How to Get Power to Christmas Lights Which Are Outside

There are two ways to power outdoor Christmas lights that illuminate the exterior of your house: using an outdoor light socket or power from a basement. You can also augment these power-supplying methods by using lights that do not run on electric power. When you are running power outside your home, always be mindful of power loads and make sure your home is protected from the elements.

Things You'll Need

  • Outdoor light socket outlet

  • External-grade extension cord

  • Duct tape

  • Power strip with on/off switch

  • Foam board insulation

  • Solar-powered light set

  • Battery-powered light set

Using an Exterior Light Socket

Step 1

Remove the light bulb from one of your exterior porch lights. Make sure you can control this porch light with a switch inside the house. Also make sure the outlet is under a covering that will protect it from the elements.

Step 2

Install an exterior light socket outlet into your lighting fixture. An exterior light socket outlet screws into the light socket of your exterior light fixture just like a light bulb. It will create two external outlets for you to use. It can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store. Be sure to purchase one that is rated for the outdoors.

Step 3

Plug an external-grade extension cord into the lighting fixture outlet. Run the end to where your light display is located.

Step 4

Cover any missing portions of the lighting fixture exterior with duct tape to protect it from the elements. In some cases, you may have to remove a glass panel from the covering of your exterior light fixture in order to make the outlet accessible to the extension cord. Wrap duct tape around the extension cord and open area to protect it from the elements.

Step 5

Run the extension cord out of the way of heavily trafficked areas to make sure no one trips over it and damages the light fixture.

Step 6

Plug the extension cord into the exterior-rated power strip you are using and then plug your lights into the power strip.

Using Basement Power

Step 1

Choose an outlet in your basement that is close to the window facing your outdoor Christmas lighting display. If you cannot control that outlet with a switch, then plug a power strip with an on/off switch into the outlet. That will allow you to turn your lights on and off from inside the house.

Step 2

Open the basement window closest to the designated outlet.

Step 3

Plug an external-grade extension cord into the outlet and run the other end outside towards your lighting display.

Step 4

Close the window gently over the extension cord. Be sure to leave some slack on the part of the cord that is inside the house.

Step 5

Pack foam board insulation pieces in the window opening and around the extension cord. Secure everything in place by covering the window opening with duct tape. The duct tape and insulation will help keep the snow and ice out of your basement during the Christmas season. Check on the duct tape and insulation once a week to make sure it does not need replacing.

Step 6

Plug an external-grade power strip into the extension cord and then plug your lights into the power strip.


Use solar-powered Christmas light sets to augment your display. They do not require a power source. You can also use battery-powered Christmas lights if you do not have access to either a basement plug or an outdoor light fixture.


Always check the wattage limit on exterior light socket outlets. Do not exceed that limit with what you plug into the sockets or you run the risk of fire. LED lights draw very little power and are excellent for these situations.

References & Resources