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Holiday Lighting

Holiday Lighting - How to Decorate Your Trees This Holiday

Outdoor tree decorated with holiday lights, a gold star, and covered with snow.

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and of course, festive decorations. But creating an impressive outdoor holiday lights display that includes your trees can be a challenge. If you’ve done some searching online, chances are you’ve found plenty of products available to purchase. But most don’t offer decorating tips, not to mention the design steps required to create the outdoor holiday trees of your dreams.

In this guide, we walk you through a step-by-step design process for decorating your outdoor trees for the holidays. From safety to landscape preparation, as well as answer questions like, “how many Christmas lights do I need?” Planning out your display is the key to a safe, successful, and festive holiday display.

Start with Safety

When planning to decorate outdoor trees for the holidays, safety should be your first consideration. There are critical safety guidelines to follow when using lights outdoors. For example, before deciding how many outdoor Christmas lights to put on your trees, it’s important to ensure that you have sufficient electrical power and the correct fuse ratings to support the electrical demand. This is especially important for outdoor tree lighting, as some trees may be located far from the house.

It’s also extremely important to use lights, extension cords, and power boxes that are rated for outdoor use. Not only will outdoor-rated products be more rugged and weather resistant, but they are built to handle the electrical draw of many lights. This will help you answer the question, “how many Christmas lights do I need?”

Equally important is making sure that you have a plan to safely install lights on your outdoor trees. For most people, this will require using ladders. But ladders pose safety risks unless used carefully and correctly. The safest way to install lights on your outdoor trees is to hire a professional holiday lighting service. But if you plan to do it yourself, make sure you take the time to learn proper ladder safety techniques and always have a spotter when working with outdoor lights. Also, never allow children to climb or play on ladders or to play near a ladder while you are using it. By starting with safety, you can get your outdoor holiday light display planning off to the right start! Here is a quick summary of the things you need to do before you start decorating:

  • Check to ensure your lights, cords, and accessories are rated for outdoor use.
  • Determine how many feet of Christmas lights for tree(s).
  • Confirm the electrical circuits you intend to use can handle the additional load.
  • Make sure you have a ladder high enough to do the job (never use the top rung of a ladder).
  • Follow proper ladder safety techniques (always have a spotter).
  • Consider hiring a professional holiday lighting service.

Determine Display Size

Once you have safety covered, it’s time to think about the size of your outdoor holiday display. The most important factor here is how much of your home’s exterior you plan to decorate. Are you just planning to light your exterior trees, or do you want to decorate other landscaping elements and/or your home’s exterior? Knowing the scope of your display beforehand is the key to effective planning for your outdoor holiday lights display. In this way, you can better determine how many Christmas lights you will need to create the effect you want.

Less Can Be More

When it comes to outdoor holiday lighting, there is a common misconception that the more lights you use, the better. It’s easy to get excited and a little carried away during the planning phase. This can lead many people to buy more outdoor lights than they need or can use, resulting in an outdoor holiday display that is over the top and tacky. Too many lights and decorations can create a confusing visual effect, overwhelming viewers in an unpleasant way. So, how many lights should you put on a Christmas tree outside? Well, that will depend on how big the tree is, how high you want to extend the lights, and what type of lighting effect you want to create. How many lights for a 6ft tree versus a 10ft tree may be different or the same depending on how you want to string the lights. To make sure that your holiday lights inspire awe, not annoyance, try to focus on creating an exterior display that is tastefully lit but not over the top.

Related Topic: Can You Have Too Many Holiday Decorations?

Pick a Theme

Choosing a holiday lighting theme is another crucial step in outdoor holiday tree decorating. A theme can help bring cohesiveness and visual interest to your outdoor holiday display. Plus, by choosing a theme, you can easily tie in other outdoor decorations and landscaping elements to create a unified outdoor decorating look.
Some popular outdoor holiday lighting themes include:

  • Classic white and green or white and red outdoor decoration, with minimal pops of brighter colors and festive outdoor lighting.
  • Rustic outdoor decorating, with outdoor lights paired with lanterns and other rustic elements.
  • Retro outdoor holiday decorations, with vintage or mid-century style decorations.
  • Modern outdoor holiday decorations, with sleek outdoor lighting and contemporary decor elements.

Visually Connect Your Internal Decorations

As you plan your outdoor lighting and theme, take the time to create a visual connection between the outdoor decorations and the interior decorations. For example, consider using the same theme for both your indoor and outdoor Christmas trees. Another way to add spectacle and drama to your holiday lights display is to position your indoor tree so that it is visible through a window and then time your lights so that when the indoor tree’s lights are on, the exterior lights are off. By creating a visual connection between your indoor and outdoor lights, you can give your home a polished, well-thought-out look that will delight guests and visitors.

Prep Trees

Palm trees decorated with brightly colored holiday lights

Once you have a theme and your indoor and outdoor holiday displays planned out, it’s time to get ready to decorate! Before you start buying and wrapping lights, however, it’s important to get your trees and landscaping ready for your holiday display. This means making sure that outdoor trees and shrubs are pruned back and fallen leaves and other debris are removed from your yard, gutters, and other outdoor spaces. Be sure to use proper safety around ladders and landscaping tools, and always wear gloves, safety goggles, and other protective gear when working with power tools and other landscaping equipment.

Hire a Professional Service

After following these design steps, you may realize that planning and carrying out an impressive outdoor holiday display requires considerable time and effort. It takes time, preparation, and proper safety measures to pull it all off. It can also be hard to determine exactly how many feet of Christmas lights you need for each tree and how to connect your exterior lights safely to avoid the risk of electrical overload or fire.

The good news is that avoiding these potential problems is easy when you call Your Holiday Lights! We can help you design and install the custom outdoor holiday light display you’ve always wanted, all without the hassle and hazards of doing it yourself! Visit us online to learn more and to schedule your design consultation today!

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