Christmas lights on big trees: the do’s and don’ts

When it comes to bringing Christmas to the front yard, one of the best ways to do it is wrapping trees in sparkling, bright lights. However, this job is not always an easy endeavour. We’ve got you covered with all the yays and nays:


  • Calculate how many lights you will need. Christmas Lights Etc. provides a helpful light calculation chart for large outdoor trees. Essentially, this calculation comes from measuring the circumference of the trunk and height, and then deciding how much space you want between the bulbs for example, usually they are 4” to 6” apart. Divide the height by the distance of space, and then multiply the multiply the circumference by the distance of space. There you have it: how many feet of lights you will need!
  • Make sure you have all the equipment you need before starting. Make sure you have a ladder that reaches the very top of the tree, as well as weather-proofed outdoor extension cords that properly reach the trees base. Wearing gloves is also highly recommended. Depending on how wide the tree is, it may be helpful to set up two ladders on either side, to effectively wrap the width of the tree.
  • Have a buddy to spot you while on the ladder for safety.
  • Start at the trunk and work your way up, slowly wrap the lights around the tree. Secure the trees along the limbs with secure electrical tape.


  • Leave the extension cord exposed or in a frequently used path, where it could be tripped on. 
  • Use non-outdoor grade lights, or regular tape to secure the lights. Ensure everything you are using is winter-proof.
  • Use a staple gun or tacks to secure the lights. This not only damages the tree, but can act as a fire hazard.
  • Leave the lights unattended for months at a time. Once up, it is important to keep checking on your lights as the winter wears on. 
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