How to Wrap Lights on a Christmas Tree

Do you ever stop to admire someone else’s Christmas tree and wonder how they produced such a gorgeous shimmering effect with their tree lights? Well, there’s no reason your Christmas tree lights can’t look just as good. The trick to excellent Christmas tree lighting is knowing how many lights to use and how to hang them for maximum impact. Check more out at CTD.

Read on for our handy guide, and your Christmas tree lights will be the envy of family and friends this festive season!

How Many Christmas Lights Does a Tree Need?

Some people prefer a minimalist approach to Christmas lights, while for others, there is no such thing as too many lights on a tree. Neither approach is right or wrong – the perfect number of lights on a Christmas tree depends entirely on personal preference.

However, as a general rule, aim for around 100 lights per foot of a tree. So, for example, a 5-foot tree should have around 500 lights, a 6-foot tree around 600 lights, and so on.

Are White or Coloured Christmas Tree Lights Best?

Again, this is completely down to personal preference. Look online for inspiration and to see what effect you prefer. Maybe you like the wintry feel of cool white lights, or do you prefer the cosy glow from warm white bulbs? Alternatively, do you want your lights to colour-match the rest of your festive decor, or does a tree covered in multi-coloured lights fill you with nostalgia?

Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Even if all your friends have opted for warm white lights, nothing is stopping you from decorating in cool or colourful tones. After all, you want your tree to stand out from the crowd to be the focal point of your Christmas decor, so make it a talking point.

Before You Begin

The task of putting lights on a Christmas tree really begins the previous January, when you take your decorations down from the year before. Ensure lights are carefully stored away after New Year and they’ll be so much easier to work with in December. Wrap light strands around a coat hanger or empty crisps tube to help prevent them from getting tangled, making the job much less frustrating at Christmas.

Gather everything you need before you start hanging lights, ensuring you have all the extension cords and replacement bulbs you might need. Keep a step ladder nearby for hanging lights on high branches. Ensure cables and the extension cord comfortably reaches the plug socket.

Always plug the lights in to check all the bulbs work before you hang them on the tree. Imagine the disappointment when you’ve gone to all the effort of stringing lights and hanging decorations just to get to the grand switch on and find they don’t work. Unplug lights again once you’ve tested them and place them on the tree unlit.

The Best Methods for Hanging Christmas Tree Lights

There is no right or wrong way to hang Christmas tree lights, but some ways are easier and therefore, more popular than others. Placing lights randomly around the tree can lead to bare branches and uneven lighting. Even worse, it can lead to string lights becoming a tangled mess that is impossible to unravel. The 2 most popular methods of hanging lights on a Christmas tree are horizontally and vertically.

How to Hang Tree Lights Vertically

This method has become popular in the last few years, partly because it is quick, easy and perfect for trees in tight spaces.

In your mind’s eye, split the tree into even triangular sections from the top of the tree to the bottom. Start at the base and thread a strand of lights upwards, hooking it over one of the top branches. Bring it back down and loop it around one of the bottom branches. Continue up and down, going around the tree in a zig-zag pattern to create the triangular sections you mapped out in your head.

Stringing lights vertically gives a fabulous glow as the bulbs don’t get hidden by branches. It also makes the lights easier to take down when the festivities are over for another year.

How to Hang Tree Lights Horizontally

Hanging lights horizontally is the more traditional way to decorate a Christmas tree. Start at the bottom of the tree and drape the lights over the lower branches. Work in a spiral pattern, moving upwards around the tree and carrying on until you’ve covered the whole tree.

This method is best for hiding light strands while allowing the bulbs to shine. Try to space the rows so the tree branches are evenly lit.

Mix Things Up

Some of the best Christmas tree lighting displays are created by mixing and matching lights to create added interest. Combine larger lights with small LED lights to add interest, or mix white lights with coloured bulbs for a unique tree. Create depth by placing some lights closer to the tree’s trunk than others, and ensure you have enough lights on your tree to make it sparkle.

What Are LED Lights, and Why Should I Use Them?

LED lights are taking over from more traditional incandescent bulbs, and not without good reason. LEDs use less energy, making them cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly. They don’t heat up as much as incandescent lights, so they can be left on for longer periods (though you should always turn off Christmas lights overnight and when you’re not at home.)

Unlike incandescent fairy lights, LED lights don’t use filaments. Instead, they use diodes, which means they are much less likely to break. While they may cost more upfront, LEDs don’t need to be replaced often and are much more cost-efficient to run, making them well worth the money.

Tips and Considerations to Safely Hang Tree Lights

Over 1,000 people are injured by their Christmas trees every year. Make sure you’re not one of them by following these safety tips:

  • Check your Christmas lights carry the UKCA and/or CE markings before plugging them in. These marks show the product is safe to use in the UK and EU respectively.
  • Inspect the bulbs for damage and replace them if they aren’t in tip-top condition.
  • Ensure lights are turned off at the plug socket before trying to fix them.
  • Make sure the Christmas tree is steady before you start hanging lights.
  • Don’t try to reach high branches without using a step ladder.
  • Ensure power sockets don’t get overloaded.
  • Move cables and extension cords out of the way to stop them from becoming a tripping hazard.

Christmas trees aren’t Christmas trees without twinkling lights, and whether you opt for a real Christmas tree or an artificial one, lights can make or break it. Take the time to hang lights carefully, ensuring the lights cover the entire tree evenly to make your tree the envy of your friends and neighbours.

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