Putting up Christmas lights can be fun, but the fun can soon become much less fun when we’re battling knots of cords and cables, or wracking our brain as to why the lights won’t turn on. It can be frustrating enough to make us want to do away with putting up lights altogether, but let’s be honest, who wants to be known as the Grinchy house on the street? That’s why we’ve put together some quick tips to help you out this year.
Turns out, there are the same few issues that most of us have each year time and time again. But, avoid these four mistakes, and the only time you’ll look like a plonker this Christmas is if you burn the turkey.
1. SAVE THE BUNCH, REPLACE THE BAD BULBS
Before stringing lights, we should check for broken bulbs and sockets, frayed cords, burned-out lights, and loose connections. That little checklist can save you plenty of headaches as you decorate. If you see any dead bulbs, even if the rest of the string is lighting up just fine, it’s worth repairing it. It’s important to replace bad bulbs on a string of lights because according to electrical experts they can cause the rest of the string to fail.
2. DON’T IGNORE THE RULE OF THREES
We’re not talking about displaying art and accessories in odd numbers (even though that is good decorating advice… apparently). In the lighting world, the rule of threes means having no more than three things plugged into an extension cord at the same time. This can prevent overheating, “but my extension cord has seven plugs—why not use ‘em?!” take note: There are about 160 Christmas tree fires a year, and nearly half are due to electrical or lighting issues. Better to be safe than sorry.
3. ORGANISED TAKING DOWN OF LIGHTS
Putting up decorations is more enjoyable than taking them down. Fact. But, in the hurry to get it over with, we can leave a jumbled mess to unearth the following year—or something that seems orderly enough at the time, only to become knotted as our box of decorations gets thrown into the cupboard for next year.
Here’s a budget-friendly light organizer tip.
Go through the leftover boxes from your Christmas presents, cut out roughly 10- by 15-inch pieces of cardboard. One for each light set, and make a small rip at each end and wrap the light set around the cardboard. This quick-fix can help reduce the chances of tangling… sorted.
4. KNOW HOW LONG YOUR LIGHTS CAN LAST
You’ve put up the lights… only to have them burn out mid-way through the Christmas holiday… nightmare!
Most Christmas bulbs have a 2,000-hour lifespan, which seems incredible—until you do the math: 90 days of 24-hour use equals 2,160 right there. (And considering some of us put up our decorations much earlier than we should and leave them up until mid-January… you know who you are, it’s safe to say you should only expect those strands of lights to last a couple years, even if you only keep them on a few hours a day.)