Have you ever looked at a breathtaking Christmas arrangement and wondered, “how did they put all of that together?” Better yet, did you wonder, “how can I put something like that together?”

During the holidays, the outdoors like a stage to let your lights shine and make your home merry and bright. But decorating is not as simple as putting up Christmas lights and calling it a day. You’ll need a plan. And you should start that plan with a thorough checklist.

full christmas lights on a houseDeck the Home—from Top-to-Bottom

The road to awesome holiday displays is scenic yet straightforward. While there are many spots to cover, it’s easiest to take the top-to-bottom approach.

Start putting your plan together with this two-part guide, packed to the brim with what you need to know for decorating your home top-to-bottom. Get the lowdown on what to light up and which lights to use with this checklist. This checklist is filled with lighting ideas that will put every inch of your outdoor space in its best light, so prepare for your next holiday arrangement’s bright future.

Reimagine Your Roofline

Out of all the outdoor lighting you can do, the most prominent is the roofline. Line the perimeter of your home’s roofline with brilliant Christmas lights, and you’ve got yourself a big part of an awesome display. Learn how to light your roofline like a pro in our expert tutorial!

Choosing the Right Roofline Lights

The best type of lights for your roofline is a kind that shines like no other: C9 lighting. The large size and high brightness helps C9 lights stand above other options for the roofline. Our C9 light bulbs are a top choice with Christmas decorators thanks to premium features such as a long life LED chip, corrosion prevention nickel base, and IP65 waterproof rating. With an average 60,000 hours of bulb life, you can expect these C9 lights to last you for Christmases to come!

roofline lightsConsider putting some sparkle in your display with C9 twinkle bulbs. Twinkle bulbs boast the same great features as our regular C9 bulbs, but with a twist—they flash and dim periodically over time for a special twinkling effect.

C9 lights are retrofit bulbs, meaning that you’ll need to use empty socket light line along with them. The pieces have been put together for you in our convenient kits that come in 50 feet and 100 feet.

Keep Up with the Perfect Clips

Christmas light clips are crucial pieces of equipment for all roofline lighting. You have a range of clips to choose from based on light type, project style, and roof materials. Let’s walk through a few of your options together.

The appropriately named All Application Clip is a versatile clip that can hold any type of Christmas light including 5mm wide angle conical, M5, T5, and even C9 retrofit bulbs. This clip is designed for temporary (seasonal) installs, and holds up to 2 light strands for more freedom and control in how you light your roofline. This dual light capacity allows you to create unique and striking pairs, such as a C9-icicle light combo.

christmas light clips on rooflineTuff clips are the top choice with our experienced professional installers. They’re designed for temporary (seasonal) installs and cut the time it takes to remove clips in half. Their “sandwich style” design means that the clip is placed on the base of a C7 or C9 light before the bulb is screwed into the socket. Tuff clips are available in C7 and C9 sizes.

C9 Flex clips are also a go-to for our experienced professional installers. They have the same attributes as Tuff clips, but are made of a more flexible material that so that they’re easier to work with, particularly in colder temperatures.

With more knowledge about each clip, you can approach your roofline lighting in way that caters to your plan and roof materials. Find out everything you need to know about Christmas light clips in this handy Christmas light clip guide.

Treat Your Trees with Cheer

Lit trees always make for stellar attractions in any great outdoor lighting arrangement. You might have a few trees or more in your yard. If you have many trees and a limited budget, prioritize your decorating by what’s most visible to you, or from the street. Generally, trees in your front yard are prime candidates for wrapping with lights, while trees in the backyard can be saved for later—or left alone altogether depending on your budget and plan.

The most popular of all string lights for trees, especially with professional Christmas lights installers, are 5mm wide angle conical lights. They’re a light that shines brilliantly, with a familiar glow that brings back the warm look of incandescent lights from Christmases past. Other beloved styles for tree wrap lights include the magnificent looking C6, C7, and C9 stringers.

christmas lights wrapped on treesAnd don’t forget the part that will take the hassle out of wrapping your trees: TreE-Z wraps. These will save you time and energy when installing and removing tree wraps, and might become one of the most valuable tools in your outdoor lighting toolbox.

Imagine these Effects

The look of animated lights on trees is incredible, and should be strongly considered for any outstanding outdoor lighting arrangement. A popular lighting idea for tree decorating is to create a “falling snow” or “melting snow” effect using LED snowfall tubes. Alternatively, your tree will appear as a gem in a winter wonderland with LED icicle drop tubes. And for a tree wrap that sparkles, try twinkling conicals.

icicle bulb lights on houseOur tubes fit C9 sockets in empty or existing socket light line. Place a tube here and there along the light line in the upper branches of your trees, and you’ll make dazzling effects worth recreating year after year.

Tubes aren’t the only pieces of outdoor lighting you can hang from branches for a jaw-dropping display. LED starlight spheres, foldable spheres, and Moravian stars all spice up the appearance of a tree with bursts of bright, colorful appeal.

Pretty Up the Porch or Deck

Moving down from the trees, your columns, railings, and bannisters are prime real estate for spreading cheer as well. Wrapping these structures with string lights is a classic choice, but for texture and variety to your arrangement, try some greenery in the form of pre-lit garlands! Their beautiful, natural essence is complemented wonderfully by shining lights.

The lights in our pre-lit garlands use the same quality design and construction in the rest of our pro-grade Christmas lights, giving the greenery the same breathtaking glow that the rest of your outdoor lighting will have.

pre lit greenery on front of houseAnd while we’re talking about decorations for the porch or deck, consider hanging lights above. LED snowflakes spaced apart from each other, or in between columns, are sure to draw attention in your arrangement. LED spheres are equally attractive if you prefer a different type of hanging light. And last but not least in porch or deck lighting ideas, icicle lights are a charming addition to a magical holiday outdoor lighting arrangement.

There’s more to cover in the ultimate outdoor lighting checklist, which means more lighting ideas that will brighten your home for the holidays. Stay tuned for part two!

If you have any questions about what we’ve covered here, or want to discuss something else about your holiday lighting, reach out to our email, info@christmasdesigners.com, or call 1-800-391-5280. Let’s make your next Christmas lighting arrangement one to remember!