The Christmas tree is the focal point of any family’s festive decor, so of course we all want it to look its best, right?
Whether you’ve opted for a real or artificial tree, lights are the making of it, turning a boring old tree into a sparkly, twinkling centrepiece that embodies the magic of Christmas. But how do you know how many lights to put on the tree to make it look fabulous?
Fear not. We have the ultimate guide to Christmas tree lights to help you choose the right amount, style and placement of Christmas lights to wow your friends and family this festive season. Buy lights at CTD.
How Many Lights for Christmas Tree Perfection?
First up, you need to decide how many lights to place on the tree. As you’d expect, different-sized Christmas trees need different numbers of lights to prevent bare patches or overcrowding. As a general rule, use 100 lights per foot of tree. So, for example, 500 lights on a 5-foot tree, 600 lights on a 6-foot tree, and so on.
Things to Consider When Deciding How Many Lights to Put on Your Tree
There are no set rules when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree, and the number of lights you settle on depends on personal preference. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when deciding on the amount of lights you need.
What Effect Are You Aiming For?
The effect you’re aiming for is going to have the biggest impact on how many lights you hang on your tree. Do you prefer a minimalist look with scant lighting to accentuate the tree’s beautiful branches? Or do you want to go all out and create a fuller look by covering the whole tree in lights for extra sparkle?
How Many Decorations Do You Have On Your Tree?
Another factor to consider is the rest of your tree ornaments. If you have lots of ribbon, tinsel and baubles, you may wish to use fewer light strands to let the other decorations shine. Alternatively, you might prefer to fill the tree with extra lights with just a few other ornaments to complement them.
Do You Have Enough Power Sockets?
Boring as it is, this can be a deciding factor in how many lights you can use. Sockets should never be overloaded, so if you don’t have an adequate number, limit the number of lights you use to ensure safety and minimise the risk of fire.
Types of Christmas Lights
The type of lights you choose for your Christmas tree also affects the amount you’ll need. For example, fairy lights tend to have larger bulbs, so you don’t need as many to produce a striking effect. There are a few different types of Christmas lights to choose from. Again, the best and prettiest ones are down to personal preference, and there’s no right or wrong type to choose. Except for real candles – never use candles as lighting for your tree for obvious reasons!
LEDs are fast becoming the most popular lights for Christmas trees and have been used by professionals for years. They are reliable (if one bulb goes, they don’t all go), more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run than traditional bulbs. As they don’t heat up as much as other bulb types, LED lights are also safer to use and can be left on for longer periods of time.
Incandescent lights is another name for the traditional filament fairy lights we all had in the 1980s and ’90s. For many people, these Christmas lights have a nostalgic glow that adds to the magic of the season. They’re a little more difficult to come by now that LEDs have taken over in popularity but they produce a sentimental glow in a rainbow of different colours. Incandescent lights are less energy efficient than LEDs, costing more to run and with a shorter lifespan.
String lights are the most popular type of Christmas tree lighting. They are versatile, easy to use and can create different effects depending on how they are hung. String light bulbs are quite well spread out, making them perfect for understated Christmas tree lighting. Use more lights to decorate the tree with a fuller appearance.
Cluster lights have bulbs that are much less spaced out than string lights, meaning there are around 4 times more lights per metre. Cluster lights are perfect for creating a fuller look, and you won’t need as many to fill your Christmas tree with sparkle.
Decorating the Christmas tree should be a fun filled experience and, when the ceiling lights go off to switch on the tree’s fairy lights, it should be nothing less than magical. Nobody would rather spend the evening in A&E than snuggled up drinking hot chocolate by the light of the newly decorated Christmas tree, so here are a few safety tips to ensure your tree lighting goes without a hitch.
Check the lights before use: Inspect the lights and strings for any signs of damage and plug them in before hanging them on the tree to ensure all the bulbs are in working order. Don’t use any lights that don’t carry the appropriate safety certification – look out for the UKCA mark.
Use a stepladder: Don’t be tempted to stretch or stand on the arm of the sofa to reach the highest branches. Use a stepladder to minimise the risk of toppling or falling over.
Don’t overload sockets: We’ve already touched on this, but it’s important enough to mention again. Use extension cables where appropriate, but be careful not to plug too many lights into one socket. Doing so is a fire hazard that can be easily avoided.
Tuck away cables and extension cords: Ensure any wires, cables and extension cords are tucked neatly away so they don’t become a trip hazard.
Turn the lights off: Even LEDs shouldn’t be left on unattended. Always turn the Christmas tree lights off when you leave the house or go to bed.