How to String Christmas Tree Lights

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Lighting an Artificial Tree

The artificial trees available today come in sections that open like an umbrella. If you use miniature lights, you can wrap them around the branches and leave them on permanently. Just be sure to light each section separately (that is, don't cross a section or point of assembly with a strand of lights).

For subdued lighting, begin at the bottom of the tree close to the trunk. Allowing some slack or leader cord in the first strand of lights, separate the cord near the first bulb so it forms a loop. Slip the loop over one of the branchlets or greens near the trunk, and wrap the cord a few times around the green to secure it.

Pull the string of lights taut to the tip of the branch, then work back toward the trunk, wrapping the cord over itself and the branch. Separate the cord again when you reach the trunk, and slip the cord over a branchlet to secure it. Carry the cord over to the next branch, wrap it around a green near the trunk, and pull it out to the tip. Wrap the cord over itself and the branch as before. Continue wrapping branches in this manner to the end of the string. Plug in the next set, and keep going to the point where the tree comes apart. Work any extra lights back along the branch rather than crossing the section. When you wrap the top section of the tree, don't wrap the lights around as many branches, so the tree will look evenly lit from top to bottom.

For moderate lighting, follow the same procedure, but wrap the cord around some of the greens along the branch as you work back toward the trunk. For showcase lighting, wrap the cord around every green as you work back along the branch.

Outdoor lights

  • If you floodlight evergreens outdoors, use white, blue, or green lamps; red, yellow, amber, and pink lamps will make the trees look a muddy brown.
  • Don't try to hang strings of lights from the eaves with cuphooks -- in a strong wind, the wires may swing loose. Instead, use plastic gutter clips that hook onto the gutter and hold the wire tightly in place. Look for packages of gutter clips in crafts stores and hardware stores with the tree lights and supplies.
  • Be sure you have outdoor electrical sockets to plug into when you use outdoor lights.
  • Don't worry about hiding the electrical cords -- just keep them organized neatly, and no one will notice them.


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