How to light your Christmas tree like a pro

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

I was amused by the number of posts in my Facebook feed today which referenced problems with Christmas lights: untangling Gordian knots of light strings, plugging in the tree after decorating only to find that entire sections wouldn’t light, and the exhaustion of circling the tree over and over again, looping strings of lights around it.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

But not this year.

I will not provide pesky strings of Christmas lights with the opportunity to ruin the pleasure I find in decorating my tree.

First, because last year I invested in light reels, upon which I wrapped my new LED light strings after they came off the tree in January. So all eight strings will come out of storage tangle-free and ready to test BEFORE they go on the tree.

The end result

The end result

And, second, thanks to a great article I found in “Real Simple”, I will not be winding light strings around the tree. Instead, I’m going to follow their instructions to avoid jumbling up the light strings when they go on the tree (and when they come off after Christmas). Here’s what “Real Simple” recommends:

  1. Visually segment the tree into three vertical segments, like wedges.
  2. Plug in the first string of lights and, starting at the bottom, string the lights UP and DOWN the tree, tucking the lights toward the center of the tree.
  3. Add strings to complete the section, filling in dark spaces and moving around lights that are too close.
  4. When the first section is finished, move on to the second, then the third to finish off the tree.

I don’t know about you, but this trunk to tip method sounds MUCH easier than the traditional “Ring Around the Rosie” approach to lights. And according to the article, this is the approach that professional decorators use — even the folks who decorate the trees at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Sounds good enough for me.


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