How to String Lights on a Christmas Tree

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A well-lit tree adds sparkle to Christmas decorations.
A well-lit tree adds sparkle to Christmas decorations. (Image: Jill Smith)

Looking for the best way to light up your tree for the holiday season? There are several different methods of lighting 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 to alter once the lights are on the tree.

Tips & Warnings

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