DIY Projects

Installing Christmas Lights

Installing Christmas lights isn’t complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

With all this mild weather we’ve been having, putting up our holiday lights was a breeze this year!  I have to admit, I’m more of a “supervisor” when it comes to installing Christmas lights, but I did get everything prepped, and added some extra strands at the end.  Check out our basic light setup!

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First thing you need to do before you install your lights, is check your inventory!

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

We’ve collected a few strands of lights over the years (actually, most all are from when I was in university).  I brought the bag of lights out of our crawlspace storage area and tested each set to make sure they were working.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I did this in the basement (another sneak peek photo for you!) and I’m not going to lie when I tell you I may not have put the unused ones away yet… Also notice that box of clothing in the photo above?  That’s one of those “projects I’m going to work on” that take a few months to get around to… do you know what I mean?

Okay, enough about the mess!

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I took out all the light bulbs that were dead, which was almost a full strand!  And… we didn’t even put this one up this year (but I might sneak it in sometime soon, we’ll see).

Anyways, turns out we had a long strand of single small lights that was never used before, and it MAGICALLY fit across the span of our roof!  Talk about a Christmas miracle :)

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I brought the ladder outside and put the Husband to work hooking the lights onto the roof.  We had already planned which end would go where (you know, so you don’t realize after everything’s up that you put the light strand on backwards).

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

As I mentioned, I had the important job of supervising, which really meant that I could just take photos the whole time (the Husband’s favourite).  I did have to pass him light clips every now and then, and even though we used the ones for the big bulbs, they still worked fine for the small ones.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

Yep, it was a super nice day to put up lights!  I would suggest doing them in the daytime, so you can see and all, but our neighbours put theirs up at night, so I don’t know if there’s a proper technique or anything.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

Now you may be wondering, umm don’t the little bulbs go in the house, and aren’t the big bulbs supposed to be for outside lights?  Maybe!?  But we used what we had, and I’m pretty sure they’re all indoor/outdoor lights.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

We actually don’t have any outdoor outlets (which SUCKS!) but we usually just run an extension cord from the inside of our garage.  I hooked up the blue one too so I could easily unplug the regular extension cord whenever I needed to (without having to go get a ladder).

And yes, we keep our shovel out all winter, no matter if there is snow or not.  It’s coming any day now!

Normally, I would have to plug in the extension cord into the outlet when I came home, and before bed I would hobble out to the garage (in the cold) and unplug it.

NOT THIS YEAR!  I knew the best thing would be to get a timer, so I went to Home Depot and got this oneYou guys, it comes with a remote!!!!!!!  That’s super exciting, because technically the timer is in our garage, and it can’t tell when the sun goes down since it’s always dark in there.  If I forget to turn the timer when I come home from work, I just use the remote which is in my house (we keep it next to the TV remote for easy access) and the timer still knows when to automatically turn off the lights.

I could even do some sort of crazy S.O.S signals to my neighbours from the comfort of my couch if I needed to.

Or you know the cool light shows that people setup in their yards?  Well I could just clickety-click my own manually (okay, I’m not that crazy!).

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

So back to the light installation!  I was determined to use as many light strands as possible this year.  Not because I particularly like the over-lit house trend, but more so I could actually use them and not store them for nothing, right?

I wanted to put lights down the two column things we have on our porch, but we didn’t have extension cords that fit into the light strands.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I had to improvise and basically hooked light strand into light strand into light strand.  I knew it might look a little “odd” and didn’t think the Husband would like it (he was on the couch relaxing or something after his arduous task of putting the main strand up).

Me: can you come check the lights I did before I bring all the stuff inside?

Husband: no, it’s okay I’ll just stay in here

Me: are you sure?

Husband: ya it’s probably fine

So a few days later, when he actually drove up to the house at night with the lights on, he had to tell me how ridiculous they looked and that I was crazy and he hated them.  (I don’t remember the conversation exactly, but let’s just say he tried waking me up in the middle of the night when he got home to tell me the lights were weird).

I had left the timer on extra-long that night so he would be sure to see them :)

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

And this is how they look in case you were wondering!  Not overly ridiculous, right?  I mean, obviously it doesn’t make too much sense that there are the lights connecting everything when it should be an extension cord.  I assured the Husband I would get little extension cords and replace the two lights strands that were out of place (the one that loops down right in front of the door, and the “fence” one connecting at the base of the two columns).

But then I realized that this would not be an easy task!

After doing a lot of research online (aka being lazy and not actually going to visit stores), I found out that it would be hard to get the extension cords we would need to connect the lights.

You see, all the lights we have connected right now are the types with the two prongs that are the same size.  You can’t plug in the ones with the bigger prong, or even the 3-prong ones (which is how most extension cords are made).

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I made this little diagram in case you are confused by what I am taking about.  You can plug the even-pronged ones (non-polarized) into the uneven-pronged strands (polarized) or the three-prong (grounded) ones.  But you can’t go backwards!  (And I’m pretty sure the terminology is correct, but I am definitely NOT an electrician, so don’t trust me 100% on this!).

I did find a few that might work on Amazon.com but on the Canadian Amazon all I could find that was this make your own type-extension cord, and this Christmas tree extension cable, which could work… but it does says “indoor” only. (March 2016 Update – apparently the Christmas cable doesn’t exist anymore, there is this weird computer cable… but not even close!).

Guess we’ll just have to leave it like it is for now, and maybe update our light layout next year…

Which is totally okay with me :)

(The Husband did mention wanting to have a strand on the second roof line, but considering Christmas is TEN DAYS AWAY I figured it’s good enough for this year).

Oh!  And my favourite Christmas-y thing is when I’m in the house and I have the outdoor lights and the Christmas tree on, and it reflects into all the bay window panes.

Installing Christmas lights isn't complicated as long as you are prepared before you start. And make sure to test the lights before you hang them!

I just love how bright and cheery our house is at this time of year and I don’t have to turn on any normal lights :)  In case you missed how the living room is decorated you can check out my Holiday Home Tour post here.

Installing Christmas lights doesn’t actually take long, if you’ve tested and planned out your layout ahead of time (and using the minimum amount of lights helps too!).  Just make sure you know where you’re going to plug them in, have a ladder and a helper, and GET A TIMER!

Seriously, did I talk about the benefits of a timer enough yet?!

Haha, see you guys next time!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Louise aka Mommy
    December 15, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    sometimes you are your father’s daughter

    • Reply
      Nicole
      December 16, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Why is that? Because there are lights installed into lights into lights? If you’re not going to use them, might as well lose (aka donate) them :)

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