With some careful planning and the right products and tools, your Christmas light display can be the envy of the neighbourhood. Here are 10 tips to make the most stunning Christmas light displays this winter.
1. Pick your focal point and light it well
Lighting a small area very well is much more effective than thinly lighting a large area with a small number of strings. Pick a beautiful, symmetrical tree, or light an architecturally interesting roofline, and decorate it in a way that stops people in their tracks.
2. Use lights that last!
Nothing is more frustrating than spending an entire weekend decorating in the cold, and then having a hard-to-reach bulb or string burn out. Make sure to use lights built to withstand snowy winters. These include LED strings with water-tight plugs, or LED roofline bulbs that are easily replaced, preventing you from ever having to throw away an entire line. Always use commercial grade LED Christmas lights – the same stuff that the pros use and that are available to anyone at Big Star Lights.
3. Avoid ladders when possible
Let’s be honest: ladders are scary. Avoid them by using a painting pole with a hook or Christmas light dispenser on the end of it. Not only will you be safer decorating from the ground, but you’ll be able to do it faster too.
4. Choose a theme!
If you prefer a traditional look, warm white LED lights that match the colour of the old incandescent bulbs you may have grown up with will achieve this. Add a few more traditional hues such as red or green if you’d like a pop of colour, or go to town with the whole rainbow, especially if you have kids around! For a more modern look, choose colder colours like pure white, blue, and unique ones like pink, teal, or purple. When used carefully, multiple colours in your display can add a lot of magic and make it wonderfully captivating.
5. Make your wires discrete
Ensure that it’s the lights that get noticed… not the wires. Rooflines can be decorated perfectly by choosing a wire colour that most closely matches your trim, with options of black, green, white, or brown wire. Furthermore, choose from clear or black clips to attach them with. If you’re wrapping the branches of a deciduous tree, choose brown wire mini-lights, or if it’s an evergreen tree, choose green wire mini-lights. When it’s day time and the lights are off, your decor won’t be noticeable, but when it’s dark and they light up, the wires won’t distract from the magic.
6. Decorate safely
Hanging Christmas lights can be down-right dangerous if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken. If you need to set foot on the roof, always use fall-protection including rope and a harness. Also, make sure that the roof and feet of the ladder are clear of debris, ice or snow. Ladders can be made more safe by using stand-off arms that provide a wider stance against the building. Ladder levelers for uneven ground are also a great idea. Of course, a spotter holding the ladder at the bottom is a must. If it feels risky, it is risky, so consider lighting something else instead or hiring a professional. Remember, at the end of the day it’s you that makes Christmas special – not the lights!
7. Choose the right bulb size
There are lots of bulb sizes available, but how do you choose which one is best? For very small shrubs, use outdoor-rated micro-lights that won’t weigh down the branches. For most other landscaping, LED mini-lights will do the trick. If the trees are very large and viewed from farther away, consider larger retrofit bulbs like C9 or G30s. These are also well suited for rooflines because you can control the direction that they point, which creates a beautiful uniform design.
8. Customize your roofline lights
Strings with large retrofit or replaceable bulbs are ideal for rooflines because it is possible to control the direction that they point with clips. These strings can also have their lengths customized so that you're neither coming up short nor hiding excess lights in the gutters. Bulbs that consistently point in one direction and fit your rooflines perfectly will give you that clean, professional look you’ve always wanted.
9. Hire a Professional Installer
While everyone loves Christmas lights, hanging them isn’t for everyone and there are a lot of people who shouldn’t venture up a ladder. Thankfully, there are experienced, professional Christmas light installers who use long-lasting, commercial grade products and will be able to install them faster, safer, and better than you can. Not sure who to ask? The friendly people at Big Star Lights can point you in the right direction with a network of reputable contractors across the country.
10. Store your lights away dry
When it’s time for the lights to come down, ensure that they are not stored away wet. Place them in a well ventilated container with holes cut in the sides. If the lights are stored away with any moisture for prolonged periods, they are likely to corrode and you’ll be in for a lot of disappointment when it comes time to decorate next year. Make sure that they are stored away bone dry.