Things You Should Know About Buying, Hanging and Storing Holiday Lights This Year

by Jessica Jones

Jan 20, 2023 4 minute read

Things You Should Know About Buying, Hanging and Storing Holiday Lights This Year

Happy December!

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived and so you went and grabbed your holiday lights and décor with anticipation. You took strings and strings of lights out and started to spend the next 20 hours untangling them. Midway through, or at the end of it, you realise that some part of the wire has broken off, or half the bulbs are not working anymore.

The sad truth is, looking at holiday lights is grand. But knowing how to hang them – and store them after - is a headache.

Well, our DIY Pros at Fixlers have pulled out some of the best tips for buying, hanging, and storing holiday lights with minimal stress and strain, so you can focus on enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and some delicious baked treats instead.

How to Buy Holiday Lights

Safety: This is important. If you are planning to decorate the outside, make sure the package clearly state that the lights can be used externally. Also, plugging too many light sets into one outlet can overload the circuit. A 15-amp outlet can handle 1,440 watts, and a 20-amp outlet can handle 1,920 watts. Again, the wattage should be stated clearly on the packaging box or tag.

Light Bulbs: We hight recommend LED lighting as it’s going to save you tons of money. While the incandescent lighting offers a warm, vintage glow, LED lights are much more durable and energy-efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they consume up to 80% less energy and can last 25 times longer than incandescent.

Color temperature: For exterior decor, 2,700K to 3,000K lighting will appear soft and inviting. For indoor use, choose between 2,300K and 2,700K lights to achieve a gentle glow and a warm candlelight effect. Most brands will include the color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), on the package. Lights that are above 3,000K will likely give off an unflattering glare that are too bright to look at.

Buy some extras: Buy at least two more boxes than you think you need. If a strand breaks or you decide to extend your decoration into other areas, you'll have backup. Lights typically sell out quickly during this time of the year so you may not be able to get more on a second trip to the store.

Quality: Invest in quality strands that last multiple seasons. This will save you headache, make decorating easier, reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly.

How to Safely Hang Holiday Lights

As a general rule, you can connect around 20 strands of LED lights or 6 strands of incandescent lights before you risk overloading the circuit (but always check the instructions on the package). Incandescent strands are notorious for shorting out completely when even one bulb is defective.

If you are decorating the exterior of your home, find at least one helper and do it together. If you have a particularly large or high roof, hire a pro to hang your holiday lights for you. Set up lights on a dry day to avoid slips and accidents.

If you're installing lights around a series of windows, use LED bulbs and mask them between the windows with electrical tape. This will give it more of a subtle look, as if candle lights are glowing around your window frames. Don't try this with incandescent bulbs, as they may melt the electrical tape.

Use zip ties to secure cords along railings or banisters. And connect your lights to a timer to save your energy if you want to come on in the late afternoon or evening.

Need one more reason to ditch incandescent bulbs? Well, they can get very hot and may pose a fire risk to your tree. LED lights, on the other hand, are cool to the touch, so they're a safer option for your branches

How to Store Holiday Lights

This can take a while but it’s totally worth it if you don’t want another headache next year as well as making your items last longer (therefore saving you more money). When the festivities are over, wrap cords around a string reel or a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then put them in one or multiple storage bags or boxes. Let lights dry out completely of they have been hanging outdoors before packing them away.

Got one or two strands that are unfortunately broken? Many retailers have recycling events for dropping off old or broken lights. The for instance has a recycling program that accepts both LED and incandescent string lights.