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There are many factors to consider when buying Christmas lights, starting with where the lights are going to be used. Buying Christmas lights can be a somewhat overwhelming experience due to the wide array of options. Having an idea of your requirements before you set out to purchase lights will make the procedure much more rapid and efficient.
Before buying Christmas lights, it is generally a good idea to make sure that you do not already have Christmas lights in storage. Labeling storage boxes carefully to indicate the contents assists with this, as boxes from the previous Christmas can be quickly located. When preparing lights for storage, it is an excellent idea to tag the strands to indicate the length and type of light, so that you do not need to unravel the strand to determine what it is. Your old lights should be tested to see if they still work and discarded if they appear to be malfunctioning. Once a clear picture of the already existing lights has been established, you can assess your lighting needs.
If outdoor lighting is desired, measure the area or design you intend to light to determine the total length of lights you will need. Do the same for indoor lighting, making sure to keep the measurements separate, because you will be buying Christmas lights of different types for indoor and outdoor use. While measuring, think about what kind of lights you want; there are a variety of different designs on the market including clear, colored, small, large, decorated, icicle lights, and so forth. Making a comprehensive list of how much of what type of light you will need to purchase makes buying Christmas lights very simple.
When buying Christmas lights, try to go to a store which will allow you to test them. Testing a strand before purchase means that you avoid the return trip to the store for an exchange, which always seems to come at a crucial moment in seasonal decorating. Also be aware when buying Christmas lights that most stores have amenable return policies, and it is better to over purchase than under purchase. Unused strands can usually be returned to the store.
After buying Christmas lights, keep the boxes separated into indoor and outdoor lighting, so that you do not confuse the two. Outdoor lighting is more rugged, and is designed to be weather resistant as well as brighter. Indoor lighting is not recommended for use outdoors. In addition, you should be aware of potential fire hazards caused by Christmas lighting, and be sure to unplug the lights when not in use. Never leave Christmas lights on if no one is home, and be sure to water the tree frequently in order to prevent dryness. Make sure that cords on the ground are securely taped, and that the plug is seated firmly in the outlet to avoid curious fingers.