You’ve got a vision of holiday lights in your home this holiday season! Great! It’s time to jump in. Whether you’re a brand new homeowner or seasoned vet of holiday lights, here are your top tips for easy holiday lights.
Test Your Lights Beforehand
Make sure your lights work before you pull out the ladder and start stringing lights together. It’s simple advice, but often gets overlooked. Plug each strand into an outlet and check each light. It’s much easier to know if a blub (or entire strand) is out before it’s the centerpiece of your holiday display.
Plug Into GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets have a sensor inside that detects any irregular electrical activity (faults), and immediately shuts off the outlet. Most exterior outlets are GFCI outlets. You can double-check by looking for a “Test” and “Reset” button on the outlet. If the buttons exist, those are GFCI outlets.
With the additional electrical load running through your system, it’s a good idea to have all holiday lights (exterior AND interior) on GFCI outlets.
Use an Outdoor Extension Cord and Outdoor Lights
Extension cords are super useful during the holidays, and there’s a big difference between outdoor extension cords and all others. If you use an indoor cord outside, your lights may not turn on, or you could cause some serious damage or a fire. Check the packaging before purchasing, most manufacturers advertise as “for outdoor use” right on the label.
Similarly, not all holiday lights are created equal. Some are interior use only. Therefore, they can’t withstand the wind, cold, and precipitation of the great outdoors. Keep those inside. As with extension cords, manufacturers will have it right on the label.
Use Light Clips
Never drill or nail directly in the side of your home. Holes in your siding and gutters can allow water to seep in and cause some major problems down the road.
Fortunately, you can get light clips specifically designed for holiday lights! They clip on the edge of your gutter and come in plenty of shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Pick up a pack or two of these, your home’s siding will thank you.
Zip Ties Around Railing
Some holiday lights get heavy and sag when you stretch them out. Use a couple of zip ties between hang points. It helps give your display straight lines and makes them more sturdy in high winds.
Use a Timer
The holidays are a time for lots of travel. However, that leads to burglars on the look out for a vacant home and unguarded presents. During the holiday season, you can add to our security tips and put your lights on a timer. This gives the illusion someone is around, even if you’re away for the weekend.
Don’t forget to include a few interior lights on a timer too!
Now you’re armed with some of the best quick-tips to make hanging holiday lights safe and easy. Whatever you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful season!
Stuart is a North Carolina native and NC State graduate who has been a resident of the Triangle since 2012 after a 4-year adventure in New York City. This enthusiastic craft beer nerd and self-proclaimed foodie found a home among the diverse offerings of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. He lives with the love of his life, Shelby, and their rescued four-legged family member, Finnegan.