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How to Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

Get in the Christmas spirit and illuminate your house with a dazzling display of lights.


  • Step 1: Find a power source Find an outdoor electrical outlet that you will be able to plug a heavy duty extension cord into.
  • TIP: Use an outlet that is controlled by a switch or run your lights through a timer.
  • Step 2: Measure Use the tape measure to determine the length of the area where you want to hang the lights as well as the height of any walls, bushes, or trim where you will be hanging lights. Then figure the number of 50-foot light strings you will need.
  • Step 3: Test your lights Look for broken or missing bulbs, and worn or bare wires before you plug in the lights. Then plug in the lights to make sure they work before you hang them.
  • Step 4: Set up a ladder Use a stepladder if your house's eaves are low. If not, use an extension ladder. Plant the ladder on level ground and extend it well above the eaves at a safe angle.
  • Step 5: Hang the lights Hang lights along the gutters first, using plastic clips made for light strings. Then attach lights to vertical trim using the vertical clips.
  • Step 6: Decorate trees Hang lights in small trees using the pole with the hook on it. Drape the string over the hook, extend it to the tree, and then twist the pole, allowing the string to fall from the hook to the branches. You can make a device by bending a coat hanger into a hook and attaching it to a broomstick with duct tape.
  • FACT: Thomas Edison created the first strand of electric lights and decorated the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory with them around Christmas, 1880.

You Will Need

  • Power source
  • Extension cord
  • Tape measure
  • Ladder
  • Christmas light hooks
  • Vertical Christmas light clips
  • Pole with a hook
  • Switch or timer (optional)
  • Coat hanger (optional)
  • Broomstick (optional)
  • Duct tape (optional)

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