The Helpful Guide to Holiday Lights

If your lights could talk they’d share these bright ideas for maximizing twinkle and decorating safely.
Tangled Holiday Lights

Tangled Holiday Lights

tangled holiday lights

Photo by: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Philip Friedman/Studio D

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"Try me out first."

Plug in the lights before youtrim the tree. Replace any bulbsthat are burned out (most sets come with extras). Unlike sets of yore, a single burned-out bulb won’t always make the strand go dark, but bad bulbs strain the rest of the set, so it won’t last as long.

"Make me look professional."

For an evenly lit tree, string lights by working from the top down, and from the trunk to the tips of the branches. Wrap the lights around the individual branches for expert results.

"Consider splurging on LEDs."

Plastic LED lights are break-resistant, produce almost no heat, and can last up to 100,000 hours, compared with 3,000 hours for incandescent ones. LEDs are more expensive—sometimes four times the price of incandescents—but you’ll save cash in the long run.

"Make sure I’m fit for snow."

Outdoor lights have heavier-gauge wire that can withstand wet and snowy conditions, but indoor lights are too delicate to brave the winter elements. Store them separately so you know which are which next year.

"Don’t manhandle me."

Tugging at tangled lightscan fray the wires. To ensure along life span for your light sets, neatly wind them around a plastic spool or paper towel roll before putting them away.

"I don’t want to shock you, but…"

Daisy-chaining incandescent lights together and plugging them into a single outlet can be a fire hazard. Check the tag on your set to find out the max strands you can safely connect end-to-end.

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