When thinking of the winter holiday season, lights are a tradition that stands strong. If you plan to hang up Christmas lights outside of your home this year, there are some things to know before you start. Being prepared means your display will be as safe and beautiful as possible.

1. Measure Before Shopping

Before you go shopping to pick up your lighting supplies, make sure to measure all areas you are going to be hanging lights. Measure windows, doors, and the roofline if you are stringing lights there. Use your totals to get the amount of linear feet of lights you need. One last measurement will be from the outdoor socket to where your lights start. You will need an extension cord that length. Choose one that's rated for outdoor use to go from the lights to your outdoor socket. This will avoid having the lights go directly into the socket.

2. Choose The Right Type Of Bulbs

When it comes to bulb styles on Christmas lights, it can seem overwhelming. Incandescent bulbs are less expensive than LEDs. They are best-suited for small jobs rather than large coverings. They use far more electricity than LED bulbs, also. Incandescent bulbs tend to have a warm yellow tone, whereas LEDs can tend toward cooler tones. Bulb styles available range from retro looks to minis and globes. You can find lights that are perfect for any look you want this holiday season.

3. Think About Bulb Spacing

The spacing between bulbs on light strings is highly variable. Less than 12 inches between bulbs is recommended. Sometimes, people bring tape measures to verify this distance. WIth larger globe lights, a space between 6 and 10 inches is ideal. Smaller bulbs should be closer.

4. Make Use Of The Trees

If you're lighting trees, there are different recommendations based on what type you have. Conifers take about 100 lights for each vertical foot of height. Larger bulbs suit conifers and can be seen better. Deciduous trees can be lit with smaller bulbs. Net lights will work unless a tree's trunk is less than 4 feet around. Shrubs look nice with mini bulbs. Use sets of 25 to 50 lights and space strings 4 to 6 inches apart in random patterns.

5. Use Electrical Safety Precautions

Since lighting a whole property takes a good deal of electricity, it's important to

be as cautious as possible when you do it. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • No more than 10 strings of 50 incandescent bulbs per plug
  • No more than 50 strings of 70 LED lights per plug
  • Make sure your lights are rated for outdoors
  • Use electrical tape to wrap light connections
  • Use a grounded and covered outdoor outlet
  • Do not run the outdoor lights inside via windows, doors, or mail slots

These tips will help you celebrate safely.