I love this time of year for so many reasons, but one of my absolute favorite reasons is the beauty of outdoor Christmas lights. I cannot get enough of them. The more the better, and I buy more every year. My desire is to make my Christmas lights visible from outer space. Here are just a few tips on how to save time and money, and have one of the best yards on the block when it comes to Christmas lights.
You probably already have a pretty decent stash of outdoor Christmas lights and lighted yard decorations from years past. The first thing to do is to plug in every string of lights and every decoration to make sure that all of the lights still work. There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to arrange a string of lights, then plugging it in only to discover that half of the string has burned out.
With traditional incandescent light bulbs, if I have a string that is partially or completely burned out, I just throw it away. Fixing the fuses in the plugs is so tedious, and not worth the time when you can replace a string of lights for very little money. Instead of replacing my broken incandescent bulb strings with new ones, I replace them with LED lights. These lights cost significantly more up front, but they last a lot longer than traditional Christmas lights. They burn brighter than the old fashioned lights, and light for light, LED lights use only a small fraction of the electricity that incandescent bulbs use.
Another advantage is that when one LED bulb burns out, the rest of the set keeps working. With incandescent bulbs, you can waste a lot of time removing and replacing each bulb, trying to find the one that is burned out. With LED lights, you probably won’t even notice that a bulb is burned out, and neither will any of your neighbors.
After you have checked all of your lights to make sure that they are working, take inventory of the working lights and yard decorations that you have, and make a plan for hanging them. When you make a plan ahead of time, you won’t run out of lights halfway through your project. Once I make my plan, I start hanging, and I can usually finish in one afternoon.
When you are making your plan, don’t forget to plan for how to plug the lights in. Make sure that you have enough outdoor extension cords, and follow the light bulb manufacturer’s instructions on how not to overload the circuit. Overloading a circuit can burn out several strings of incandescent bulbs. Another benefit of LED lights is that you can string a lot more sets of lights end to end than with traditional bulbs.
One of my favorite innovations in Christmas lighting is the net-light. This is a string of lights that is strung into a net. These nets hang very nicely and easily over bushes, fences, and almost anything else. Because of the net design, they don’t tangle as easily, and you will spend far less time struggling with a long string, and more time enjoying your lights.
Use timers on all of your outlets, so that your lights will come on and go off automatically. This will save you time, and you can decide how many hours to burn the lights every night. Once you are all finished, get yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa, and sit back and enjoy your work.