Whether they are all-white, colorful, twinkling or static, no Christmas tree is complete without lights. Putting on the lights can be the most tedious part of decorating a Christmas tree. However, a bit of planning can make the process smoother. Being intentional about the placement of lights will also help enhance the tree's overall appearance once you are finished.
Determine How Many Lights
Before you begin trimming a Christmas tree, you should determine how many strings of lights you will need in order to avoid falling short. For average lighting, 100 standard-size lights per foot of the tree's height are recommended. This means that a 6-foot tree calls for 600 lights. If you are going for a minimalist look, 50 lights per foot will do. If you want really intense lighting, go for 200 lights per foot.
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Once you have determined how many lights you need, consider the kind of lights you want to use. There are color-changing lights, strings of lights that are equipped to play music and so forth. Also make sure that all the lights you purchase are the same wattage to avoid electrical problems later.
Hanging Lights on the Tree
The most common way to put lights in a Christmas tree is in a horizontal pattern. If you are decorating a real Christmas tree rather than wrapping strings of lights all around the entire tree, you should mentally divide the tree into three or four triangular sections from top to bottom. Add lights in a zig-zag pattern to each section until the tree is completely covered. For a more bold, original look, hang the lights vertically instead.
If you are using an artificial tree, it will likely be divided into three segments : top, middle and bottom. In this case, simply wrap the lights around each section individually. One of the advantages of using an artificial tree instead of a real tree is that once Christmas has passed, you can store the tree with the lights already on it to save yourself the work next year.
Tips for Hanging Tree Lights
The last thing you want to do is spend an hour or more adding strings of lights to a Christmas tree only to realize that some of the lights are not functioning. Before you put any lights on a tree, you should therefore plug in each string of lights to make sure all the bulbs work. For safety reasons, you want to avoid plugging in more than two strings of lights together. You can prevent this by purchasing lights that are the right length.
Whether you are hanging lights vertically or horizontally, you want to make sure that the electric plug is as close to the bottom of the tree as possible rather than at the top. Wrapping lights over and under branches helps cover more space. Remember to cover the back of the tree with lights as well.
Pushing some lights deep into the tree rather than leaving them all on the ends of the branches helps to create depth and dimension. You can also hide the connectors by pushing them toward the trunk, where they will be obscured by lights and ornaments.