5 mistakes you’re probably making with your Christmas lights

colorful Christmas lights with one broken bulb
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to decorating your home for the holidays, it’s never complete without the quintessential Christmas lighting to add warmth and character. 

Whether you enjoy stringing lights on the tree, around the home or even outdoors, there are some common mistakes you’re probably making with your Christmas lights.

Much like these Christmas decorating mistakes to avoid, we often get so carried away with the festive cheer that we forget to consider things like installation safety or even checking the lights before you hang them. If not done properly, this could either make it a chore, or worse still — make your display look more garish than glam.  

So if you want a stunning, festive light display (without fuss!), be sure to avoid these 7 mistakes you’re probably making with your Christmas lights. 

1. Not planning the power source 

Plug adaptor

Plug adaptor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re hanging indoor or outdoor Christmas lights, a common mistake is to not plan for the power source. Find out where your plug outlets are nearby, and if your cord is too short, invest in a suitable extension cord from a reputable retailer.

Whatever you do, never be tempted to stretch your electrical cords or wires across a room or space. Not only is this a tripping hazard, but could cause a potential fire when damaged.  In addition, it’s safer to only use one socket extension lead per socket, rather than a multi adapter plug plugged with multiple extension leads running from it.  Again, this could cause your socket to overheat, melt or potentially catch fire. It’s never worth cutting corners!

If you can’t access a nearby power source, you’ll have to rethink the location of your festive lights, or simply buy lights with a much longer cord. The last thing you want is to ruin your holidays by not planning ahead.   

2.  Not checking the lights first before hanging 

Unraveling Christmas lights on a wooden floor

Broken Christmas light bulb (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s nothing worse than switching on your beautiful light display, to see some bulbs not working. And all it takes are a few faulty bulbs that can make the whole display look cheap and lackluster.

Always inspect the lights first before hanging them up, and replace any traditional or LED bulbs that are damaged. In fact, most Christmas lights come with extra bulbs when you buy them. And if you find that you have an abundance of faulty lights, you’re better off ditching them completely and investing in a new set of one of the best smart lights instead.

3. Buying cheap lights 

LED Christmas lights

LED Christmas lights (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Just because you found bargain lights for a few dollars in the sales, doesn’t mean they’ll be good quality. Another Christmas light mistake is to buy cheap lights thinking they will look just as dazzling as the quality ones. 

Cheap festive lights are known to give low-brightness or lacklustre results, and usually don’t tend to last very long. Cheaper lights are always more likely to break easily — which means you’ll end up having to buy new ones. 

It’s always more economical to invest in some quality Christmas lights that are bright, spectacular, and will last for years to come. But if you want to save money one way is to think about how to keep your lights on without blowing the budget.

4. Getting the color temperature wrong 

Christmas tree lights

Christmas tree lights (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common Christmas lighting mistake we make is getting the wrong color temperature for our home. 

Experts recommend staying away from cool whites that emit an almost blue light. This temperature will spread harsh and unflattering hues in a home setting — that won’t create that cozy feel. Instead, opt for a warm white light (2700K) which is the nearest color to natural light and will create a warm glow and inviting ambiance. 

In addition, you should avoid gaudy, blinking lights as these are one of the 7 Christmas decorations that will make your home look tacky.

5. Ignoring basic safety precautions 

Man installing christmas lights on roof

Man installing christmas lights on roof (Image credit: Shutterstock)

We can get so caught up in the festive cheer, we often overlook the safety issues when putting up Christmas lighting. Whether you’re stringing up lights outside of the home or indoors, it’s still wise to follow the instructions on the packaging. always ensure all electrical cords are out of the way — especially in areas where there are children. 

Additionally, if you enjoy the soft glow of festive candles, but want to avoid a fire, you can invest in flameless LED candles such as these Flickering Flameless Candles ($21, Amazon), which look just as good as the real thing. 

You’ll want to minimize the risk of any possible dangers that may harm your family, guests and home during the holiday season. 

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!