Continuing our Christmas Pro series- I’ll show you how the pros light Christmas trees.  Unless you have a pre-lit artificial tree- then I suppose you’d just plug it in.

Putting lights on the Christmas tree was always a highlight.  My grandmother (Tom & John’s mom) would gather us all for “tree trimming” where we’d decorate Christmas cookies and her tree.  Years later this day also evolved to an annual violent football game.  Tom’s eldest brother Bob worked for a company that created displays in hotel lobbies and was an absolute master at lighting a Christmas tree.  I became his protégé and have since mastered his techniques and taught many of my friends his methods.

The key to properly lighting the tree is having levels of lighting that give the tree dimension.  This also puts lights behind many of the ornaments and bulbs giving even more sparkling reflections.  This means you have to start as close to the trunk on the inside of the tree as possible.  To achieve this:

  • Run your first strands of lights vertically up and down the tree along the trunk of the tree.  On a real tree this is the only way to get the strands on the inner most part of the Christmas Tree.
  • For your second strands of lights you will still run them vertically, but instead of feeding the wires directly up the tree, you’ll feed them in and out of the tree wrapping them around branches.  This helps hide the wires and emphasizes the lights.   If you want to get real fancy you can get some small green cable ties that will help secure the lights to the branches.
  • Start at the top and work your way down.  There is nothing worse than trying to hide extra lights at the top of the tree, rather than the bottom where you might need more lighting to even it out anyway.
  • Use a power strip where you can plug in a few lines of lights.  You shouldn’t plug in more than 3 or so lines to one another because you’re going to blow the fuse in the line.

What did I miss? I’d love to hear what your tips are for perfecting Uncle Bob’s method.