How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights

Outdoor Christmas lights are supposed to exude ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from neighbors and passersby when they see your home. They aren’t supposed to make people say ‘ew’ or ‘oh noooo!’ Installing outdoor Christmas lights is much more than simply throwing a few strings of lights around your windows and front door. A beautiful festive light display takes time and effort to plan. We certainly understand that at Workman’s Friend. Many of us have given up any attempt to install our own lights and have handed the responsibility over to professionals. But if you are one of those do-it-yourselfers with regards to all things Christmas, then the following tips will prove to be very valuable as you undertake the installation process.

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Cross the Street

Cross the street, literally. Before you attach a single string of lights to your home, give yourself some perspective by looking at your ‘canvas’ or home from a distance. The advantage of this different viewpoint will allow you to know where your Christmas lights will look the best. You’ll be able to view your home in its entirety, from the complete home, to the yard, porch, windows, roofline, and other details that you may never have considered outlining with lights before.

Safety First

It is more than an old wives tale or an urban legend, unfortunately it happens every year. Someone always seems to fall from a ladder when installing their outdoor Christmas lights. Whether you stand on the top of the ladder, lean too far over on your sloped roof, or try to install your lights during a storm, there isn’t a Christmas decoration out there worth compromising your safety. That’s why gloves, a spotter for your ladder, steel-toed boots, a flashlight and a reflective vest are all important items to have before you begin installing your lights.

At Workman’s Friend, we encourage you to walk the outside perimeter of your house to inspect for any branches, loose shingles or low hanging power lines. All of these hazards can cause serious harm or worse.

And before you step out of your home make sure to apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. Our rich formulation will keep your hands moisturized while you work in the cold weather and won’t make them slippery, thereby eliminating another safety risk.

Tool Time

From an extension ladder, and retractable tape measure, to extension cords, and power stakes, the list of tools and supplies you’ll need to anchor your lights can be long. If you’re unsure of what you’ll need, ask a neighbor or an employee at your local big-box hardware store. They’ll be able to differentiate between the essentials and the more frivolous equipment.

Remember, before you reach for any tools apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream to your hands. Our unscented formula will keep them hydrated and will make any type of clean-up after much easier. A simple wipe with a cloth and any evidence of your arduous light installation will be gone.

Get Numbers

Using your retractable tape measure you should try and estimate the width, and height, of the area where you want to hang Christmas lights. Record all of the numbers so you’ll know how many feet of light strands will be needed for each section you’re trying to decorate. If this is your first year hanging lights, begin by lighting for example, the roofline of your home, the front door, or the windows. Keep it simple at first and then feel free to add more lights next year when you have more experience and a better understanding of the process.

But before you step out that front door, apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. Our hydrating formula will help prevent your hands from becoming chafed and rough while you’re busy measuring.


In advance of hanging all of your Christmas lights, test each strand and make sure they work properly. We recommend that when you’re unpacking light strands that you look for any broken or missing bulbs. Additionally, check the cord for worn out or frayed wiring. Make sure all light strands and cords are disentangled. Plug in each strand to an electrical outlet and check every light on it. If you do have a bulb that isn’t properly lit, many boxes of lights come with extra bulbs for this reason. The older incandescent lights tend to burn out faster and are more likely to all stop working altogether if one bulb is burnt out. By comparison, LED lights don’t have the same problem, are more energy efficient and last longer.

Don’t forget to apply a layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream before you begin testing any light strands. Our hydrating formula will keep your hands soft and supple as you create your outdoor masterpiece!

Clip It

In years passed the traditional method of installing lights involved using nails or attaching cords with a staple gun. Today there is a much less painful approach using plastic light clips. Not only do they take hours off your installation and takedown time, but they make the job that much easier. Also, they make the job easier by removing the need for nails and staple guns to install the lights.

As usual, before you begin clipping any strands to the exterior of your home apply a layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. Our non-greasy and unscented formula will do its job protecting your hands while you do yours.

Hang Away

Once the preliminary work and preparation is complete, you can start decorating the outdoor of your home. Clip on your lights, wrap them around columns, or drape them over your rain gutters. However you decide to illuminate your home, do it with joy. This is a festive time of year. For many people it’s expressing their Christmas cheer through decorations that brings them so much happiness. So whether your Christmas lights produce a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ or nothing at all from onlookers remember to have fun, merry Christmas from Workman’s Friend.


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is light-weight and odorless product. Apply a dime-sized portion of our non-greasy, formula on each hand. Then rub them together to ensure the cream has been properly absorbed.

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