Putting lights on a Christmas Tree, for some is a laborious chore. The act of going around and around, trying to get the lights evenly placed can wear you down.
For 10 years, I decorated Christmas Trees for the Albany Institute of History and Art’s FESTIVAL of TREES. The easy way that I put lights on those trees, I am going to cover here.
Step 1 ..Depending on how wide / full your tree is, artificial or real, divide it into fourths (quadrants). Think front, two sides, and back. If your tree is really wide, divide it into fifths or even sixths.
Step 2 ..Take an extension cord, and run it from your wall outlet to a space close to the back center of your tree.
Putting Lights on the Front of the Tree ..Step 3 ..Plug your first set of lights into the extension cord, and work the lights from the back of the tree to the tree’s Front Bottom, quadrant 1. Only working on the front quadrant, start stringing your lights in and out of the branches, zigzagging back and forth, slowly working to the tree’s top. As needed, add a second or even third set of lights to the end of the set you just placed on the tree, until you completely light that one side. Follow the instructions on the lighting package, as to how many sets of light you can connect end-to-end. There are only so many sets of lights that can be connected end-to-end at one time without causing the fuses in the plugs to blow. The reason for this is because the electrical wires between the lights are thin, and can’t take the strain of trying to pull too much electricity through all those feet of cord.
Have your lights lit when placing them on the tree, that way you can easily see that they are evenly distributed.
Step 4 ..When it comes to putting lights on the sides and back of your tree (quadrants 2, 3, and 4), insert the first plug of the first string of lights for that side, into the first plug that you initially added to the electrical lead, when you started putting lights on the front of the tree (look at the illustration). You can plug many plugs, one into the other, within reason, because the electrical current is going from plug to plug, and coming off of a thick extension cord, not going through the thin wire of the light sets.
Place your lights on the sides and back, as you did on the front of the tree. Work your lights way into the branches to light the center of the tree, and zigzag upward to the top.
Putting Different Colors of Lights on your Tree ..Over the 10 year period, that I decorated trees for the Albany Institute of History and Art, I created many different theme trees. On many of those trees I put colored lights. By colored lights, I mean trees completely lit in Green, Gold, Red, Blue, etc. Any of the just mentioned colored lights can be overpowering, too bright, and even sickening by themselves, if not combined with clear / white lights. The clear / white lights cut the intensity of the solid colored lights, and give the eye a place to rest.
When I decorated trees for the AIHA, I would first cover the trees in the colored lights, then I would add 1/4 to 1/2 more clear / white lights loosely strong over the tree. If I put 8 sets of colored lights on the tree, I would then put 3 or 4 sets of clear / white lights over them.
When Shopping for / putting lights on your tree, don’t be afraid to mix different sizes and shapes of lights together. Put Old Fashioned large colored lights with small Modern clear / white lights. If you are into all clear / white lights, get some sets in different sizes. Just don’t have the same amount of each size on the tree. Think 3/4 big and 1/4 small, or 2/3 small and 1/3 big.
Finally ..When the holiday period is over, and it is time to take down your tree, start by unplugging the top most plug (see the illustration (it is the plug for the back of the tree #4). That set of lights will be the first set to take off.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I hope this post helps make your holiday decorating a little easier.
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