Lights on a tree can represent so many wonderful things about the holiday season. The sight of a family sitting around a Christmas tree, the only light in the room, while listening to the Nutcracker Suite and drinking hot chocolate. It seems like a fairy tale, but that’s what the season is about; indulging our winter fantasies through festive décor and traditions.
Many people choose clear or white lights because they complement any color scheme or tree theme. Multicolored lights definitely give a festive look and single colored lights like red or blue also go well with certain themes. Lights should be the first thing placed on a tree. Before you start to decorate, pull the tree away from the wall or furniture so you can walk completely around it without obstruction.
How many lights do I need?
A good estimate of how many lights you’ll need is to use the measurement of 100 lights for each foot of the tree. So for a 7ft tree, you’ll want no less than 700 lights. 100 strand light sets work best for most people. Always plan to pick up an extra set of lights in case of shortage or burnout…you would hate to find yourself beginning your tree trimming and have to postpone it to run to the store for more lights!
Stringing the lights
Of course, test the lights before you begin. Plug in each strand to make sure everything’s a go and keep them plugged in as you decorate. It’s much easier to string and place them correctly when they’re lit. One of the best ways to achieve that “lit from inside” tree is to wrap lights around select branches.
Start by purchasing a light controller – a multi-socket extension cord. You can buy these at any home improvement or hardware store. These holiday hookups allow you to plug multiple strands of lights to one cord and control them through one switch.
They generally make them in green but they’re also available in white for white artificial trees. Attach the cord up and down the trunk of the tree with twine or pipe cleaner. IMPORTANT: Be sure to read the light manufacturer’s instructions on strand plug on limits.
Grab a string of lights and start at the top of the tree. Plug the strand into the outlet near the top. Starting at the base of a branch, wrap the cord around the branch. Continue until you reach the tip, then wrap back towards the base.
You don’t have to wrap it super tight, just enough to give the branch a sufficient glow without obstructing or crushing the individual branches, and at the same time, hiding the wires well. As you work back toward the base, you can wrap around a few individual branches. When you hit the base start on a new branch.
You don’t need to wrap every single branch either (this would take a ton of lights and probably make the tree look like it was on fire rather than beautifully lit!). Just make sure you are consistent with your spacing from top to bottom. Step back and take a look at the tree to see where there may be gaps.
It’s even easier to string with an artificial tree, as you can string as you assemble and position the branches. Using this technique will give your tree dimension and depth and make it look like it’s lit from within!