should never place more than three incandescent strings on the same circuit.  LED Christmas lights will usually list how many feet of lights can be placed on the same strand, so be aware.

Design Steps:

  1. Pick a focus
  2. Identify anchors and runs for lights
  3. Measure the length of runs and number of light strands


Gather all of your materials in advance.  Make sure you have someone else around to help if at all possible, especially when climbing a ladder.

  • Decide on the type of light source you want to use. Are you going to break out those energy-hungry incandescent strings from last year, or do you want to spend the extra money this year for efficient LEDs?
  • Test your lights in advance, replace any broken bulbs and discard light strings with frayed wires or damaged insulation.
  • Compare the colors on your light strands. For incandescent lights, not all of them will be quite the same color.  The same is true of LEDs because of the binning process (when the LED chips are separated based on colors).  Compare the lights in advance and try to keep similar colors grouped together.
  • Keep your mounting supplies handy. Light clips, staples, and even nails should be kept close at hand.  Never allow yourself to overreach or overextend yourself while hanging Christmas lights.
  • Gather any extension cords in advance. Make sure any extra cords and cables (and the lights you use) are all rated for the outdoors before you plug them in.


Now that you’re ready, it’s a simple step to set up the lights. It will take time and effort, but you should know exactly where all of your lights are going to end up.  If you want to be doubly sure, try laying out the lengths of Christmas lights along where they’ll be hung (on the ground first) to make sure that you have the right lengths.

Take your time.  Yes, Christmas is almost upon us but that’s no cause to hurry the process and risk injury.  Be sure to move the ladder rather than reaching across a large gap.  It’s better to stay safe so you can enjoy the lights when they’re finished at the end of the day.

Stay safe this holiday, both in hanging up lights and in how’re they’re hooked up to your electrical system.  If you have any issues with power, circuits, or your breaker box, just call Boulden Brothers for help!

Give us a call at (302) 368-3848 for any of your Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania home service needs — plumbing, electrical, HVAC, propane, and more!

Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

For more expert tips on maintaining a safe and efficient home, visit us on our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Google+.