The Right Shoes for Hanging Christmas Lights

As you hang your Christmas lights this season, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions before you get up on a ladder or roof. That includes selecting the right footwear to keep you from slipping and falling.

Here are some “Christmas lights shoes” tips:

• Throw fashion out the window and think only about function. Old shoes are fine if they’re in good shape. Don’t be concerned with how they look; it’s likely that no one will notice them while you’re hanging lights.
• Athletic shoes are a good choice. High-topped sneakers are better because they give your ankles additional support on pitched roofs.
• Another option is a pair of shoes with flat soles (such as deck shoes or Vans). These shoes maximize the surface area of your foot that is in contact with the roof – which improves your footing.
• Avoid dress shoes or slick-soled shoes at all costs. These increase the chances of slipping.
• Avoid cheaply-made shoes or slippers. They may give you a false sense of security, but they won’t give you the traction or steadiness you need.
• If you have a big job ahead of you, think about using a heavy work boot with a slip-resistant sole. Or you might consider Cougar Paws, which have spikes on the soles for extra traction.
• In a pinch, you can use skate shoes or rock climbing shoes. They are built for extra gripping – but they may not be durable enough for long-term Christmas light hanging use.

Christmas Lights Haiku

And now, a holiday haiku which depicts the joys of hanging your own Christmas lights.

Get the boxes out.
Untangle the lights and bulbs.
Untie all the knots.

Time to test the lights!
Plug them in, but they stay dark.
Stupid burned out bulb!

Let’s go hang them up.
It’s very chilly outside.
You might catch a cold.

Get on the ladder.
Stretch the wires and hang the clips.
Whoops! You broke a bulb.

Finally, you’re done.
Grab the cords and plug them in.
Power shorted out.

You are so mad that
You swear that next year you will
Call professionals.

One Man’s Passion: Christmas Lights

Meet Jeff Trykoski. He’s just a regular guy who happens to like putting up Christmas lights. He likes them so much that after a few years of putting them up on his home in Frisco (a suburb of Dallas), he ran out of space and power.

So Jeff decided to take his passion to the next level. He set his home’s Christmas light display to music. You may have seen the result on YouTube.

His creation received so much praise and acclaim that the city of Frisco asked Jeff to handle its Christmas light show celebration this year. So Jeff, his brother Greg, and many other helpers had the opportunity to create a massive holiday display featuring 175,000 bulbs, eight miles of extension cords, and almost 12 miles of wiring. The result is now on display through early January.

Why Your Christmas Lights Aren’t Working

You retrieve your Christmas lights from the attic, garage, or wherever you store them. You pull them out of the containers and plug them in – and they don’t work! But they worked last year – why aren’t they lighting up now?

There are several ways that lights can become inoperative during storage. Some of them are:

Improper packing. Perhaps last year the lights were tossed or shoved into a box, which could have broken bulbs or stretched wires enough to compromise the wiring.
Moisture. If your roof or garage leaked during the year, the wetness may have seeped into the wires and damaged them.
Insects. Some bugs like to chew on parts of your Christmas lights – which may be enough to keep them from working.
Animals. A squirrel in an attic or a possum in a garage may munch on just about anything – including Christmas lights.
Old age. So you bought these lights – when, exactly? They’re not designed to work forever. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and purchase new Christmas lights.

Christmas Light Display Ideas

Need some fresh ideas for the Christmas lights on your home? Bored with just outlining your roof, eaves, or gutters? Here are some tips to jazz up your home Christmas display.

• Wrap trees with bulb strands or netting lights.
• Drape netting lights on bushes or shrubs.
• Run strands from a high point (on a pole, tree, or chimney) at a slant down to the ground to form a “fan” pattern.
• Use luminaries, which are a series of paper bags with votive candles and sand (or “flameless” LED candle lights) inside, to rim your front walk or curb.
• Place lights or festive lamps in your windows inside the house so they can be seen from the street.

Hanging Christmas Lights – In Minutes Instead of Hours

Do you want a nice Christmas light display on your home without spending all that time nailing in hooks or shoving in little plastic clips?

A Houston-area man has invented a solution. He calls it “Santa’s Genie Hangers.”

These items are actually just strips of plastic with hooks already on them. So instead of spending most of your time on a ladder, you can attach the lights to the hooks on the plastic strips while sitting in the comfort of your living room or garage. Then you can simply slide the edges of the plastic strips underneath the shingles of your roof so they stay in place and display the lights. Santa’s Genie Hangers even “bend” in the middle so you can use them around corners.

The beauty of Santa’s Genie Hangers is that you can use them with virtually any type of Christmas lights. They’re especially attractive to people who don’t like staying out in the cold for long periods of time in December working on Christmas displays!

Icicle Lights: Yea or Nay?

You may have seen so-called “icicle lights” in stores or on other houses this holiday season. Instead of a single strand of bulbs, icicle Christmas lights have numerous smaller strands of five or six bulbs each which are attached to a main wire. These mini-strands dangle from eaves or gutters, giving the “illusion” of icicles hanging from your rooftop on a wintry day.

Generally speaking, icicle lights are just as safe as regular miniature lights; so whether or not you incorporate them into your Christmas display depends on your personal tastes. However, you should


attach icicle lights to the roof of a second story house. Icicle lights use wires that are of smaller gauge than traditional Christmas lights – which means they are more susceptible to wind at greater heights. This can increase the chances of an electrical short (or even a fire!).

As long as you attach icicle lights properly and keep them off of two-story roofs, they can be an excellent addition to your exterior yuletide scene!

Benefits of Low-Energy Christmas Light Bulbs

If you like the traditional look of C7 or C9 Christmas light bulbs as opposed to the “miniature” lights, then you should strongly consider buying Low Energy bulbs instead of the standard kind. Low Energy C7 or C9 bulbs provide you with the same bright, colorful appearance as their standard counterparts, but they use up to 60% less power. They are also cooler and safer than standard lights – and they usually only cost about four cents more per bulb. You can find them wherever Christmas lights are sold.

Attaching Christmas Lights to a House

You want to hang your Christmas lights up on the exterior of your house, but you’re not sure what materials to use. Here are a few tips:

• Never use staples on wood trim. Stapling the wires can damage the strand and cause outages.

• Screwing hooks into wood trim is usually your most effective option. Nails can be used if that’s all you have, but strands tend to slip off of them. And you should never hammer a nail into a wire.

• For gutters, use plastic all-in-one clips. These can be placed wherever you need them and can also be reused year after year.

• Avoid tape or putty, because these will not stand up to the elements very well.