LIGHTING A TREE
-A Christmas tree covered in hundreds or even thousands of lights can make the holiday season magical, but the effects can be very different depending on the light bulbs you choose and the stringing method used. Here's how to bring the holiday blink to your Christmas tree. The first step in lighting your Christmas tree is choosing the type of bulb. There are so many lighting options available and each can have a different look. Do you want a cool cast? A warm glow? Or are you concerned about energy efficiency? Let's take a look at the available lighting options. Basic indoor mini lights have been around for years. They're inexpensive to purchase and produce a warm glow. Look for them in numerous colors, in combinations of colors. LED lights are newer. They give off brilliant white light and feature various shape bulb cover. LED costs more than mini lights, but they're much more energy efficient and last thousands of hours longer. Short strands of novelty lights have special coverings. They can add a unique touch to your tree and your holiday decorating, or include custom bulbs that produce one of a kind effect. Whatever type of lights you choose, be sure that they're UL- listed, and that the lights have a non-twist socket for fast and easy bulb replacement. For consistent results and easy connectability, choose the same brand and type of lights for your entire tree. So, how many lights do you need to buy? Of course, it's a matter of preference but a good place to start is a 100 lights for every foot and a half of tree. So, a 6-foot tall tree needs 400 lights for a basic level of lighting. And, if you love lights, double or even triple the amount recommended. For example, here's a tree with 750 lights. Nice, but how about the same tree with 2500 lights? Amazing! After you test that all the bulbs are working, you're ready to light your tree. Have a sturdy step ladder at hand. Plan to work with the Christmas lights on, that way you'll know exactly where you're adding your lights. Everyone has an opinion on how to string Christmas lights, but there are basically 3 no-fail techniques. The weave technique is the simplest. Start at the top of the tree, then weave in and out of the branches, going lower and lower, hanging lights in the back as well. If you want to add more lights, do another path. Starting from the top and working down. For the triangular technique, visualize your tree, divide it into 3 or 4 triangular sections. Weave the light back and forth across the triangle, being careful not to cross the court over itself. When you reach the end of the string, plug in the next set and continue weaving lights back and forth until you reached the bottom. If you love lights, branch wrapping is the technique for you. Simply start at the bottom, working from the trunk out, moving from branch to branch. Wrap lights around the individual branches, working further and further out. When you're about 4 inches from the end of the final branch, stop. Work your way back to the trunk, wrapping the chord just once or twice to hold it in place. Whichever lighting technique you use, never attach more than 3 strands end to end. When you finish your third strand, go back to the power source for your next set. When you're done hanging your lights, dim the room lights, stand away from the tree and evaluate your work. Squint your eyes until the tree is blurry and look for dark patches. Then, rearrange lights to fill in any hole. For more holiday ideas, visit bhg.com/holiday. Twinkling and bright, your well-lit Christmas tree is now ready to decorate and celebrate the season.