Decorating the outside of house for the holidays when your spouse is at work is a difficult task. You may think you need to hire a team of people to test the lights, untangle the wires, watch the kids and hold the ladder while you scale the side of the house to hang the lights. You don’t.
Coming from someone who fell through the ceiling of the guest bedroom while retrieving decorations in the attic, I suggest making smart choices on what to do when you’re home alone. My daughter was in her high chair in the kitchen when I was hanging from the ceiling of the guest room yelling for help. Thankfully for me, (and my daughter), my husband was home at the time, but I learned an important lesson about dangerous tasks not to attempt when I’m taking care of the kids alone.
Namely, don’t go in the attic. Ladders are probably a bad idea too.
For an EASY and SAFE way to decorate for the holidays solo, follow the tips below:
- Plan ahead. Decide which lights are right for you. When it comes to bulb size, mini bulbs are the most popular because they are inexpensive, use minimal energy and they are available in a variety of designs including string, net and icicle. C7 and C9 size bulbs are larger and brighter but give off more heat and use more energy so they and can only be used for outdoor decorating. If you have a lot to decorate, LED are the way to go. They use 80% less energy so you can hook up more than a quarter mile of lights to one outlet. They are also very bright, give off almost no heat and are available in string, net and icicle varieties as well. For Green-SAHMs solar lights are now available available which come in net, string and icicle varieties, but as you may guess, they are not as bright as the other choices. Whatever your preference, be sure to use lights that are designated for outdoor use.
- Measure. Plan what you are going to decorate and locate the electrical outlet you will use. After measuring the distance from the receptacle to the first item you are decorating, be sure to use an extension cord that is for outdoor use only.
- Test. Test each set of lights before you begin decorating and replace any bulbs with the same voltage and manufacturer necessary.
Bushes. The quickest and easiest way to attack bushes is to use the net lights. They won’t tangle so they can be used year after year and they come in 300 or 600 light varieties in multiple color choices. The net measures 4×6 feet. Just drop the center of the net on the top of the bush and drape.
Trees. For trees, use string lights and wrap the wires around the individual branches. For taller trees, choose to skip the ladder and wrap the cords around the trunk only. If you want to decorate the whole tree, invest in the no-ladder light hanging kit at Home Depot. It comes with an 11 foot pole, a clip adapter and 60 installation clips. It’s safe and easy and you don’t have to worry about teaching your toddler how to dial 911 before you use it.
Windows & Gutters. To hang lights around windows or from the gutters, use the plastic all-in-one holiday light clips. You can use them for any kind of light variety you decide is best for you and they won’t damage your house or cause a fire like nails, tacks, tape or a staple gun will.
Wreaths. For wreaths on the front door, a plastic or metal over the door wreath hook is the easiest solution, but some doors have embellishments that may rub against the hook and scratch off paint. If this is your problem, there are a variety of other hooks that can be used like command hooks or a magnetic hook if your door is metal. If you have a wood door and a command hook is not strong enough for your large evergreen wreath, you can follow Martha Stewart’s example and use a wide, heavy ribbon hung from the top of the door, or some fishing line.
For wreaths on windows, use plastic suction cup hooks, over the frame “S” hooks or Command hooks.
Siding or Brick. For wreaths or garland on your vinyl siding, purchase vinyl siding hooks, and for brick use brick hooks.
Most of all be safe and enjoy yourself!
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