Tis the season to increase your electricity bill… That’s not how the song goes? Well no matter, if you can’t budget for outdoor lights, then at least rent the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a Christmas classic and Chevy Chase is sure to make you laugh every time you watch it.
If you are up for creating your own winter wonderland within the confines of your front yard, then take a quick look at the following tips that will help ensure your lights go up smoothly and look great:
Have all the necessary items ready to go for your weekend project;
You’ll need a few special supplies to hang outdoor Christmas lights, including:
- Outdoor Extension Cords: Bring power to the site of your display and avoid having lights trailing through your yard and garden.
- Timer: Turn on your lights only when it’s dark and set them to go off automatically two, four, six or eight hours later or at dawn. You’ll save money in the process.
- Power Stakes:These portable devices bring power closer to where you need it so you don’t have to run cords all over your yard. For extra convenience, look for stakes with timers and remote controls.
- Ladder: Consider purchasing a lightweight step ladder or an extension ladder sized to match the decorating projects you’ll be undertaking.
- Hardware: Look for specialty hooks and clamps that make it easy to attach lights to gutters, window trim and door frames. Double-check that adhesive-backed hardware is appropriate for outdoor use. You’ll also want to have a few sizes of nails, some traditional cup hooks and thin wire on hand.
- Basic Hand Tools: Gather screwdrivers, a hammer and pliers (to bend wire and pinch hooks tight).
- Work Gloves: Get a pair of thin, flexible gloves to keep your hands warm so you can easily use tools and work with hardware.
Next step, the installation of your Christmas extravaganza-
- If possible, hang lights during the day. Common sense tells us to avoid installing electrical items while it’s raining or snowing.
- Unwrap all lights and untangle cords before you start decorating. Test each light strand. Replace burned-out or missing bulbs. Throw out strands with broken or fraying cords.
- Work with a helper. The job will go faster with someone to hand you tools and keep cords tangle-free.
- In general, start high and work your way down. As necessary, use extension cords to get power to your starting point. To eliminate a tripping hazard, avoid running lights on the ground or pavement.
- Never connect more than three strands, or 300 lights, end to end. After you finish hanging your third strand, start back at the power source for your next set.
- Use clips to attach lights whenever possible. Avoid driving nails into cords or attaching cords with staples, which can damage the lighting strands.
- Be sure and enjoy a snack of cookies and holiday hot chocolate to keep you and your team working merrily along.
Finally, if all of this is just too much time and effort for your busy holiday schedule yet you still feel inspired to forge ahead with your wonderland vision, then contact your nearest outdoor lighting service. They are easy to find online or you can ask your local Home Depot or hardware store. They usually know companies that specialize in this. The service usually includes the purchasing and installation of any and all outdoor lights. Then they also will come out after the holidays and take down the lights and pack them all up nice and neat in boxes for you. All this for around $300-$600, depending on how visually festive you decide to get.
Now ain’t THAT a nice Christmas present? Happy Holidays-