Members Area
Countdown to Christmas --
Visit My Merry Christmas on Facebook!   Visit My Merry Christmas on Twitter!   Get My Merry Christmas on RSS
Navigation » Merry Forums of My Merry Christmas > Christmas Library > Index > Christmas Present > Christmas Decorating » Ten Tips for the First-time Christmas Light Hanger

Home Submit Article New in the Library What's Popular Search

» What's New
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
19,007 Views  4 Posts
santahat The Real History of the...
by MMC Editor
10-24-2013 12:44 PM
17,204 Views  0 Posts
santahat The Mistletoe Bough...
by MMC Editor
10-17-2013 06:19 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:04 AM
29,109 Views
2 Posts
Christmas Tree A Christmas Tree for Cats
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 08:21 AM
30,441 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Tree The Birds' Christmas...
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 06:59 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:12 AM
31,373 Views  1 Posts
» Random Entries
The Twelve Days of...
by MMC Editor
06-08-2002 10:06 PM
48,645 Views  0 Posts
Anna Claus
by MMC Editor
06-09-2002 08:15 PM
76,302 Views  0 Posts
Others: The History of...
by MMC Editor
05-30-2002 03:23 PM
64,891 Views  0 Posts
The Legend of Baboushka
by MMC Editor
06-03-2002 01:56 PM
58,116 Views  0 Posts
How to Organize Your...
by MMC Editor
06-02-2002 08:53 PM
Last post by One Spoiled Brat
07-17-2011 06:48 PM
48,622 Views  2 Posts
Ten Tips for the First-time Christmas Light Hanger
Report to Moderator Old 11-01-2012 12:35 AM
MMC Editor
 
Views: 75,114
Replies: 2

By Brad Knight

My first experience in hanging Christmas lights taught me a lot of lessons. Newly married and mostly broke, we did not even have the money to get a tree. So I decided to surprise my bride by outlining our basement apartment window with a string of Christmas lights. I bought them at a local drug store for 88 cents.

It was a near disaster. The lights were intended for indoor use only and I put them on the outside of the window. Everything was fine until a stormy gust of wind blew the connected extension cord (which was also rated for indoor use only) into a small puddle of water in the dirt. We were watching some holiday television when we suddenly saw a little flash outside our window and lost power to the whole apartment. That was the end of the Christmas lights.

I learned over the years to respect labels and to pay attention to electrical sources. As your typical lazy male I had to fight the urge to “just get the job done”. Hanging Christmas lights is work. And that is the first thing you have to know.

Now that I’ve done it for almost 20 years these are the things I would tell the first time light hanger:
1.You’re not Clark Griswold and you never will be. It is the inherent ability of every male to think they can have the most brilliant Christmas light display the first time they hang lights. You won’t. We all start out with a vision of splendor. But three things usually get in the way of fulfilling such a vision: time, money and spouse (and the same thing that makes us think we can rebuild a ’65 Mustang – ego). Before you go nuts you’d better get a handle on all this. Chances are you won’t have the time to create the complete masterpiece you envision, the money it takes will be more than you have and convincing your significant other that lights are more important than shoes for the kids won’t be an easy sale. Be conservative your first time out. Learn as you go.
2. Before you get the ladder out, do some research. There are so many options out there. And there are lots of rules, too. Locate your power sources and determine how much of a strain hanging Christmas lights will put on your home electrical. I had a friend who would lose all power to his house if he turned on his Christmas display and the dishwasher at the same time. That lead to daily arguments about whether to turn on the lights or just skip dinner.
3. Be a neighbor. Talk with neighbors who already have good Christmas light displays. Offer yourself as a helper as they build their display so you can ask them about costs, city ordinances (some places have them), sources and how they keep their marriage together, etc. Doing it with someone who has built the expertise, has the tools and likes free labor will save you so much in money and aggravation down the road.
4. Put a figure on paper and stick to it. Before you dream of any kind of display know exactly how much you can and cannot spend. Those with massive prolific displays likely didn’t get there over night and you won’t either. Lights, decorations and all the tools and equipment that go into building a great display cost a lot of money. Anyone who tells you different is getting coal for Christmas from Santa. In this hobby there is nothing that is cheap, free or inexpensive. If you build and invest year to year your display will get better and better.
5. Shop. Most places have Christmas lights out to buy right after Labor Day. Some have them year round. Go and look at it all and take notes. Consider the value of commercial grade lights and how long they might last as opposed to the cheap stuff found in discount stores.
6. Put your plan on paper before you do anything. That way you can track where you are at and the paramedics will know what your intent was when they find the body.
7. Have children. Seriously. You will need several pairs of hands, someone with eye-hand coordination and a cheering squad to help you out. Never work alone.
8. Test everything before you hang it. Nobody likes to hear a grown man swear in the dark.
9. Never hang lights that are plugged in. Especially if you are using a metal ladder. You know this already and will ignore it but decency compels me to remind you that safety is first.
10. Invest in video and camera equipment. Take pictures as you go and make a record of your efforts. They will serve as a good reminder before next summer when your visions of grandeur totally diminish your common sense.
The Christmas light hobby is addictive. It was never my intention to string 75,000 lights on my home, synchronize them to music and share Christmas with thousands of my closest friends while alienating my wife and neighbors for a month every year. But there are so many neat things on the market and so many ideas that hit you as you do this year to year. And after a while, you find you have so much invested that you just have to do it again each season.

So beware. You will get sucked in. Christmas lights add brilliance to the season no matter where you live. If you get snow, they look awesome. If you get only fog, they look awesome. If you get rain, they look awesome. And if it ever gets dark where you live, they look awesome.

But as with anything awesome there are sacrifices to make. Don’t let the fact I spend five months out of my year stringing lights, keeping lights working, taking them down and storing them and then the other seven months planning or shopping for it all. There are worse habits to have.
__________________
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.



Tags: Christmas lights Christmas decorating
Send to Friend

Rate Article:


Replies to Article: Ten Tips for the First-time Christmas Light Hanger
  #1   Report Post  
Old 11-04-2012, 04:10 PM
rosie0478's Avatar
rosie0478 rosie0478 is offline
Merry Forums Mistletoe Hanger
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: North West Arkansas
Posts: 60
rosie0478
Re: Ten Tips for the First-time Christmas Light Hanger

One quick suggestion, for next year. Many stores, like Lowes, have all their Christmas lights on sale for 75% off the week directly before and after Christmas. Buy them then for next year and you can have a much bigger display on a smaller budget. I do this every year.
  #2   Report Post  
Old 11-04-2012, 05:01 PM
Jeff Westover's Avatar
Jeff Westover Jeff Westover is offline
My Merry Christmas Founder and Chief Light Stringer of the Merry Forums

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 9,976
Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover Jeff Westover
Re: Ten Tips for the First-time Christmas Light Hanger

Awesome idea!

 
Category Jump
» Featured
Top Ten Christmas Videos...
by Jeff Westover
12-16-2013 08:10 AM
14,135 Views  0 Posts
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
19,007 Views  4 Posts
Annual Survey of...
by MMC Editor
09-16-2013 08:19 AM
Last post by icetene33
10-21-2013 04:04 PM
19,432 Views  2 Posts
Snowman2 Top Five Christmas Hoaxes
by MMC Editor
09-09-2013 02:14 PM
24,271 Views  0 Posts
stocking Santa Smoking: Why is...
by Jeff Westover
10-11-2012 08:10 AM
Last post by HollyJolly
09-02-2013 08:30 AM
42,480 Views  6 Posts
» Recent Comments
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate: A Matter of Taste
It's hard to find good writing now a days. But you have done a great job with all these sharing hot Cocoa and hot Chocolate. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
by Riccardo Vasquez on 04-04-2014 01:38 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
My top favorite Christmas Sitcoms: All from M*A*S*H , Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley. Step By Step - I'll Be Home For Christmas
by Minta on 04-01-2014 10:33 AM
His Name is Bud
love this story! Thanks for sharing your memories.
by Christmasstar on 04-01-2014 06:46 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
Here are my top 10: (in no particular order) All 3 M*A*S*H Christmas episodes they made: Dear Dad Dear Sis Death Takes a Holiday The Bob Newhart Show: His Busiest Time I'm Dreaming of a...
by Christmas-A-Holic on 03-26-2014 07:50 AM
Tips for Buying a Fresh Tree
I will do that fresh cut of the trunk.....that was my problem last Christmas.....the tree lost so many needles....even tho it was fresh....the problem was....since I didn´t cut the trunk....the tree...
by trackrebel on 03-24-2014 09:13 AM
» Christmas Library Stats
Christmas Library Statistics Categories: 31, Articles: 352, Posts: 134, Total Views 18,677,657