How to Hang Christmas Lights: A Complete Guide

Christmas is a magical time of year when we come together with friends and family to celebrate. And what better way to add to the festive atmosphere than by hanging Christmas lights? Whether you want...

Christmas is a magical time of year when we come together with friends and family to celebrate. And what better way to add to the festive atmosphere than by hanging Christmas lights? Whether you want to adorn the inside or outside of your home, we've got you covered. In this guide, we'll walk you through the best practices for hanging Christmas lights, ensuring your decorations shine bright and impress everyone in the neighborhood.

Best Way to Hang Christmas Lights Outside

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To hang your Christmas lights outside, you'll need a few essential tools: a camera, ladder, tape measure, outdoor holiday lights, plastic light clips, plastic zip ties, and an outdoor extension cord. Here's a step-by-step guide to make the process easy and quick:

Step 1: Take a picture of the house

Start by taking a picture of the front of your house from the street. This will give you a better view and help you plan your design accordingly. Consider every corner, from the roofline to the windows to the yard, and visualize how the lights will beautify your home.

Step 2: Take measurements

Use a tape measure to determine the height and width where you want to hang the lights. If you prefer not to climb up a ladder, you can also measure the base. While not exact, these measurements will give you an idea of how many light strands you'll need.

Step 3: Choose outdoor lights

Make sure the lights you purchase are designated for outdoor use. The outdoor environment can be harsh, with storms, rain, and snow. Opt for lights made specifically for outdoor use, as they are designed to withstand these conditions. Look for the "UL" mark on the product box, indicating that they have been tested for safety.

Step 4: Use plastic light clips

For easy installation and removal, use plastic light clips to hold the lights in position. These clips not only save you time but also prevent damage to your roof compared to using nails or staples. They can be used for multiple seasons and work with any type of string lights.

Step 5: Test the lights

Before climbing up the ladder, test each strand of lights to ensure they are functioning correctly. Replace any bulbs that are not working to avoid any surprises once you're already up on the roof.

Step 6: Attach the clips

Follow the manufacturer's guide to attach the clips to the light strands. Space them 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on your design preference. Once the clips are attached, hang the lights on the roofline, railings, gutters, or any other place where you want your decorations to shine. Consider using plastic zip ties for extra security in areas with harsh winter weather.

Step 7: Turn on the lights

Finally, plug the last strand into an outdoor-rated extension cord and then into an outdoor outlet. Make sure to plug outdoor lights into a GFCI-protected outlet for safety.

How to Hang Christmas Lights Indoors

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Indoor Christmas lights can create a cozy and joyful ambiance in your home. Here's how you can hang lights on windows, walls, and ceilings:

Step 1: Plan your design

Before you start hanging lights, sketch out how you want them to appear inside your house. Take measurements of the length and width of the walls to determine how many light strands you'll need.

Step 2: Place cup hooks

Use cup hooks to hang the lights on walls and windows. These hooks are affordable and add a stylish touch to your design. Place them at intervals along the walls or windows, ensuring they are secure and won't damage the surface. For corner areas, use hooks on both sides.

Step 3: Test the lights

Ensure that each light strand is in working order before installation. Check for any broken bulbs or faulty wires and replace them if necessary.

Step 4: Install the lights

Start by plugging the strand into the socket and then loop it into the first hook. Use tape to secure the strand to the wall, preventing it from hanging in front of other objects. Once you're satisfied with the layout, unplug the strand and continue hanging the lights on the hooks. For a personal touch, consider hanging photos and drawings along the light lines.

What is the Best Way to Hang Christmas Lights on a Tree?

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Decorating a Christmas tree with lights can make it the centerpiece of your holiday decor. Follow these steps for the best way to hang lights on your tree:

Step 1: Test your lights

Before you start, make sure all your lights are working properly. It's easier to fix any issues while the lights are still accessible.

Step 2: Divide the tree into sections

Instead of wrapping the lights around the tree in a column style, divide the tree into three triangular sections from top to bottom. Begin by connecting the first strand of lights at the top of the tree, next to the trunk. Move the lights around the triangle, being careful not to overlap the string. As you come to the end of the first string, connect in the next set and continue until you reach the bottom of the tree.

Step 3: Adjust for gaps

Step away from the tree and observe it until it appears blurry. Rearrange the lights to fill in any dark gaps or holes. To avoid tangling the lights, work in reverse by isolating and adjusting individual bulbs.

Best Way to Hang Christmas Lights on Windows

Windows offer a perfect spot to display your Christmas lights. Follow these steps for a beautiful window display:

Step 1: Measure the perimeter

Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of your window to determine the amount of cord you'll need. Clean the window frames while taking measurements to ensure adhesive clips stick securely to dust-free surfaces.

Step 2: Test the lights

Before installation, test your lights to ensure they are functioning correctly. Even if you've used them before and are confident in their performance, it's always best to double-check.

Step 3: Choose the mounting style

There are several options for hanging lights on windows:

  • Cup hooks: Screw hooks onto the perimeter of your windows for a secure attachment. Although they may leave a small dent when removed, they are not highly visible and prevent lights from sagging.

  • Wire suckers: These hooks are a good alternative if you don't want to drill holes. However, they are not as secure as cup hooks and may require regular replacement. Wire suckers are ideal for interior mounting.

  • Gutter hooks: If your windows pass directly under the gutter, you can use gutter hooks for the upper part of the window. They are easy to install and won't leave any marks or permanent damage.

  • Siding staples: If you have access to a staple gun, you can use siding staples to hang lights around the window perimeter. Keep in mind that removing staples can be time-consuming. Exercise caution when using them to avoid damaging the siding.

Step 4: Install the lights

When using hooks or clips, space them 12 to 18 inches apart for an evenly distributed display. Start from the bottom corner of the window and extend to one side, ensuring the strands are taut. Install another hook or clip at the top, and continue stretching the light strands across the window. Connect the male end of the strand to a wall outlet, using an extension cord if necessary.


Hanging Christmas lights adds warmth and brilliance to your holiday decorations. Whether you're decorating the inside or outside of your home, it's important to plan, measure, and choose the right tools for the job. Remember to test your lights before installation and follow safety guidelines when using ladders. With these tips, you'll be able to create a stunning display that will make your home the talk of the town. Have a happy and joyous holiday season!