Want to create a light display that really shines? Take some tips from the Bowermans of OlyLightstravaganza (see main story), and from professional holiday lights installer The Urban Gardener in Tacoma.
• Use commercial grade lights, which last much longer.
• Use LED lights, which are more environmentally friendly and use far less power.
• Buy online for more choice: Try christmasdesigners.com or environmentallights.com.
• Shop sales or thrift stores for bigger items.
• Make sure your power is solid, says Scerra, with an outdoor GFI outlet.
• Be neat. No power cords dumped at the bottom of tree trunks.
• Scerra uses one clip per light for a really professional look.
• And of course, check back at night to make sure the display is even and full.
• If lights are wet, dry them out on your floor for a day before storing.
• To store a string without tangles, hold the dead end (the end that receives another plug) and wrap the string a few times around your hand. Then continue wrapping it into a ball, and finally plug the live end (the end you plug into the outlet) back into the dead end.
• Wrap loosely, advises Scerra, or you could damage the lights. Use electrical tape to stick it together, and make sure to label it to save time next year.