Whether you want to put up a big, showy light show or a modest display for the holidays, getting your Christmas decorations put up can be stressful. Deciding how to attach things without damaging your home, making lights look the way you want them to, and having time left over for celebrating are all challenges of putting up a great display without having an emotional breakdown. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to make the decorating process simpler and faster so you can have more time to enjoy your holiday times with friends and family.
Make a “reachy stick”
Rather than hauling a ladder or step stool around with you, you can use what I refer to as a “reachy stick.” For the purposes of hanging lights, garlands, and wreaths, this is a pole with an upside-down hook taped to it. If you don’t have a hook, you can use the hook side of a wire hanger or similarly shaped object. Once you have this set up, you can use it to drape lights and garlands over hard to reach areas without getting on a ladder. Keep it for when the season is over so you can get things back down easily.
Pre-attach your hanging hooks
Pre-attach an “s” hook for simpler access. If you’re hanging lights on the edges of your gutter, or along another edge, you can use an “s” hook pre-taped with electrical tape to your strand of lights every few feet. Using your “reachy stick,” you can push the hook up and land it on the edge of the gutter without needing to climb or attach anything permanently to the gutter. To avoid scratching the gutter, you can wrap the hook in electrical tape or choose one with a rubber coating.
Light in swaths, not spirals
When adding lights to a tree or wreath where they will need to be removed at the end of the season, you should lay the lights on the surface of the boughs rather than wrapping them around. For a tree, beginning at the top of the tree, running one strand all the way to the top and then working your way down, laying lights out on the branches as you go will allow you to spread the lights more evenly, have more of the lights per strand be visible, and also remove the lights more easily later on.
Label your lights
Labelling your light strands as you add them to your display can help you chase down any problems, count the number of strands per circuit, and keep your lights organized as you put them away for next year. Using a letter then a number if you have multiple circuits going at the same time can help you sort everything out and keep your counts accurate. The other benefit to labelling strands is that it can help you eliminate problems as you go. If you have an issue with one strand—say, A-3—you can circle back to it later, knowing exactly which strand of lights you’re looking for from the label, and solve the problem or decide to take the strand out of commission. If you don’t want to number the strands, you can also mark a problematic strand with a colourful tape flag so you can easily identify it later.
Pre-light your decor
Light your decorations before you put them up. For wreaths and garlands, adding lights and then hanging them means less time on a ladder, fiddling with light strands. Test the lights on the ground before you start hanging things up so you can troubleshoot from the comfort and safety of a table or the floor. You can use Velcro straps, reusable ties, or electrical tape to attach lights firmly and also avoid damaging them. For tall trees, you can also choose to begin attaching lights to the top portion of the tree before you stand the tree up.
Use smart timers and strips
Using a smart power strip or a smart controlled timer to plug your lights in will give you control over switching them on and off without needing to access the outlet that the lights are plugged into. This can be especially helpful if you want to conceal your power strips and cords behind furniture or in other hard-to-reach locations. Using your phone or smart home hub to control your lights will make turning them on and off much easier.
Store lights without damaging them
Store lights by wrapping them around a bucket, a garden hose reel, or even around the outside of the box they came in. Using a larger object to wrap lights will help prevent them from getting damaged. This method will also help keep lights from getting tangled, which is often how the bulbs get pulled loose, causing the whole string to go out.
Keep connections snug
Keep plugs from getting pulled apart by taping the connections with electrical tape or using a Velcro wrap. This will not only keep your display shining brightly, but can also help reduce the risk of fire from partially connected cords. Keeping the plugs snugly joined will keep your mind at ease, knowing that a loose extension cord isn’t slowly heating up somewhere behind the couch.
Use solar options
For outdoor displays, consider using solar pathway lights with colour-changing bulbs in them, solar fountain lights, and solar lanterns to add to your overall look. Solar lights don’t need batteries or cords, so they’re a low-maintenance option for adding a pop of coloured light to your yard.
Hide your sins with bows
Use ribbons and other embellishments to hide any huge, obvious hooks, plugs, battery packs, or other things you don’t want to include in your display. Make festive bows that match your garlands and wreaths and attach them in places where hanging hardware, Velcro ties, or cord connections are obvious. You can add some ribbon to garlands or other decor before you put it up so that you don’t need to fuss with it on a ladder.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.