How to String Lights on a Christmas Tree

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A well-lit tree adds sparkle to Christmas decorations.
Image Credit: Yana Iskayeva/Moment/GettyImages

You watched your parents hang holiday lights a dozen times or more, but may or may not remember much. Did they string lights on the Christmas tree from top to bottom? Bottom to top? Horizontally or vertically? Well, now you're on your own and thinking it's going to be a tedious pain in the neck. But you remember so well that the sight of a glorious, fully-lit tree will be beautiful enough to take your breath away, so the rewards await. And honestly, it's not going to be that bad. So take a deep breath – this is actually going to be kind of fun, and the older kids might want to help.

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Considerations: Properly Stringing Lights on a Christmas Tree

Looking for the best way to light up your tree for the holiday season? There are several different methods of stringing lights on a Christmas tree. When deciding which procedure to follow, take into consideration the number of other decorations that need to go on the tree as well as the space the tree will occupy. Heavily decorated trees usually require less lighting, and trees situated in dark places need more. The most important thing to remember is that, no matter the method, lights always need to be the first thing on the tree.

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By Yourself

Step 1: Check the Lights

Plug in all strands of lights to make sure they work. Unplug them, and then coil each string so that it's not tangled.

Step 2: Clip the End to the Treetop

Clip the end of the light strand that does not have the plug to a branch near the top of the tree. Make sure to clip the end to the inside of the tree, very close to the trunk.

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Step 3: Wrap String Lights Around the Tree

Wrap the lights around the tree, draping them on inner branches close to the trunk. Don't wrap them tightly, but make sure that the rows are spaced close together. When the first strand runs out, connect the second strand and continue until the tree's inner branches are filled.

Step 4: Drape the Next Strand

Drape another strand of lights on the tree's outer branches, starting at the top. Spacing the rows fairly widely, wrap the strand around the tree. Connect a second strand to the first strand when it runs out, and continue until the outer branches are lit.

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Step 5: Plug in the Lights and Adjust

Plug the inner and outer lights into a power strip and flip them on. The tree should appear to glow from within. Adjust the outer lights to fill any holes. This method works very well in dimly lit rooms and with trees that have few or solid-colored decorations.

Step 6: Test the Lights

Test the lights to make sure they're working and coil them so that they aren't tangled.

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Step 7: Start From the Bottom Section

Divide the tree into thirds vertically. Plug the first strand of lights into the power strip. Beginning at the bottom of the tree, weave the lights back and forth within their section. Keep the lights on the outer branches and make sure that there are no gaping spaces or dark spots. Connect a second strand of lights to the first, if needed.

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Step 8: String the Other Two Sections

Repeat the process with the other two sections of the three. This method lights the tree a bit more subtly and is especially good when using strands with small bulbs because they tend to tangle when wrapped around the tree.

With a Partner

Step 1: Test the Lights

Test the strings of lights to make sure they work and coil them.

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Step 2: Weaving From the Top

Stand at the tree across from a partner. Start at the top of the tree. Clip the end without the plug to the top branch. Wrap the lights around the tree, weaving them from inner to outer branches. Pass the strand to your partner when the lights reach the partner's side of the tree. Have your partner proceed with the stringing, then pass them back to you when they return to your side of the tree.

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Step 3: Finish Wrapping the Lights

Continue to wrap and pass the lights, connecting more strands if necessary, until the tree is trimmed from top to bottom. Plug the lights into a power strip and rearrange any spots that are dark or empty. Though this method requires two people, it is the quickest and the easiest way of stringing lights on the Christmas tree to alter once the lights are on the tree.

Warning

Always consult the packaging before stringing lights on the Christmas tree. Connecting too many strands or connecting strands of different types can pose a fire hazard.

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