Video: DIY Christmas Lights Simple and Classy

It is time to get out and win that unspoken competition you have going with your neighbors over who has the best Christmas Light Display. Fortunately for you, I made this video to show you how to put up Christmas lights without going all “Clark Griswald” up in your crib.

I hope this video comes across well as it is my first full length post in this format. I can tell you that the wind is really bad in much of the video and does distort the audio to the point of annoyance, but there is nothing I can do about that until I invest in some better equipment (which I plan to do very soon). There are also 3 written posts that go along with this video:

Christmas Lights Part 1

Christmas Lights Part 2

Christmas Lights Part 3

The posts and video all work together and should clear up any questions, however, I would be glad to answer any you have: just leave them in the comments below.

(if you are reading this post through the feed, you will need to click on the title of the post above and come to the blog and view the video)

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