Year after year, we pull out that tangled mess of Christmas lights from the attic and attempt to decorate. Inevitably, half of those lights aren’t working and the strands are so tangled we just give up and go buy new ones. Before you spend more money this year, try these tips to salvage what you’ve got and save yourself a lot of effort next year.
Plug in and test your lights before you decorate with them. Nothing is more frustrating than getting the shrubs and trees all wrapped in lights, only to plug in the extension cord and it doesn’t light up.
If only half or a portion of the strand is lit, work your way down the strand starting where the first bulb is out and make sure each bulb is pressed firmly into the socket. Most lights come with a few spares in the box, so if you have any on hand, try replacing the first one that isn’t lit. As you follow the strand down, check for missing or broken lights and try replacing those.
After the holidays, store your lights carefully to help preserve them for next year. Using empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls as a base, wrap the lights around the tube and tuck the plugs into the tube openings on each end. Place the wrapped up lights into a plastic bin or sturdy cardboard box and be careful not to stack them too high – extra weight can cause the bulbs to break or come loose from their sockets. If you have the space, keep these boxes in your garage or a closet in the house so they won’t be exposed to the extreme temperatures that can occur in an attic.
As you’re unpacking your holiday decorations this year, please keep in mind those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Many families lost all of their holiday items and cannot justify the expense of replacing them this year due to the expenses of rebuilding their homes. Consider donating some of your unused decorations to a family in need and help make their holiday merry and bright!