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Holiday Decorating Tips | Christmas Trees, Lights, and More!

holiday decorating tips - christmas lights, tree, and morePart of heading home for the holidays is the excitement of seeing how your family members have decorated their property, inside and out! Snowmen and Santa figurines, Christmas books and blankets, tinsel and lights — all of these things make the holidays bright.

Make your home unforgettable this Christmas with our list of holiday decorating tips and tricks! You’ll safely ignite the holiday cheer — without the actual igniting of a home electrical fire. From hanging Christmas lights to using scrap wood to make unique DIY décor, this list has it all. It’s time to deck the halls; now, just don’t fall off that ladder!

CHRISTMAS TREE CARE — When to Water & Unplug

The main event for Christmas decorating is always the tree. When it comes to choosing the right tree, there are no exact rules. Just make sure that it is healthy and recently cut. The healthier the tree, the better it will hold water and the less likely it is to become a fire hazard.

The best way to keep your tree fire-safe is to keep it properly watered. A nifty solution is to pick up the Christmas Tree Safety System by LifeKeeper. You can buy it here. This system includes a low-water sensor that signals when it is time to hydrate your tree. It also comes with an angel ornament that will turn on a remote alarm if a hazardous heat level is sensed. With this one system, you’ll never have to over-think when to water or watch out for heat.

In terms of fire safety, never use exposed fire on a tree, such as candles. The candle look is awesome, but there are many wireless options that will eliminate the fear of a dangerous house fire. One example or stylish yet safe candle alternatives are these LED clip-on candles from Pro Idee. They are remote controlled with 5 lighting settings and will run for 450 hours of safe holiday glow. Pick these battery-powered beauties up here.

LED clip-on candles from Pro Idee


Besides not using real candles on the tree itself, where you set up the tree is also important. The tree must be several feet away from a heat source, including a working fireplace or portable heater.

Finally, when you’re heady to head to bed, make sure to unplug the lights on your tree. Even when using LED lights or other lighting rated safe for indoor use, it is important to limit your electrical use.

Top 4 Christmas Tree Tips:

  1. Never use electric lights on metal trees or candles on real trees
  2. Use LED lights because they don’t produce heat, but either way, unplug before you head to bed
  3. Your tree needs to be at least 3 feet from heat sources, including fireplaces and heaters
  4. Keep your tree hydrated & healthy with proper watering

how to take proper care of your Christmas tree


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS — Test, Fix and Hang   

You’ve pulled out the Christmas lights from the attic or basement holiday bins and excitedly plugged them in. Uh, oh! Looks like some of the bulbs aren’t working. You do not need to test each bulb individually; you can test the entire string with the use of a light tester, such as the popular LightKeeper Pro. Note that light testers only work with miniature and icicle lights. Larger lights and LED lights do not function with light testers.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Remove one of the bulbs from a section that is not lighting up
  2. Plug the now empty socket into the light tester’s connector
  3. Plug the string into an electrical outlet
  4. Squeeze the ‘trigger’ of the light tester until the lights turn back on!

We seem to think that once one bulb blows out the entire string of Christmas lights is headed for the garbage. But, in fact, light testers are simplest way to get your string lights shining brightly again.

christmas light tester


ALTERNATIVE LIGHT CLIPS — Handy Options That Hold In Place

Now that your lights are tested and repaired, time to hang them up! What many lighting aficionados confront every year is how to keep their lights in place above windows, on the fascia or under the soffit of the roof, or down the stair railing. Small nails are often used, but can be permanently damaging to the surfaces.

Here are a few alternatives that will hold your lights in place without any need for a hammer:

Clothespins – Given the structure of most soffits, you should be able to clip regular wooden clothespins onto the aluminum lip of your roof’s under piece. This way there will be no damage due to the traditional method of hammer and nails. You can paint your clothespins for a more festive flair. Clothespins also have a cutesy and more-DIY look that is always appreciated during the holiday season.

man hanging christmas lights outside with clothespins


Zip-Ties – Want to hang lights down your stair banister? One easy way to hold them in place is with zip-ties. Not only are they super easy to use, but they’re also durable. You can’t get them off without snipping them with scissors. Zip-ties come in many colors and can be found at any hardware or home store. They even sell them at most local dollar stores!

You can use zip-ties for other Christmas decorations as well, and when storing things away post-holiday. If you have extra ties, you can use them to tie up your light bundles so they don’t get tangled in storage. Zip-ties can also be looped around your leftover Christmas wrapping paper rolls instead of tape, which usually rips the paper when removed.

man hanging christmas lights on banister with zip ties


Never forget to be practice ladder safety! Click here for more information on how to stay safe on a ladder when putting up holiday décor. Lighting and ladder accidents are the leading cause of emergency room visits during the holidays. Don’t be one of the 250 people on average that are admitted to the hospital every day during this time of year, due in large part to decorating and electrical! 

FOR THE PORCH — DIY Repurposed Wood Gift Boxes

light-up wooden Christmas boxes for the porchwooden lattice Christmas boxes


Want your porch to glow in an unexpectedly adorable way? Use your hammer and nail skills to produce some of the cutest decorations we can find — DIY wooden Christmas gift boxes to greet your guests before you even open the font door!

After you’ve used a light tester (instructions above) to test and fix your broken Christmas lights, you can stuff those newly repaired light strings inside these self-made wooden boxes.

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Grab some wooden lattice from the home service store (or sometimes you can find scraps of this style on the sidewalk being thrown out by homeowners)
  2. You’ll need some solid wood scraps that you can either buy or collect throughout the year
  3. Each box has two lattice sides, two solid sides, a solid top, and an open bottom
  4. Leave the bottom of the box open so you can put your string lights inside and access them easily if they burn out or need to be readjusted
  5. Decorate with ribbon, pinecones, ornaments or any other holiday object you can think of!
  6. Quick tip: If you can’t find lattice wood, use wire fencing or any other open/crossed material

Remember to test your AFCIs, GFCIs, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors every 30 days!

Click here for more holiday decorating tips, including lighting, ladder, and fire safety.

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Gold Medal Service wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season!

We’re open 24/7, even during holidays. Give us a call today at 1-877-803-0511 or schedule an appointment online!

If you have questions about electrical and lighting safety, we’ll be glad to answer your questions.

If you haven’t had your heating system tuned up yet, contact the professionals at Gold Medal Service to schedule your maintenance appointment today. Read why annual furnace maintenance is so important here.

And don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

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