Anyone who’s seen the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation knows that decorating for the holidays can be hazardous to your health. Clark doesn’t really play it safe (and is truly lucky to be alive in the end!) In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency rooms treat more than 12,500 people for injuries every year related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Our goal is to help you install those beautiful holiday lights safely and ensure that your family stays safe throughout the season as well.
#1 Be Prepared
We get it. It’s a super fun holiday. Sometimes people get so excited to hang Christmas lights that they forget to take a moment and gather the necessary items they will need to properly hang lights. Here’s a quick list of the items, we believe are a must when hanging Christmas lights.
- Measuring Tape
- Light Hanging Clips
- Untangled Christmas Lights
- Extension Cords
- Christmas Light Timer
#2 Put Those Backyard Bar Stools Away
So you think that it’ll be easy to just stand on top of that rickety little bar stool, which is perched precariously on top of that patio table to hang your Christmas lights but trust us… it’s not easier and it’s a million times more dangerous. When you need to reach places that are high to hang lights, get a sturdy step stool or ladder. Falling is not cool, so don’t do it.
#3 Always Measure
Before you go all crazy hanging Christmas lights on your home take a second to measure out the areas that you want to put lights on. The pros always have a tape measure handy. This helps them decide how long the string lights need to be, and how many lights are actually needed to cover the areas you want to be lit up. Start by measuring the base of the house. Then measure doors and door frames, window frames, and any columns that will be lit. If hanging Christmas lights on peaks, climb up a ladder and measure along the area of the peak to be decorated. It’s no fun hanging lights and realizing you’re short by a couple of feet. If you do this, the process of hanging lights will go a lot smoother and the results will be better.
#4 Clips Please
Clips to hang your lights are amazing and are much friendlier to your home than duct tape, nails, screws, or staples. PRO TIP: Make sure to attach clips on the lights strings while you are on the ground, as not to have too much going on when you’re on the ladder. In order to achieve a professional look choose commercial grade light clips like our All Applications Clip 100 Pack. You might think to yourself “well I don’t think I really need those.” Trust me, my friend, you do, we all do. Nothing looks better than clean, straight perimeter light lines. They’ll save you hours of time messing with your lights trying to get them to stay in the correct spot.
#5 Cord Spools Are Your Friend
For some reason when you beautifully wrap Christmas lights and then store them for 11 months of the year they become a tangled mess. You might be tempted to just untangle as you go but really, that’s not the best idea, because nothing makes standing 10 ft up on a ladder more dangerous than while trying to untangle Christmas lights. Our Weather-X ® Green and White Cord Spools are approved for outdoor use and are resistant to moisture and sunlight. A UV inhibitor is mixed right into the jacket to slow the aging process that the outdoor elements create. All are 18-gauge wire. When using this type of cord, you simply measure out how much you need, cut the cord, add a Male Attach On Vampire Plug Spt-1, Green 10 Pack then add a Female In Line Attach On Vampire Plug Spt-1, Black 10 Pack. There’s no electrical experience needed and the plugs simply slide onto the cord!
#6 Use Commercial Grade Extension Cords
You think it will reach, you measured it out and you planned ahead, yeah it’ll definitely reach, but it doesn’t. Don’t freak out though, just make sure you have some great extension cords on hand. Our 18 gauge green, white and brown WEATHER-X® ZIPCORD extension cords not only make uniting Christmas lights and electricity easier, it also gives you a level of safety when it comes to power surges, which is always a plus! Cut this 18 gauge electrical wire to any length you like. Easily attach sockets and plugs, and you can configure your Christmas light strand to any space.
#7 Timing Is Everything
Absolutely no one enjoys going outside in the dark and cold to unplug Christmas lights or turn them on. Christmas light timers will make your life so much easier. Choose from ground stake timers, or two outlet mechanical timers that go off and on, dusk to dawn, at 2, 4, 6 or 8 hour intervals.
#8 Don’t Do It Alone
Let’s face it. This is not the easiest task. On top of the snow and ice, you sometimes have to deal with if you live in a colder weather part of the country, there is also trying your best to steady the ladder while you are snapping on clips to gutters. Always work with someone to hold your ladder steady and keep yourself in the center as you move up and down. Never overreach or try to move the ladder when you’re at the top.
Here are precautions you should always take:
- If it’s rainy, windy, icy, or your roof is snow-covered, DON’T GO UP! It’s just not worth it.
- Test and inspect all your lights before decorating
- Don’t use nails, screws or tacks to hang lights
- Use commercial grade extension cords that are rated for the environment where you’re hanging them and electrical load you’re putting on them
- Don’t overload electrical sockets
- Don’t put extension cords where they can be walked on or tripped over
If you must use a ladder:
- Inspect it to make sure your neighbor didn’t damage it when you loaned it out last
- Secure the ladder or have your helper hold it to prevent unexpected movement
- Get the right size ladder that will keep you off the top rungs
- Good rule of thumb: never allow your “belt buckle” area to lean out past the side rail of the ladder. This will prevent kick out.
- Consider each move to prevent losing your balance
Speaking of holiday balance, don’t drive or hang decorations while texting or buzzed on eggnog.
#9 Don’t Rush it
Hanging Christmas lights usually takes longer than you think it will. PRO TIP: After preparing and measuring make a guess at how long it will take then multiply it by 2. When professionals do it they’re often in a rhythm and they know the in’s and out’s of hanging Christmas lights on a variety of homes so they can get it done quickly and efficiently, but when you do it yourself and you only do it once every year it will take a little longer.
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