Christmas Lights: clean, simple, classy (Part 2)

It’s time to put our lights in the yard and on the roof! Isn’t this exciting?
In part 1, we went over the philosophy behind clean, neat and classy Christmas decorations, as well as decided on materials and organization.

Now get up on the roof!
You will find that even with the best of plans, you will inevitably end up having to move some clips around between transitions of peaks and gutters…be patient and think safety! Be sure to stretch the cords completely between lights.

They are manufactured exactly 6″ apart, so there is no need to measure the distance from clip to clip. They will automatically be perfect! Simple right?
When you arrive at a roof peak (point) you may not be lucky enough to have a light end up exactly centered on the point. It will look just fine to “split” the peak as long as you do it evenly on both sides. (see picture)

Now hit the ground. (hopefully you get there by ladder, and not head first in a swan dive off the peak you just did!)
Place the light stakes around the natural curves of your landscape beds.If you happen to hit a dead spot, (a place where there is nowhere to hook the light or where one is not needed) you can just remove the bulb from that socket. Modern lights will operate with missing bulbs. (see picture).

On ground lights, if you have a sharp curve, you can place the lights a little closer together to better define the shape. (see picture)

Finally, using your extension cords, plug everything into your power supplies and set your timers. This is also a good time to make sure all the lights are working. Sometimes they come loose while you are clipping them. As a reminder, be sure you are not putting too many strings in a line or you will blow fuses in the lights, causing a major headache. Follow the guidelines on the lighting package.

Here’s one last tip that will save you some headaches next year!

(never too early to plan ahead.) Since all of your roof line clips are correct now, you should mark the strands of lights end-to-end with some varied color paint. This way, next year, you match up the paint from male-to-female ends and everything should line back up perfectly on the roof. You just need to make a note of the color order and where to start. I am so excited to show you the finished product in Part 3.

This post is #2 in a 3-part series. See below under “You might also like” for the other posts about Christmas Lights.

You can buy Christmas Lights Online Here.

Christmas Lights, clean, simple, classy (Part 1)

How to Put Up Holiday Lights!

STOP! See this entire series on a video I just made for ya’ll. It is 20 minutes long and very detailed, but teachs you how to put up your lights. Click the title below…

How To Put Up Christmas Lights Video

It’s that time of year men (and ladies). It’s the time when we go all out in the unwritten, unsponsored, but extremely important competition to out-do the neighbors with holiday spirit … we do this, of course, with outdoor Christmas decorations and lighting.
In this post, part 1, I will explain some of the basic materials and preparation, as well as my own philosophy in the matter.
Introduction to the “runway” look:
I am not a fan of sloppy, floppy, multi-colored-1980s-looking Christmas lighting. I prefer my outdoor lighting display to be clean, neat, well-ordered, methodical and classy. My setup is made completely using C7 (medium-sized) clear lights. Each C7 Christmas light is evenly spaced and laid out logically so as to keep power cords and plugs hidden from view. In short, I want my display to be “tight,” and not look like an old, burned out Ferris wheel at a strip-mall parking lot carnival. Interestingly enough, my method also makes putting up and taking down the display much easier year after year.
Definition of the “runway” look:
I’m not sure if I am the first to ever use this term, but I’ll take credit nonetheless. The name indicates that your display will be well defined like the outline of an aircraft runway. Every light is exactly spaced and straight. This creates a very classy appearance. (visuals coming in parts 2 and 3)
Supplies needed.
(1) 10 sets of C7 clear lights. The best place to get them is online suppliers where they are about $5 per set.
(2) 4 packs of stake clips and 6 packs of ’shingle and gutter’ clips.
(3) 4 extension cords (50 ft each in green)
(4) 2, 3-plug solar-sensing outlets with on/off timers. These save you from having to trek out in the cold at night before bed to turn the lights off.

The above supplies will cover most houses, front and sides. This basic setup is designed to highlight your roof-lines and your bed-lines on the ground. (4 sets for the ground, and 6 sets for the roof.) The cost of these supplies is around $155 total. Keep in mind that it’s a one-time investment that will last several years.
Layout and planning.
Here is where you can save yourself some bigtime headaches. Preparing a good plan keeps you from having to remove and re-position clips while you are up on the roof. It will also help you make the most of your extension cords and power source.
(1) Make a generic drawing (bird’s eye view) of your property with some basic measurements. Identify your power source (hopefully at the rear of the house) as well as where your solar power strips will be, and how your cords will run to them. Also keep in mind that you can only string 4 or sets together or you will blow fuses (see instructions on box) This will effect the way your layout your lights.

(2) attach clips to lights. For the stake clips on the ground, attach them whichever way you want, just do every light the same. Important: every light gets its own clip. We do not want any sags in the line. For the roof and gutter clips, you need to go outside and visualize how the clips will attach to the roof. Do you want your light facing up or down?

You also need to decide where to start and if the starting end will begin with the male connector or female connector. It helps to go on the roof and place a few clips to see your options because clip positioning varies depending upon if you start your strand with the male end vs the female end. Once again, with the roof line lights, every light gets a clip … no skipping!

(3) gently tighten all the lights in their sockets as you attach the clips.

You can get great pricing and selection on holiday lighting and display here.

Next, move on to Part 2