The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Christmas Lighting – A Guest Post!

Does that title not immediately make you think of Clark Griswold?!


HA! “Joy to the world!” I could quote that movie all day, so we’ll move on from there!

But seriously, what if you could get awesome Christmas lights in just three simple steps? When Paris from All About Electrics contacted me and asked me that question, I was a bit skeptical! After all, I’ve never touched the Christmas lights OUTSIDE…and the tree inside is a pre-lit tree! It always just seemed too complicated for me.

But after I his post I actually started to think that I could do it! And I’ll bet you can, too! Let’s check out his tips! (Interspersed with just a couple pics of my own lights outside our home!)

We’ve all seen those YouTube videos of incredible home lighting for Christmas. You know the ones we mean; lights that dance to the music, ten foot illuminated snowmen, animated reindeer on the roof. So why is it, when it comes to decorating our own houses, the end result is usually more bore-some than awesome?

When it comes to Christmas, the average dad has a lot to live up to. The kids and the wife have suddenly decided that, yes, we are actually one of Santa’s elves and therefore should be able to illuminate the house with a cheeky wink of an eye. After all, Mr. Robinson manages to make his house look jaw dropping every year without fail. We all have a Mr. Robinson in our neighborhood. You know who we’re talking about.

Getting prepped for Christmas and giving the house the WOW factor requires three basic elements; good planning, good lights and a good ladder. Let’s discuss each of these in more depth.

1. Good planning

You don’t have to have a master’s degree in home lighting to put together a classy display for Christmas. Start by standing outside your home and seeing what sort of shapes, space and surroundings you have to base your design upon.

Consider the shape and size of your home, as well as any special features it may have that would lend themselves well to lighting. The garden can be a source of inspiration too. Outdoor bushes, trees and paths can all be a great spot for lights, and will keep your family safe on these dark evenings too.

Don’t forget to plan how you will power all these lights too. Having an outdoor socket installed can work out a lot less painful than having cables trailing in through open windows and doors, but make sure any power supply you plan to use is up to the job of the load you are going to place on it, as well as being suitably protected against water ingress from the outside.



2. Good lights

Lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and what you get for your home will be largely budget dependent. However, rather than blowing your entire budget on a life size illuminated Santa, try and go for a classier, more subtle approach using strings of tiny lights placed in well planned positions.

For those bushes and trees, you can buy inexpensive lighting nets which can be artfully draped over the branches. Rope lights look great when wound around tree trunks and fences, and your windows are a prime spot for traditional silhouette lighting decorations to hang. Strings of fairy lights can cheer up your eaves, or can be used to outline the doors, windows and porches of your home.

So that your Christmas lights don’t end up costing the earth, try to pick low energy LED lights where possible. These come with the added bonus of a very long lifespan, and will also work even if some of the bulbs stop functioning, so no more hunting along the length of your lights to find the duff bulb. For a real eco alternative, consider solar outdoor lighting, which will help avoid the hazard of trailing cables too.


3. Good ladder

When we say a good ladder, what we really mean is an adequate, safe access route to get to where you want to put the lights. If you live in a bungalow, great. Your standard step ladder should get the job done fine. However, if you live in a two storey house or taller, are putting lights above a conservatory or have issues with placing the ladder against the wall, you might need to think about hiring proper access equipment.

Ladders need a firm, even base on which to stand, which rules out muddy flowerbeds and loose gravel for a start. If you do have a suitable surface for ladder work, make sure you’ve got somebody with you to pass up tools and strings of lights to you and to hold the ladder securely as you move around.


So there you have it. Awesome Christmas lighting made easy with three simple things. Above all, never attempt to erect your Christmas lights if you’ve had a few festive sherbets first. Have fun this Christmas and stay safe.

Thanks so much, Paris! I especially liked the point about the LED lights – you can cut your energy bill WAY down with those things!

Does your family put up lights outside on Christmas? Who is in charge of that task?


36 thoughts on “The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Christmas Lighting – A Guest Post!

  1. I guess you are right about the “dad” having to leave up to the family’s needs at Christmas…I have been trying to get hubby to put up Christmas lights outside – but there is no outdoor circuit and not sure we want opened windows and chords running through… But I love to look at the neighbors (oh yes,) who seem to get them just right each year!

  2. Great tips!! Also, How you take down the Christmas lights is so important, that and storage! Make life easier and take time storing your lights.

  3. We always enjoy going to see the beautiful Christmas lights that talented folks have on display. We live off the road a bit with a nice thick tree buffer so we don’t decorate outside.
    We did lights outside when we lived ‘in town’ many years ago. These are all great tips! Thanks, Pinning!

  4. A good ladder is a MUST when it comes to putting Christmas decorations on hight roof tops that are sometimes covered with snow, ice and who knows what. A helper would be great too…. I usually get to be the helper.

  5. We usually put up outdoor lights (my son-in-law does it for me) but this year they were in the middle of moving into their new home so I’m skipping this year.

    I saw a thing on Shark Tank the other night where you could leave your lights up all year long, but could hide them with a little contraption thing the guy had invented. Maybe I should do that. 🙂

    Great tips!

  6. We just drove the kids down an amazing block in our neighborhood and the elaborate light display is such a treat. You’ve made me think about outdoor lighting – maybe next year!

  7. I wish my husband would put up lights, but it just never seems to happen. Either the weather doesn’t cooperate or we run out of time.

  8. Our lights are fairly simple so my husband doesn’t really have much to do but reach up a bit (he’s 6’3) but this is great info because next year I am changing it up and he will need to know all of this!

  9. These are all great tips and make it sound so easy! WE haven’t done a lot of decorating this year, but now I’m inspired to try…

  10. I live on the 7th floor of a 7 story apartment building–no lights for me to put up–the super puts up some decorations and of course being so high I can see the decorations on all the houses around me!

  11. Great tips! We do put up lights but we have scaled way back. My husband does the majority of the outside lights but I help him. At one time we were fully lit up and you could land a plane with our light display. Now we pretty much just have lights across the front on the house and a display in our bay window.

  12. My old neighbors go all out with their exterior light displays every year. I don’t bother with that. As a single momma, it is one less thing to worry about every year. I love looking at all the pretty lights in the neighborhood though

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