Planning This Year’s Outdoor Christmas Lights Show

Are you planning the best outdoor Christmas lights display in your street this year – or just to get your lights up without a hitch? Well here are my top tips on how to get the best outside Christmas lights this year in your yard.

  1. The most important thing to do is start early. The most successful displays in the world have been planned for a long time. I would expect that the folks that put on the best yard lights have been planning them for at least a year. There are plenty of reasons for taking a long term view – you have time to consider the design, adapt to any changes necessary and buy most of your supplies in the sales.
  2. Make a plan, think about and redo your plan. Work out a theme, lay it out on paper. Decide on colors and what kinds of lighting will go where – maybe flashing lights on the eaves and solid colors in the trees? Where do you want animated Christmas lights? Do you have enough power outlets – are they in the right places? What kind of lighting – incandescent (C7 or C9), solar or LED? They all produce different effects – which do you prefer? Will you have roof mounted displays? If so check any supports that may be needed.
  3. Measure. Make sure that you measure everywhere the lighting will be going and from the power points. Then always add more to be on the safe side.
  4. Work out how many strings you will require to meet your design. Remember that light sets come in different lengths with different numbers of bulbs and also that the length between the start and finish of the bulbs is different of the total length of the string. Are extension leads required? Work out how many. Looking on line can give you lots of information on lead length, distance from plug to first light to help you with this.
  5. Do you need any extra power points? If so get a qualified electrician to install them. All outdoor power outlets must be waterproof. Consider having switching for power outlets in inaccessible places, put somewhere more convenient
  6. Buy your light strings. Any lights to be used outside must be rated appropriately. Take the time to buy any spare bulbs you might need.
  7. Very important step – layout all strings and test the lights all work before hanging them.
  8. Before starting to put the lights up, check that you have all the fixings that you may need and that any being reused are safe to reuse fixings may include nails, clips, screws or staples.
  9. Try to organize to hang the lights early in the season when you have time and daylight. This will also mean you have time to fix any problems that crop up (of course there won’t be any, because you have planned it all out!)
  10. Make sure you have all the tools you may need available close by, especially someone to hold the ladder – safety first!
  11. Now it is time to start hanging the outdoor Christmas lights following the plan. Test them and enjoy. It may be worthwhile investing in a timer switch to turn the Christmas display off over night.

A creative representation of a Gingerbread house for a Christmas Yard display.

GingerBread HouseI hope this helps you plan your next Christmas lights display