What is the Best Way to Hang Christmas Lights on my House?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Many people enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit with decorations, and one of the most common ways of doing this is by hanging Christmas lights on their homes. An exterior display of Christmas lights can range from a single strand wrapped around the eaves to an elaborate display of multicolored lights wound into a complex shape. The best way to hang Christmas lights on your house is by carefully planning a design and using the proper tools, such as a ladder and extension cords, along with hooks, nails or clips for attaching the lights to the house.

Houses with Christmas lights.
Houses with Christmas lights.


It is recommended to wait for a dry day to hang Christmas lights, so that the steps of the ladder do not get slippery. Even in dry weather, however, shoes with good tread should be worn to avoid slipping on the ladder or the roof, if you go onto it. A tool belt is useful so that a hammer and screwdriver can be kept close at hand and the clip, hooks or nails can be kept in the belt, rather than cluttering up the ladder. Depending on the complexity of your planned design, an assistant can be useful as well.

House with Christmas lights under the full moon.
House with Christmas lights under the full moon.

Electrical Outlets

To hang Christmas lights, first determine the location of your exterior electrical outlets. Most homes have an exterior outlet, and if not, an extension cord should be run outside from the inside and taped down so that residents and guests will not trip over it. If you are planning to hang Christmas lights in multiple strands, multiple outlets should be used to reduce the load on a single outlet. This also can prolong the life of the light strands.

Test the Lights

It can be a nuisance to hang Christmas lights and immediately take them down, so be certain to test the Christmas lights you are hanging in a reliable inside outlet. Also, it is a good idea to hang lights that have been rated for outdoor use, rather than regular indoor lights. Outdoor lights tend to be more weather resistant and will often be larger and bolder to stand out against your home and garden.

Hang the Lights

After the desired pattern for the Christmas lights has been determined, place the hooks, nails or clips on the house. If hanging the lights under the eaves, for example, hooks could be placed at regular intervals under the eaves so that the lights will not droop. After placing the hooks, clips or nails, it is time to hang the lights, one strand at a time and being certain to move the ladder so that you are not dangerously over-extending your reach. If you are connecting multiple strands, make sure that the plugs and outlets are tightly connected. You might want to consider sealing the connections with electrical tape to keep out the rain and snow.


Creative decorators can hang Christmas lights in any pattern, although it might require some extra work. Trees and stars are both relatively simple patterns to make, especially if they are drawn out on paper beforehand. Some companies also sell frameworks for lights that can be hung directly on the house, taking much of the laborious effort out of making a Christmas design out of lights.

A tangled string of Christmas lights.
A tangled string of Christmas lights.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I found these things called Santas Genie Hangers that is, by far, the best way to hang Christmas lights. They are easy to hang, remove and store. I found them online and they are awesome.


@Kamchatka - That is a good theory to have and doing it yourself definitely saves some money. Although I know light hanger companies don't really charge too much... however, I can appreciate that you're a single mother and want to keep that tradition with your children - it is even commendable, I think.


I absolutely hate having to hang Christmas lights outside. It really is a burden as a single mother and I couldn't tell you what I'd give to have some one come hang them for me... but the truth is that my boys and daughter love this tradition. Over the years I have learned how to get around things and what to do and what not to do. We get lots of lights around the driveway, around the windows and in and around the bushes and that usually does us good. Should the kids ever want to hang them high I will just explain that they need to be completely capable of putting them up there and they won't be doing it until they are at least 16.


@olittlewood - I can not tell you how often I see lights up literally all year long. People go through the trouble of putting them up and then remember all that trouble when it's time to take them down and just simply unplug them. I think mini lights are really the best because they are small and relatively unobtrusive. If you choose not to take them down then they really do not stick out like a sore thumb.


There are all sorts of companies popping up that will actually hang your Christmas lights for you for a fee. Some of them will hang your lights, but also have lights that they provide as well. The service also includes removing them after the holidays--which many of us don't get around to soon enough!

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