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How To Hang Christmas Lights Like a Pro

how to hang christmas lights like a pro

The holidays are almost here, which means it’s time to transform your home into a winter wonderland. Whether you just bought new Christmas lights or you’re currently untangling last year’s ball of wires, here’s everything you need to know about how to hang them safely and securely.

Before You Begin

Before you start hanging any Christmas lights on your home, you’ll need a ladder, extension cord, and some kind of clips, hooks, or zip ties. You should also have a measuring tape and another person to help you. Finally, we recommend using an outdoor power stake with a timer to save power and prevent fires.  


In order to hang Christmas lights more than a few feet off the ground, you’re going to need a reliable ladder. While you can use a light-hanging pole, it’s almost always quicker and easier to use a ladder. You should also have another person to hold the ladder and help unspool your lights.

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Extension Cords

Unless you have multiple exterior electrical sockets around your home, you’ll need an extension cord to power all your lights. Make sure your lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use and preferably ones that are “UL-certified,” which means they were tested for safety by Underwriters Laboratory.

Clips, Hooks, or Zip Ties

People used to hang Christmas lights with nails or a staple gun, but these methods can leave holes in your walls and shingles. Even the smallest holes can cause water leaks, which can get worse as water seeps in and expands in winter conditions. So, we advise you to use plastic clips, hooks, or zip ties instead.

  • Gutter & Shingle Clips

The easiest way to hang your Christmas lights is with plastic clips. You can usually attach these to the lip of your gutters or slide them under your shingles. These clips are cheap, easy to install, and won’t leave any holes in your roof. Plus, you can reuse them to hang your lights every year.

Depending on which type of clips you get, you can attach them directly to the bulb (which lets you position each light individually), or you can just clip your lights to the line and let them hang down loosely.

clips 2
(Image Source: Amazon)

Some clips will only work with certain types of Christmas lights, while others will work with multiple types. So, it’s a good idea to check which types of lights you are going to hang before or just buy “all-in-one” clips.

  • Adhesive Clips

If you want to hang your lights anywhere other than your gutters or shingles, you can use adhesive hooks. While these clips will attach to any smooth, flat surface, they’re not always strong enough to hold a string of lights. Plus, the adhesive tape can wear out quickly, and it could take the paint off some surfaces.

  • Vinyl Siding Clips

If you’re just looking to hang Christmas lights along your vinyl wall siding, you can use special hooks that attach to the bottom of your planks. These clips can hold a lot more weight than adhesive clips, and they won’t leave any marks on your walls. 

  • Brick Clips

If you want to hang your lights on a brick wall, there are clips made especially for that surface. With brick wall clips, you can pinch any brick on the exterior of your home, as long as the mortar joints are squared off. These types of wall clips are able to hold enough weight for even larger decorations.

  • Suction Cup Clips

There are even clips you can use to hang your Christmas lights on glass. Suction cup clips are easy to install, and they won’t damage your windows when it’s time to remove them. However, it’s easy for these clips to lose suction, and they are not usually strong enough to hold a string of lights.

  • Zip Ties

For hanging Christmas lights on posts, poles, columns, trees, and other non-flat surfaces, you might want to consider using zip ties instead of clips or hooks. If you don’t want to throw your zip ties away every year, you might want to get reusable ones instead of the standard models.

Measuring Tape

Professionals always measure twice before installing anything. So, if you plan on hanging your own lights this Christmas, we recommend using a tape measure to see if your lights will actually fit the space first.  Make sure to get a long tape measure, so you don’t have to measure in sections.

Grounded Power Stakes

In order to keep all your extension cords organized and your power from overloading, it’s a good idea to plug everything into a grounded power stake. These usually come with multiple outlets, weatherproof covers, and built-in timers, so you don’t have to manually turn your lights off at night.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of hanging lights yourself, HelloTech can help. We can send a professional technician to your door to install or remove your Christmas lights for you. Our experts can even bring their own ladder and all the necessary tools to perform the installation.

How to Hang Christmas Lights On Your Home

To hang Christmas lights on the outside of your home, you should start by planning out where you want to install them and measuring the space. Then test your lights, attach the light clips, and install the hooks on your roof. Finally, hang your lights on the clips, plug everything in, and turn everything on with a timer.

Plan Your Design

Before you start hanging your Christmas lights, you should decide where you want the focal point of your home to be. Typically, you’ll want to hang the brightest lights around places like your front door, awning, and other interesting architectural features like columns on your front porch.


For the best results, you might want to take a picture of your home from the angle most people will see it. Then you can plan out which lights you want to hang in certain areas.

Measure Where Your Christmas Lights Will Hang

Use a tape measure to find out how long your Christmas lights need to be. It’s important to do this before you start hanging your lights, so you’ll know if they are too short. You should also measure how far your power source is, so you’ll know how long your extension cords need to be.

To make sure your lights will reach, it’s also a good idea to plug them in and lay them out before grabbing your ladder.


To prevent electrical fires, the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) advises against connecting more than three strings of lights together. If you plan on hanging lots of lights, it’s a good idea to use an outdoor power stake with multiple outlets, so you can control all your lights from one cord.

Test Your Lights Before Hanging Them

Even if your Christmas lights are brand new, it’s still a good idea to plug them in before hanging them. Then make sure all your bulbs are working properly. If any light isn’t working, you can use a light tester to make sure it’s just one light or multiple. You can also try changing the fuse, which might be located inside the plug itself.


At this point, it’s also a good idea to double-check that your lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use.

Attach the Clips

To be safe, it’s a good idea to install hooks on your walls and attach clips to your lights before climbing up the ladder. Otherwise, you’ll need to fiddle with the lights and clips at the same time, which can be dangerous. In most cases, you’ll want to install your clips and hooks about 6-12 inches apart.

When installing clips directly on your roof, you’ll have to lift each shingle slightly and slide the clip under. However, you shouldn’t lift any shingles past the point of resistance. Otherwise, you risk damaging the glue underneath, which can damage your roof and lead to water leaks.

When installing clips to your gutters, all you have to do is slide them over the outer lip of your gutters. Just make sure the hook part of the clip is facing out, so you can attach your lights properly.

how to hang christmas lights plastic clips gutters and shingles
(Image Source: Amazon)

You might want to install your clips closer together for certain lights, especially when hanging icicle lights and large bulbs.

Hang Your Christmas Lights

Make sure your ladder is safe and secure before you start climbing up and down. Place your ladder on a flat surface and get another person to hold the base of the ladder whenever you are on it. Having another person will make the job a lot easier, and they can also help you handle long strings of lights.


For the best results, we recommend you start hanging your lights from the highest point and work your way down. Also, it’s best to start at the end closest to your power source, so you’ll know your lights are long enough.  

When standing on a ladder, make sure your body weight is centered over the steps. It’s best to keep at least three points of contact with the ladder at all times. This means you’ll need to move the ladder frequently.   

Turn On Your Lights

Finally, once you hang up all your lights, it’s time to turn them on to see if they really work. While you might get the biggest reaction by turning your lights on at night, you won’t be able to fix any broken lights in the dark, so it’s best to do your first test when it’s still light out.


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