Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Put Christmas Tree Lights on a Christmas Tree: Part 13

Ready, Set ... GO!

It is my humble opinion, that before you start to light the tree, take a power strip and zip tie it to the center of the tree, against the trunk, so it's not visible from the viewing area.  Then plug the power strip into the wall outlet. All the lead wires from all the strings will be at the back of the tree, not just looking bare and ugly.  With that being said, if you have a better plan, please email me and let me know. 

How you put your Christmas tree lights on your tree depends on your own personal experience, advice that you've gotten from garden centers and the tree lot guy, and maybe some tips you gleaned off of YouTube.  There are several different techniques or styles of Christmas tree light installation, all depending on the number of lights you have, and your pain tolerance.

The Zen Approach:  The advantage of this technique is that you are taking into consideration that the branches of your Christmas tree will droop with the weight of lights and ornaments.  But by alternating branches, the tree limbs won't sag in the same place and the lower branches will actually help support the branches above it.  This technique will also appear more random and you won't be fighting straight lines of lights, which is hard to fix -- once you notice it -- usually after you get your ornaments on.

Starting at the bottom of the tree, and with your lights plugged into the power source, determine which way around the Christmas tree you are going to go (either clockwise or counter clockwise) and then keep it consistent.  Place your light strand over the first branch, then under the next, laying the Christmas tree lights on top of the branches.  As you're weaving over and under the branches, go deeper towards the trunk, then work your way out to the tips of the branches, then back towards the trunk and so forth.

There is no winding of the light wires around the branches with this technique, just lay the lights gently across the top of the branches.  Work your way to the top, spiraling around and around.  As the tree narrows at the top, you might have to adjust as there are less branches to work with per cycle/circle/rotation.

The Professional Designer Style: There are people that get paid for decorating Christmas trees -- for parties, for businesses, for displays, for weddings -- I know!  What a great job that would be.  But even the professionals don't all agree on the same way to light up a Christmas tree. Some start low and go up, some start at the top and go down.  Some go clockwise and some go counter clockwise. But this will get you started:

Which way are you going to circle the tree?  It really doesn't matter as long as you maintain that rhythm throughout the installation.  Start at the bottom, and back at the trunk, with your lights plugged in.  Pick a branch.  Now you are going to get the lights from the trunk to the tip of that branch and there are two ways to do it:
  1. Wrap the lights two or three times around the branch, from the trunk to the tip.
  2. "S" the lights across the top of the branch from the trunk to the tip, then wrap the the wire around the tip a couple of times, trying to get a light right on the tip of the branch.
Either way, once you reach the tip, the lights then go straight back across the top of the branch to the trunk.  Move on to the next branch.

Amateur Hour: This is probably the technique used in most homes.  Start by lighting the inside of the tree by wrapping the first string of Christmas tree lights around the trunk.  Personally, I find that a little distracting, but it does get the lovely glow and color of lights deep into the tree.  Then, starting at the top, lay the Christmas tree lights gently on the top of the branches.  Leave a little slack so you can push some of the lights deeper in to the tree and pull some of them a little closer to the tips of the branches.  Try not to form a straight line, but maneuver the lights over the smaller, inner branches and under as well.

This is a pretty good video that I found on YouTube.  It has some great instructions for the this method, all in less than three minutes:

When you reach the end of a string of Christmas tree lights, add another -- or stack another.  And remember to please follow the manufacturers recommendations as to the number of strings you can hook together via stacking or plugging end to end. 

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