Christmas time brings families together, creates fond memories, and inspires breathtaking Christmas lights displays. A beautiful Christmas display has the power to spread cheer to even some of the most cold-hearted Scrooges! But for a display to evoke the wonder that will make it memorable, it needs to look its best. And the best displays feature truly professional looking Christmas lights.

Fret not about being a professional lighting installer—achieving professional level results is easier than you think! Here’s our comprehensive list of pro tips on how to make your Christmas lights look professional.

house with pro grade Christmas lightsPlan for Success

Just like how Santa plans his route for his Christmas deliveries, planning your Christmas lighting project will help you go a long way. Get a view of your house and imagine how you can brighten it up, especially given its unique design. How can you dress up parts such as the eaves? Or plants in the yard like the bushes? Take care to figure out the right amount of lights you’ll need: measure the lengths of where you’ll be placing lights, such as the roofline and railings.

Consider arrangement, color scheme, and even an overall theme that ties it all together neatly. Formulate your masterplan for the ultimate Christmas display. Take stock of the Christmas lighting and decorations you currently have and can put toward your dream display. And then make a list of materials you’ll need to reach your decorating goals.

After making a list (and checking it twice!), evaluate what you can realistically achieve this year based on your budget. We recommend spacing out your masterplan over the next few years to make it easier on the budget. If the budget is tight, concentrate on certain areas. Focus on making one or two elements their very best, such as perimeter or tree lighting.

home with professional christmas lightingSpreading lighting out across your space in limited fashion will only dilute the overall effect. Specializing in the areas you can decorate to their fullest, however, is the best way of how to make your Christmas lights look professional. And you can always expand in the future as budget allows.

As you plan what kind of lights you’ll need, LED Christmas lights are the ideal option: they have a longer lifespan than incandescent and require less electricity as well, saving you money over time. Less electricity usage per light means you can put up more lights, too.

Buy from Pro Christmas Suppliers

For professional looking Christmas lights, don’t buy from the big box stores. Their lights are retail grade, despite any of their efforts to brand or package them as commercial or something approximate. These are simply not the lights that pros use to make the kinds of magnificent displays that take our breaths away and stick in our memories.

Retail grade lights not only lack the look of quality, but they’re prone to issues. And we should know: we sold both retail and commercial grade lights for years. In the end, we received over 20 times the complaints on the retail grade lights as we did for commercial grade lights. Our experience is a part of what speaks to the sheer difference in quality between retail and commercial grade lights.

When it comes to pro grade vs. retail grade LED Christmas lights, pro grade is the way to go. Pro grade lights will last even longer, are easier to work with, and look more professional.

Check our detailed breakdown of the key differences between pro and retail grade LED Christmas lights to find out why pro grade is better.

Study How the Pros Install

From infancy, we learn by watching. But observational learning is not just for learning the kids stuff—you can also learn how to install truly professional looking Christmas lights by studying the pros. Watch videos that teach you basic installation principles for areas such as perimeter lighting, wrapping tree branches, lighting hedges, and outlining perimeter of landscape features.trees and house wrapped in Christmas lights

Get the fundamentals down. Then move on to advanced techniques as you’re comfortable. Investing even just a few hours of research toward installation techniques will help take your project from amateur to pro level in a hurry.

You can find all sorts of relevant and useful info about Christmas lights at our YouTube channel. And pick up on pro tips and techniques in our Christmas Lights Installation playlist.

Pace Yourself

It’s easy to get carried away with Christmas lighting ideas. However, the best route to success is to keep your plans manageable. Focus on one piece at a time. Think in terms of achieving small successes with each step that you complete. Enough successes will eventually lead to a big win! And even though you might not build your dream display as soon as you’d like, you can be proud of your wins along the way.

Don’t get into the mode of thinking that you need to do it all yourself. Give yourself permission to ask for help if it all feels like a burden. A family member, friend, or neighbor can lend a helping hand, especially out of the kindness that the Christmas spirit brings.

Take Your Time with the Takedown

Cleanup doesn’t always seem important, but it can save you time and effort down the road. It’s tempting to run through the takedown of your lights just to get it over with, but you’ll benefit in the long-run by being careful with the takedown. This will ultimately set you up for more a more efficient start to your prep for next year. Be methodical in how you place and organize lights after you remove them.

We walk you through the process of taking down your lights in our takedown video, packed with pro tips that will save you from headaches down the road.

taking down christmas lightsStay Safe

Safety is a crucial part of ensuring you and your family have a happy and healthy holidays. Accidents can happen with Christmas lighting, but you can avoid accidents by following appropriate safety measures. A wise man once said, “prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” Take steps to prevent accidents with this quick checklist that will help you and your family enjoy Christmas lights safely during the holiday season:

  • Inspect lights and bulbs for damage
  • Replace any lights that are damaged or too old
  • Install lights as labeled: outdoor only lights for outdoor use, and indoor only lights for indoor use
  • Use clips for hanging lights instead of nails or screws
  • Be safe with ladders: get assistance for holding the ladder steady
  • Plug-in outdoor lights to ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)—never plug outdoor lights into indoor outlets, as door and window closings can wear and damage wires

By sticking with our pro level tips, your Christmas light display could become the talk of the town. Along with the glory of impressing your neighbors, you can also win substantial prizes for your Christmas lighting efforts. Check out your local neighborhood paper or NextDoor to see if your community holds any Christmas lighting contests. Check out our tips on how to win your community's Christmas lighting contest. 

Got more questions on how to make your Christmas lights look professional? We’ve got the answers. Reach out via the email or phone number near the bottom of the page so we can help you the right path.