Which Is the 'Right' Way to String Christmas Tree Lights: Top-to-Bottom or Vice Versa?
Our minds were blown when we learned that some people say the best way to hang lights on a Christmas tree is actually vertically. But a new debate has us doubting our stringing skills once again: Do you go top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top?
Just like the classic toilet paper dispute (over or under?), there's really no right or wrong answer, but we had no idea the question was so controversial. In fact, it's something not even Home Depot's director of trend and design Sarah Fishburne and seasonal merchant Kelie Charles can agree on.
"I string my lights from top to bottom because your plug is at the end of the strand and closer to the bottom of the tree and outlet," says Fishburne. Plus, she says, if you run out of lights, it's easier to spread them out and even add more lights to the bottom versus the top.
But Charles swears by bottom-to-top because she can plug the lights in first. "It makes it easier to see what the lit tree will look like as I'm stringing the lights," she says. If you have extras, wind them back down. If you run out, start a new string and run an extension cord down the back.
This very same issue was the subject of a thread on Houzz.
"That question alone started some big, er, 'debates' back in the day for us," one commenter wrote, "until we got a pre-lit tree and quit answering that question."
But that solution won't work for everyone. Responders' opinions varied, and a couple of commenters even introduced a third technique: "I put the lights on as I assemble the tree," said another person. "One layer of branches and then the lights going back and forth on each branch. This way when the tree is completely assembled, it's complete with all the lights and they really add some depth to the tree because they are not only on the outside of the tree."
Of course, if you have a real tree, you'll have to choose. Whichever way feels right to you, here are Fishburne and Charles' expert steps for the best results:
How to Hang Christmas Lights Top to Bottom
- Start at the top of the tree, intertwining the lights on top of and under branches.
- Work your way down and around the tree, hanging lights in the back as well.
- When you reach the bottom, hide any extra lights behind the tree.
- If you want to add more lights, do another pass, starting again at the top and working down.
Tip: Make sure you wrap the lights loosely on each branch for the best overall affect.
How to Hang Christmas Lights Bottom to Top
- Start at the bottom, stringing your lights by zigzagging them through the tree in quadrants, section by section, versus around the tree.
- Place some lights deeper into the branches and place some closer to the front to create depth.
- Hide the lights' connectors by pushing it deep into the tree branches near the trunk.
- Once you reach the top, you can either tuck the extra lights into the back of the tree or run an extension cord down the back to the outlet.
Tip: Try to avoid any obvious pattern or spiral; you want the lights to look natural.
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