Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree…The EASY WAY

The EASY Way to put lights on a Christmas Tree

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.

Companion Posts
Christmas Tree Decorating…Step by Step, Like a Pro11-13-2011,
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tulle 10-20-2012,
It’s Easy to Make a Tulle Christmas Wreath 11-8-2012,
Make a NO TIE Bow for your Christmas Wreath 12-8-2011,
It’s EASY to FLUFF a Fake / Artificial Christmas Wreath 11-30-2011,
Cutting / Making Paper Snowflakes 10-27-2011,
Turn your Paper Snowflake into a Snowflake Snowman 12-14-2011,
Make some Animals from Cut Paper Snowflakes 12-19-2011
A paper craft project for kids, Make a Christmas Tree out of your Name 11-18-2011,
Some Outdoor Christmas Decorations that you can leave up ALL Winter 11-26-2011

(Unrelated, but Really Popular Interior Decorating Posts)
Arranging Living Room Furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
Arranging Furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
When Buying Living Room Furniture FORGET the Loveseat, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
The Right Way to hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011,
Matching the Right shape End Table with a Table Lamp 1-12-2014

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Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter, How-to, The Winter Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree…The EASY WAY

  1. Joanne Razzano says:

    Never thought of adding white lights to the color strings. I don’t care for the blue-tone of the new LEDs, however…those are too bright.

    • Joanne,
      Maybe the LED lights are better for outside, where they don’t have to be viewed for too long. I remember my Mother doing a gold tree, after seeing a gold lit tree at a historical society. That tree was grand in a mansion, that we did not have to view for too long, but when it was in our living room, that was another story. The gold tree lasted for one holiday season, and we never had to look at that again. When I decorated the gold tree, I knew to cut the GOLD with white. Maybe LED lights, cut with white would also improve the look. I add white / clear lights to everything that I put lights on, be it inside, or out.

  2. auburnchick says:

    Thanks for sharing this post. It seems like such a “duh” thing, but I needed the post. I was not going to put up my tree this year because of the time involved in adding the lights. I used your tips and about an hour later, I was finished! Thanks a bunch!

    • Hi Auburnchick, Glad to have been of help. From seeing the numbers, for people looking at Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree, You are just one of MANY people with that problem. Merry Christmas to you, and have a Happy New Year 2012. Don’t be a stranger, and tell your friends about my site.

      Hi everyone at Pinterest.com Thank you all..Danna Farr and Melissa Bolton, Nathalie Hall, Erica Boehm, Laura Bell-burkett, Beth Bouchard, Cindy Brown, and Allie Moore. Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright, now that you got your Lights on your Christmas Trees ;-}

  3. @LisainLouKY says:

    Found your site through Pinterest!! Thank you for sharing this – we struggle every year to get the lights on right.

    Merry Christmas to you & yours!

    • Hi there LisainLouKY…I’ve got a lot of traffic through the Pinterest group, BUT you are the first of the bunch to comment. How nice of you to do so. You know, I have other articles that could be pinned on Pinterest. Fifty Five in all, so take a look at the topics i wrote about in the past. Just scroll down the page to the end, click on older posts (bottom left), and it will get you to earlier articles. Even if you don’t read any of the articles, you can look at all the pictures I’ve drawn, collages I’ve made, and photos I’ve took. Merry Christmas to you, and Have a Happy 2012 ;-}

  4. A Happy Elf says:

    I found this article very helpful! Thank you for the tips!

  5. LuAnn Castellana says:

    I have a beautiful prelite tree but the lights are so bright! Any suggestions?

    • Hi LuAnn. There is no real way to turn down the lights that I know. You could try putting garland, bulbs, etc on the tree in front of the lights, here and there, to block some of the light. Is there any way you can bend the lights /tips of branches backward, in spots, without damaging them, to direct the light inward toward the tree’s center? Thanks for the question, Merry Christmas and Happy 2012.

  6. Vicki says:

    What kind of extension cord are you using in the picture? Is there one that stands up like that? What is it called and where can I find it?

    • Hi there Vicki, I just use the everyday white extension cord that I think comes in 6 or 9 feet length that you can buy at Home Depot, Lowe’s, WalMart, etc. The illustration is really to show you how to piggy back many plugs, versus running them end to end. At my mother’s house, where she has two different colors of lights to work with (one year it is red and green with white/clear, the second option is blue and green with clear) I put all the red and green or blue and green on one extension cord, and all the white/clear ones on another, so she has the option of having a, let’s say, red and green lit tree, a white/clear lit tree, or all the lights lit at once (reg,green and clear). I hope this note was of help, Merry Christmas Happy 2013.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Followed your method for Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree the easy way. Turned out to make a huge difference. Thanks so much for the tip!

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